What Are Some Facts About the Moon?


Quick Answer

One interesting fact about the Moon lies in how it got its name. The proper name for the Moon is, simply, the "Moon." The Moon was named before humans realized other moons exist, and now "Moon" is capitalized to avoid confusion.

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Full Answer

The Moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, during the early history of the solar system, when a Mars-sized planet struck the early Earth. This off-center collision ejected tremendous amounts of material from the Earth's mantle at escape velocity. In time, the material accreted into what would become known as the Moon. At first, the Moon was much closer to the Earth than it is today.

The Moon has been drifting away from the Earth since its formation, and it will continue this drift long into the future. One peculiar coincidence that has arisen as a result of this drift is that the present angular size of the Moon permits total solar eclipses. The Moon is only 0.25 percent the diameter of the Sun, but its position is only 0.25 percent of the distance from the Earth to the Sun. This relationship is wholly coincidental and causes the Moon and the Sun to appear the same size as seen from Earth.

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