13 Mysterious Moon Facts!

The Rock-Star of the Sky

Video of the day September 23rd 2019


The moon is one of the most important things in the sky we see from Earth. But while you know a lot about the moon more than likely, there’s still a lot you don’t know. Join me as we explore it!

13. The Dark Side of the Moon

No, I’m not talking about the Dark Side of the Moon like the Pink Floyd song (as awesome as that song is), I’m talking about the actual and literal dark side of the moon.

When you look up at the sky at night, and sometimes in the morning, you see the moon illuminated. But you’ll notice if you pay attention that the “picture” of the moon we see is always the same. Regardless of whether it’s a crescent, half, or full moon. It’s just sections of the same picture. The other side of the moon is never visible from the Earth, and thus it’s been dubbed the “dark side of the moon”. Making many people think that the moon never gets sunlight on that back side.

Well, that’s not exactly true. You see, when WE see the moon, we only see one side of it. That’s because the moon rotates on its own axis at the same rate that we do on ours. This is known as being “tidally locked” with an object. The sun emits its light onto all sides of the moon as it rotates around. But because of position and rotation, we never see the other side.

dark side moon

The other phrase for “Dark Side of the Moon” refers to space missions, where spacecraft can’t receive messages from the “Dark Side of the Moon” due to the moon quite literally blocking signals from Earth.

So while you can still use that phrase (especially when talking about the Pink Floyd song), use it correctly, ok?

12. Drift Away

In case you somehow didn’t know, the moon stays in orbit around the Earth because it’s within Earth’s gravity pull. The bigger the object, and the more dense it is, the more gravity it exerts. Which is why the moon is stuck where it is and why it’s in a perfect orbit around Earth.

But, a mysterious thing is going with the moon, one that will eventually be bad for the Earth. Mainly, the moon is quite literally drifting away from our planet.

How does that work? Well, it has to do with gravity. While the Earth’s gravity is stronger than the moons (the moon has 1/6 Earth’s gravity) that doesn’t mean the moons gravity doesn’t affect it. Just the opposite in fact. The moon’s gravity slows down the Earth’s rotation, and the Earth’s countereffect extends the orbit of the moon. These two opposing forces delivers a result where the moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 4 centimeters every single year.

Now before you panic, do remember that four centimeters isn’t even two inches. And even over the course of a decade that doesn’t amount to much.

However, eventually, the moon could be far enough away from the drifting to cause problems. Remember, the moon affects our tides and currents in the ocean. The farther or closer it is from its “perfect orbit” the more the Earth is affected.

Still, for a long while, we’ll be ok.

11. The Moon Is A Burial Site For One Man

When you think about the moon as a whole, you’ll note that because no one lives on it, there’s a LOT of space that can be used for many things. And there are many people who honestly wish to be buried on the moon. Some government agencies have even proposed the idea of turning it into a burial ground at times. Obviously this hasn’t happened yet.

However, there is one person who is indeed buried on the moon in the loose sense. That would be the late astronomer and geologist, Dr. Eugene Shoemaker.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea, he didn’t go to the moon and die there. But rather, his ashes were put on a rover that launched to the moon in 1998, and in 1999, it landed on the moon and thus spread his ashes there.

And by “spread”, I mean it quite literally crashed there. What a way to honor a guy, am I right?

10. The Temperature Is VERY Inconsistent

If you think about Earth, you’ll know that various places on the surface of it (and even in the oceans at times) have a wide variety of temperatures. It depends on the area and the exposure to the sun. The moon doesn’t have that per se, and yet when you get temperature readings off it, it’s all over the place!

For example, just as the lunar equators, the average temperature can be as low as -280 Fahrenheit, and can rise up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s a big swing, and a big reason why the astronauts where temperature resistant suits when walking on the moon.

And when an eclipse happens? In the course of 90 minutes the surface of the moon can drop in temperature by 500 degrees. That’s a very quick drop, and something that hasn’t happened on Earth in a very long time. The fact that this happens on the moon at all further shows just how different it is from our planet. Even though some thing it came from our planet.

9. The “Origins” Of The Moon

When it comes to the origins of the universe, there are a ton of theories and debates about what created everything. Was it a cosmic coincidence? Was it a divine creation? The answer depends on who you talk to. But, the origins of the moon are just as perplexing, because we honestly can’t definitively tell how exactly it got there. But…

…one of the biggest theories of the lot is that the moon actually came from the Earth itself. Basically, billions of years ago, before life had started to grow on the planet Earth, a meteor of great size struck our planet. When it did so, a large chunk of the Earth got blasted off into space, yet got trapped in our orbit and thus became the moon over time.

One of the reasons that many scientists believe this is because the rocks on the moon that were studied (after being collected during the Apollo missions) were found to have oxygen isotopes that were identical to the ones we have on Earth. That’s one heck of a coincidence.

Granted, there are still a few questions around this “origin story”. Mainly, how did the moon get so perfectly spherical in shape? Where did the “chunk” that became the moon come from in regards to the Earth itself? The obvious answer is it came from a part that would later be a deep ocean…but it’s hard to tell.

