Earth is the third planet in the Solar System. And do you know what is the natural satellite of the Earth? It is the Moon. This is a very basic information that kids in grade 6 get to learn in their Geography lessons. Hence, this article can act as quick revision notes for them. And we, as grown ups too can understand this to gain some more valuable insight.
Basic Facts About The Moon
- We know that the Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth orbiting around it, but is also the fifth largest natural satellite in the Entire Solar System.
- Size: The Earth is about 80 times more in volume than the Moon, whose radius is around 1737.1 kilometres. Its diameter is only one-quarter to that of the Earth.
- It is around 3,84,400 km away from us.
- The Moon completes one orbit around the Earth in about 27 days. It has no water and atmosphere. Hence, no life exists there.
- Age: Both-the Earth and the Moon are of around the same age.
- It is visible distinctively in the night sky in different shapes and positions. These are called phases of the Moon, as shown in the image above.
- It is in synchronous rotation with the Earth. It means that the same side of the Moon will face the Earth at all times. Also, the Moon is gradually going away from the Earth every year.
- The rise and fall of the tides on the Earth is due to the gravitational pull of the Moon. And because of the gravitational pull of the Earth, the Moon’s surface faces quakes.
- Once in a month, we get to see a full moon. It is called Poornima or a Full Moon Night.
- And then, after a fortnight (15 days), we have a night when the Moon is not visible at all. It is called New Moon night or Amavasya. This is the day of the New Lunar Month. It’s not that the Moon is not present there. It is. But the side that is facing the Earth is not receiving any sunlight. Hence, it’s not visible to us.
- The Solar Eclipses occur on New Moon and the Lunar Eclipses occur on the Full Moon.
- Lunar Month is a period of four weeks measured between two consecutive New Moons.
Missions On The Moon
- The first human-made object that reached the Moon was Soviet Union’s Luna 2. It had no humans in there.
- But later on, Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) became the first human to walk on the Moon.
- There are so many new discoveries since then. And now, the Moon has become a test bed to demonstrate technologies required for deep space missions.
- India sent Chandrayaan 1 (October 2008). It stopped communicating due to technical issues in August 2009. It was intended to survey the Lunar surface, which has plains, mountains and depressions.
- Then, in July 2019, Chandrayaan 2 was launched whose main mission was to check for the abundance and position of Lunar water. But unfortunately, while landing, the lander deviated from the trajectory and lost communication. Hence, a soft landing couldn’t be carried out.