Why do I see a man in the moon?
Cleopatra saw him. So did Abraham Lincoln.
You probably have, too. In fact, the man in the moon
has appeared in the night sky to every generation.
The moon has no light of its own.
Its rough surface reflects light from the sun.
Mountainous regions, called highlands, appear light.
Flat plains, called maria (MAHR-ee-uh), look dark.
Scattered across both the highlands and the maria
are craters left by crashing meteorites.
All together, these features form a pattern that
resembles a face. You can see the light-and-dark
pattern in the photograph of the moon above.
The moon rotates just once on its axis eaxh time
it travels around the earth. That is the reason we
always see the same side of the moon-the one that
looks like a face.
Why does the moon rise at different
times during the year?
The moon only seems to rise.
It is passing by as the earth rotates on its axis.
Like the sun, the moon appears to move
westward across the sky.
Actually, it moves eastward. It fools your eyes because
of its travel time. It takes the moon about 29 1/2 days to
orbit the earth. That is much greater than the time it
takes the earth to rotate-24 hours.
When the moon is new-between the earth and the sun-
it seems to rise and set with the sun.
Soon it drops farther behind in its orbit
in relation to the sun. Each day,
it rises about 50 minutes later.
As it rises later, the moon seems to change
shape and size. This is because it reflects the
sun from an ever-changing angle.
The Mysterious Moonflower
Ipomoea alba, otherwise known as Moonflowers
are so called because they bloom in the evening.
They have large 4 to 6 inch fragrant, white or pink flowers
on twining vines. The flowers open quickly in the evening
& last through the night, remaining open until
touched by the morning Sun.
Moonflowers grow to a height of about 15 feet.
The leaves are rather large which allows the plant
to be used as an annual in a northern garden.
Propagation is usually by seed.
The seed should be nicked with a file & then soaked
overnight before planting. Moonflowers should be planted
when the Moon is new or increasing in light!
Moonflower Courtesy & Copyrighted 2001 by..
Gene's Pictures of Moonflower
The Physical Moon and its History
Looming some 384.400 km (239,000 miles) from Earth,
with a diameter of 3476 km (2,160 miles)
and a mass of 7.35e22 kg. shines the Moon.
The Moon is the brightest object in the night sky
and only second in brightness to that of the Sun.
Its mean density is only 3.34 times that of water.
It has no real atmosphere and no magnetic field of its own
and is the only natural satellite of our planet Earth.
In fact, the Moon is next to the largest
moon in our solar system;
the Earth and Moon can almost be said to be a double planet.
The Moon undergoes extremes in temperature:
it is alternately scorched to +110 degrees celsius
during the day and frozen to -180 degrees celesius at night.
Many of us have seen it's eclipses and occultations.
The Moon shines by reflected sunlight as it passes through
it's familiar phases, & the Moon
(with a little help from the Sun)
also controls the ocean's tides.
The Moon's origins still remain unsettled.
A similarity in the composition of the Moon
with the Earths rules out any sort of capture theory.
One of the most probable theories is that at one time,
a giant object, conceivably the size of Mars,
collided with the primordial Earth,
shattering what crust the earth had.
The sheer force of an impact this size
is believed to have forged an immense gorge,
melting the Earth's crust, and ejected a shower
of molten rock & part of the Earth's mantle into orbit.
It is believed that the material then condensed
to form a massive ring of orbiting debris.
The Moon then formed from this substance.
The Moon possesses a thick outer crust (60 km)
and below the crust a mantle (60-1000 km),
and a partly liquid core (1000-1740 km).
Much of the surface is fractured by massive impact
craters formed by meteorites, flooded by molten lava,
and carved out from volcanic explosions.
The Moon's surface shows the scars of more
than 3 billion years of meteorite impacts,
most of which developed between 3000 and 4000
million years ago. The youngest Moon rocks are
virtually as old as the oldest Earth rocks.
The largest craters are approximately 200 km in diameter,
while the smallest are only about a meter across.
Impact features include crater clusters,
dark halo craters, rays, and crater chains.
Recent data acquired by the Clementine spacecraft
indicates that there is also ice in the bottom
of a crater located on the Moon's South pole.
The Moon's surface is covered by a rocky material
called the lunar Regolith. The Regolith consists of fine
dust particles, glass spheres and a jumble of large
boulders and rocky debris, produced by constant meteor
bombardments occurring throughout geological time.
Dust particles were created by the Moon's surface
melting by the heat of the impacts.
Some of the rarer moon rocks include granite,
pyroxenite, norite, green glass, tractolite and denite.
by Emily Dickinson
The moon was but a chin of gold
A night or two ago,
And now she turns her perfect face
Upon the world below.
Her forehead is of amplest blond;
Her cheek like beryl stone;
Her eye unto the summer dew
The likest I have known.
Her lips of amber never part;
But what must be the smile
Upon her friend she could bestow
Were such her silver will!
And what a privilege to be
But the remotest star!
For certainly her way might pass
Beside your twinkling door.
Her bonnet is the firmament,
The universe her shoe,
The stars the trinkets at her belt,
Her dimities of blue.
NOVA Online - To the Moon
Earth and Moon Viewer
How they make Moon Pies
The Woman in the Moon
Copyrighted ©Laine Caudell * 2001 - 2006
All Rights Reserved.