How the Moon was Formed

How The Moon Was Formed (Image Courtesy of NASA)

How The Moon Was Formed (Image Courtesy of NASA)

How was the Moon formed?  These are the questions that either keep me up at night or I think about during the day.  When gazing at the night sky, it is very easy to get lost in the beauty of the constellations, stars, and planets.  One of the most familiar objects in the sky, our Moon, has captivated people for centuries but it is hard to believe that Earth once existed without its little satellite.

There are several theories on how the Moon came to be.  The one that has caught my attention, as well as many astrophysicists, is the Giant Impact Theory, which purports that the Moon was formed from a Mars sized object (referred to as Theia) that collided with Earth approximately 4.5 billion years ago.  The debris from the collision coalesced into what we know today as our Moon.  I found it fascinating that this theory did not come to fruition until the year 1975 when by Drs. William K. Hartmann and Donald R. Davis proposed this new idea.  Analysis of the Moon’s surface and rocks supported this hypothesis as the Moon’s material is made of some of the same minerals found on Earth.  To  illustrate what scientists believed happened, I came across a video

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YouTube Direkt

I thought this was pretty cool so I dug up some fun facts about the Moon:

  • The Moon is moving away from Earth at a rate of 3.8 centimeters per year
  • When the Moon was formed, it was about 14,000 miles from Earth but is now on average of around 240 million miles away
  • The Moon keeps the earth from wobbling. The Earth would wobble unless we had the Moon to help balance our axis of rotation, which is  tilted at 23 1/2 degrees
  • When a month has two full moons, the second full moon is called a blue moon
  • The Moon looks the same size of the Sun, which is an amazing coincidence.  The Sun happens to be 400 times larger than the Moon, but it’s also 400 times further away which is how the Moon can eclipse the Sun
  • The airless lunar surface bakes in the sun at up to 243 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks at a time and for an equal period, the same spot is in the dark. The dark side cools to about -272 degrees Fahrenheit
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