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The moon's surface; one picture shows the bumps and rocks in it, the other shows craters


-The moon rotates around the Earth in about 29 1/2 days (in respect to the sun); this is known as a synodic month. However, compared to the stars, it completes its orbit in 27 1/3 days, which is a sidereal month.-The moon's orbit is elliptical, or oval-shaped, so distances from Earth vary.-At perigee, when the moon is closest to Earth, it is about 225,740 miles from the Earth. At apogee, when it is farthest, the moon is 251,970 miles from the Earth.

Lunar phases-The moon appears to change shape because the side facing the sun isn't always fully seen from Earth. -New moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter are the four phases.-When the moon is moving towards being full, it is waxing, and waning is the opposite.-A crescent is when the moon is smaller than a half moon, and gibbous is when the moon is a bit larger than half but not full.Eclipses-A lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes through Earth's umbral or penumbral shadow, and there are total lunar eclipses, which the whole moon passes through Earth's umbral shadow, partial lunar eclipses, which only part of the moon passes through Earth's umbral shadow, and penumbral, which is hard to see.-Solar eclipses happen when the moon blocks the sun's rays, and there are 4 types of solar eclipses, total, which the whole moon blocks the sun, partial, which only part of the moon covers the sun, annular, which the moon appears smaller than the sun, and the rarest form, hybrid, which starts as annular and ends as a total solar eclipse.




Regolith-Regolith, a powdery dust, covers the moon.Craters-The surface of the moon is covered with many craters, some small, some large.-Most of these are impact craters-Some craters have diameters of less than 6 miles, while others are larger than 120 miles.-The moon's craters are mostly from asteroids or chunks of asteroids-Small craters are usually bowl-shaped, but larger ones can't maintain this shape and are flatter.-Debris, ejecta blankets (crushed rocks ripped out of the crater), and crater rays (wispy powder deposits) often surround the crater.Basins-Craters that are at least 190 miles across are basins-Some are 600 miles in diameter, and some are more than 1,200 miles.-Peaks (formed by the ground rebounding after being hit) occur in both basins and craters. Some basins have multiple rings of peaks. Rings are concentric (have the same center)-A lot of the ejecta blankets have a thick shattered layer of rock, called breccia, that scientists study to learn about the original crust.-The largest basin, the South Pole-Aitken Basin, has a 1,550 mile diameter.Terrae-The terrae are areas with rugged highlands.-The highlands are the original crust of the moon.-A lot of craters are more than 25 miles across.-Terrae makes up the lighter parts of the moon, while the Maria is darker.Maria-The dark areas of the moon are about 16% of the moon's surface area.-Landforms of the Maria are typically smaller than highlands landforms.-Wrinkle ridges are broad folds in the rocks of the moon and many are circular.-Rilles are depressions in the surface that look snakelike; they are believed to have been formed by running lava. Volcanoes-There may be volcanoes on the moon as scientists have reported volcanic activity on the moon.-Lines of cliffs called scarps run through some of the Maria. They are places where lava flowed and solidified.-Domes with pits on top and small hills are probably volcanoes.-Dark mantling cover some of the Maria and terrae. It is actually volcanic ash.


Core-Scientists estimated the moon's core to have a radius of 250 miles. It is suspected that it's mostly made of iron, but may have sulfur and other elements.Mantle-The moon's mantle has dense rocks containing iron and magnesium.-At one point, the mantle melted because of a buildup in heat inside the moon. It produced basaltic magma that later erupted.-Volcanism on the moon occurred for more than 1 billion years.Crust-The moon's crust is mostly broken and jumbled from the impacts it has had. The average thickness of it is about 43 miles.Atmosphere-The exosphere of the moon is primarily formed from gases from solar wind. It has mostly electrons and ions of hydrogen, though it does have some helium ions. The rest comes from the moon itself.

Two different views of the moon's layers

The moon's phases and a lunar eclipse

The moon's orbit in a 3D perspective and a flat one


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