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The Moon: Six Facts About The Moon And A Riddle

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 158

Here is an old riddle you could solve. What was a month old at Cain's birth that's not five weeks old yet?

The Moon is 3476 kilometers in diameter.

This makes the Moon much smaller than Earth but in relation to our planet, it is actually very big. Most of the other moons in the solar system are much smaller than the planet they circle.

The Moon is around 384000 kilometres away from Earth.

This is relative since the Moon will go even further. The actual distances we use is between 356 000 and 406 000 kilometres. But the man in the street will never know the distance unless told so. This is an illusion just like the planets coming closer and going away further from our planet. For astronomers this is important but not for us.

This movement has an effect on the other planets and that is what astronomers study.

Earth Satellite

Again this is a matter of perspective since the Earth and Moon orbit around a common center of gravity. Called the byrycenter, it is a point around 4672 kilometres away from the center of the earth.

New Moon

During this the Sun, Moon and Earth are almost in a straight line. The Sun is shining on the back of the Moon and we begin to see a small part of the Moon. Just before New Moon is the time when we will have a solar eclipse when we cannot see the Sun because it will appear to be behind the Moon

Full Moon

This means the Moon, Earth and Sun is now in a straight line and the Sun illuminates the side of the Moon facing us. This is the time when we will have a Lunar Eclipse when the Moon will cross the shadow of the Earth.

The Westward motion

If you follow the Moon from the moment as you see it as the New Moon and you make an imaginary point in the sky, you will notice that the next night the moon will have shifted. Wait around 51 minutes later the moon will be where it was the previous night. This second movement will be because the earth rotates but the first movement from one night to the next is because the Moon circles in a westward direction around the Earth while it turns on its own axis in 27.21 days. However since the Earth moves, the Moon takes longer to return to the point where we saw it as the New Moon. This will be 29.53 days and so the answer to our riddle is the Moon, which will never reach the 5-week mark before it starts to be new again.

The Moon is something we take for granted since it is always there. But if you ask someone on the street where the Moon is he will probably not know. We think the Moon is always visible and yet this is not true. During the period before the New Moon, we cannot see the Moon at all as it is engulfed by the brilliance of the Sun itself.

Leon Steyn is interested in Astronomy, Archaeology, Religion, Anthropology, Ancient Cultures, Spirituality and Writing fiction and non-fiction. Have a look at how he incorporated these topics in his spiritual fiction online e-book Ozymandeus or email him at for more detail.

Source: EzineArticles
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