Our Moon

A:

A red moon occurs when the Earth eclipses the moon from sunlight. The moon looks red due to dispersed light from Earth's sunrises and sunsets that is refracted back onto the moon's surface.

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  • What color is the moon?

    Q: What color is the moon?

    A: The surface of the moon is generally a light gray color, although there are parts of the moon that are made up of dark gray rocks. The moon has a different appearance from the surface, from space and from the Earth.
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  • What are the phases of the moon?

    Q: What are the phases of the moon?

    A: The phases of the moon are: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. After the waning-crescent phase the moon returns to the new-moon phase and the cycle starts again. The complete cycle takes a little over 29 days.
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  • Was Neil Armstrong misquoted?

    Q: Was Neil Armstrong misquoted?

    A: Whether Neil Armstrong's famous saying "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" is a misquote or not seems to be a matter of some debate. NASA authorities at the time claimed he said "one small step for a man" and Armstrong himself has occupied both sides of the debate at different times.
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  • How close does the moon get to the Earth?

    Q: How close does the moon get to the Earth?

    A: The moon travels in an elliptical orbit, and at perigee, the closest it gets to Earth, it stands about 225,623 miles, or 363,104 kilometers away.
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  • What happens during a lunar eclipse?

    Q: What happens during a lunar eclipse?

    A: A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the moon and the sun. Lunar eclipses cast a shadow on the moon due to the Earth's location. From the perspective of the moon, the Earth completely blocks the sun.
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  • What is bigger: the Earth or the Moon?

    Q: What is bigger: the Earth or the Moon?

    A: The Earth is much bigger than the moon. While the Earth is measured at 8,000 miles in diameter, the Moon only measures 2,160 miles in diameter. This means that if the Earth was hollowed out, the Moon could fit inside it 50 times.
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  • Are blue moons actually blue?

    Q: Are blue moons actually blue?

    A: While the name "blue moon" conjures up a vivid, colorful image, the term actually refers to those times when there are two full moons in a single month; that second full moon is referred to as the blue moon, though its color is likely to be the same as it ever is. It is possible for the moon to have a bluish appearance, but this is usually due to atmospheric changes on earth, such as smoke or ash in the upper atmosphere as the result of fires or volcanic activity.
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  • How can I tell what phase the moon is in?

    Q: How can I tell what phase the moon is in?

    A: The way to identify which of the phases the moon is in is based on which section of the moon's face is lit by the sun. The moon has eight phases, which happen in the same cycle over the course of a 29-day period.
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  • Is the moon moving farther away from Earth?

    Q: Is the moon moving farther away from Earth?

    A: The moon is in fact gradually drifting away from the earth. Each year, the moon spins almost 4 centimeters farther from the earth, which makes the earth's day just a bit longer. While this 1.48-inch movement will eventually add up to a big change, it will take billions of years to make a significant difference to life on earth.
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  • How much of the moon is always lit by the sun?

    Q: How much of the moon is always lit by the sun?

    A: Half of the moon is always lit by the sun, unless the sun is eclipsed by the Earth. The portion of the illuminated moon viewed from Earth depends on the moon's orbit. As the moon orbits, different portions of shadow and illumination are seen from Earth, creating the moon's phases.
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  • What does the moon smell like?

    Q: What does the moon smell like?

    A: According to NASA astronaut Gene Cernan, moon dust smells like gunpowder. No human has ever been on the moon without life support, and no one has taken a deep breath of pure, unfiltered moon air. However, Apollo 17 astronauts did perform some sniff tests with a moon dust sample they collected during their mission.
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  • What causes a crescent moon?

    Q: What causes a crescent moon?

    A: Crescent moons happen when Earth, the sun and moon are positioned in a way that only shows a portion of the reflected light on the moon. The result is a crescent-shaped light pattern.
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  • Can humans live on the moon?

    Q: Can humans live on the moon?

    A: Despite the close relationship between the Earth and its moon as well as successful human visits to the moon, life there is not currently sustainable. The moon doesn't provide enough oxygen for humans to survive. Solar radiation is also a problem, since the moon is outside Earth's protective atmosphere.
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  • What went wrong with Apollo 13?

    Q: What went wrong with Apollo 13?

    A: As the source of the iconic phrase, "Houston, we've had a problem," the Apollo 13 mission went from an intended moon landing to a narrowly averted disaster when one of the oxygen tank exploded as the shuttle was en route to the moon. This event occurred on April 14, 1970, three days after the shuttle's launch. After the explosion, the shuttle's crew, consisting of commander Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, worked with NASA mission control in Houston, Texas to successfully get themselves back to earth without major injury.
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  • How many Apollo missions landed on the moon?

    Q: How many Apollo missions landed on the moon?

    A: Six Apollo missions, specifically Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17, landed on the moon between 1969 and 1972. Apollo 13 was also supposed to land on the moon but failed to do so due to a spacecraft malfunction.
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  • Why is the moon important?

    Q: Why is the moon important?

    A: Most people know that the moon's gravitational influence has an effect on the tides on Earth, but some scientists also believe that the presence of the moon played an important role in making Earth habitable to begin with. The interplay between the Earth and the moon mirrors events that occurred throughout the early solar system, as a Mars-sized object may have hit the Earth, sending some of the mantle into orbit that soon cooled into the moon. Over time, the relationship between the Earth and the moon may well have assisted the advent of life.
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  • How long does it take the moon to rotate on its axis?

    Q: How long does it take the moon to rotate on its axis?

    A: One lunar day, the length of time it takes the moon to complete a full rotation on its axis, is equivalent to 28 days on Earth. This is also the amount of time it takes for the moon to complete its orbit around the Earth.
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  • How did a pen save Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin?

    Q: How did a pen save Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin?

    A: When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first attempted to pilot their lunar lander back off the moon, a critical switch broke, forcing the astronauts to improvise a solution with a ballpoint pen. Aldrin took responsibility for breaking the switch, but he was also the one who found the solution in a ballpoint pen.
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  • Why does the same side of the moon always face Earth?

    Q: Why does the same side of the moon always face Earth?

    A: Though the moon does rotate around its axis, the speed with which it completes these revolutions match the amount of time it takes to orbit around the Earth, leading the same side to be faced toward Earth at all times. This process takes a about month, meaning the moon's days are as long as an Earth month.
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  • How was the moon formed?

    Q: How was the moon formed?

    A: The most popular theory regarding lunar formation is that a Mars-sized planetoid slammed into the Earth and flung molten debris into orbit around 40 million years after the solar system was created, according to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This is called the giant impact theory.
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  • How long does it take the moon to orbit the Earth?

    Q: How long does it take the moon to orbit the Earth?

    A: The Earth's moon takes 27 Earth days to completely orbit the Earth. A day on the moon is also equal to a little over 27 days on Earth.
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