There are many other theories as to how the moon became The Moon, but this is the one that gets scientists the most intrigued.

8. There’s A Unique “Water Cycle” On The Moon

If you recall, I noted earlier that the moon has some rather violent shifts in temperature depending on its position and the time of day. One of the effects of this is having a rather unique “water cycle” going on. Yes, there is water on the moon, and not unlike Mars, it’s the frozen kind.

There are layers of ice on the moon, and we’ve known this for a while. However, when we were able to observe said ice in 2009, we found out that it’ll be ice for one part of the day, then it’ll get warmer on the surface and quite literally melt and rise up into the atmosphere. There, it’ll travel and move around the moon until it gets cold once more, falling to the surface and becoming ice yet again.

This of course is not too dissimilar to the water cycle on Earth…save for the fact that the swings in temperature aren’t nearly this severe.

However, there is a potential benefit to this, water on the moon could be useful if we colonize it. And, the rovers we send to the moon can take this water and turn it into rocket fuel.

7. Crazy People Were Named After The Moon

In pop culture today, and in people who believe in superstition, there is a fear of a full moon. Not just because it’s a bright white bulb in the sky when you can see it, but many people have believed over the years that there is a power in the full moon. And no, I don’t just mean turning into werewolves.

Ever since the Middle Ages, it’s been “documented” that people act “weirdly” under the “power” of the full moon. As well as having a wide array of mental “issues”. This eventually led to a certain terms for people who had these issues during this phase of the moon…Lunatics.

Yep, that word came because of the moon.

I personally don’t think it would appreciate being used as a slander term. But oh well. It also should be noted that people track the deaths, births, and other conditions that are reported on full moon days and nights just to see if there are any increases or decreases from the year before.

6. The Super Moon

If you want to know what is scarier than a full moon, you need to talk to fishermen. Because they know that there is a “phase” of the moon that scares them to their core…the Super Moon.

No, this isn’t another moon that magically appears in the sky. Rather, this is a phase of the moon due to its orbit (which again is drifting away…) where the moon gets closer to the Earth than it does for many years. The last of which happened in 2017.

Why is that mysterious? Well, much like people fear the full moon, people fear the Super Moon having a bad effect on the Earth. And this time, they’re right, because the closer moon brings a strange effect to the tides and currents of the oceans.

An episode of the show Deadliest Catch showed the boats of the fleet being ravaged by the Super Moon. And one man almost lost his life after being accidentally tossed overboard while the Super Moon was out.

Oh…and that incident happened RIGHT AFTER that crewman’s captain mocked the Super Moon. Not smart.

5. Moonquakes

What, you thought that the Earth was the only place that knew how to shake? Well you’re wrong, the moon also has seismic activity, appropriately called Moonquakes.

What’s ironic here though is that the Moonquakes are caused by the Earth and its gravity pulling on the moon. So…sorry about that moon!

Another couple of key differences is that while the Moonquakes are much weaker than Earthquakes typically, they go much longer. Earthquakes can last a few minutes, but Moonquakes? They can go over a half hour.

Not a tradeoff I’d want to make.

4. There’s a Lot of Trash On The Moon

Now before you go and make a note about how we need to “keep the moon clean!”, let’s have some context here, alright?

The reason for trash being on the moon is because of the various missions to it. Both manned and unmanned. When Apollo 11 came to the moon for the first time. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had to dispose of trash from their craft to help make it lighter. Subsequent landing parties had to do the same thing. Every pound counts on those vessels.

Speaking of vessels, probes, moon rovers, vehicles and more were left on the moon because it would’ve risked the astronauts safety to try and bring them back to the shuttle and beyond.

And of course, there are some non-trash items left on the moon. Like the American Flag and a retro reflector which helps send moon data back to Earth.

3. Moon Shadows Are Darker

I know what you’re thinking, “How does that work when the sun is the source of light for both objects?”

It’s simple, while the Earth has an atmosphere…the moon doesn’t. The atmosphere of Earth protects us from various things, but, it also “scatters” the emitted light so we only see things in a certain way. Which is why many people thing the sun is yellow instead of white.

For the moon though, it doesn’t have that, it has no atmosphere, so the light is more purely put into the moon. Meaning that the shadows are a more pure shade of black than they are on Earth.

2. Moon Dust Can Kill

No, I’m not joking here, this was almost proven in the worst way possible.

While it’s true that the Earth and Moon have many similar properties, one of the biggest differences is how the ground particles that make up the surface are shaped. Our ground is “soft” because of the water, and thus it isn’t very harmful. But on the moon, with no atmosphere, the components of the ground are sharper. MUCH sharper.

So much so that astronauts told NASA that the moon dust was actually tearing into their moon boots, and even messing with their visors!

Harrison Schmitt from the Challenger flight actually inhaled some moon dust while he was back on the ship, and it almost killed him via “lunar hay fever“.

The moon dust was later studied and revealed to be capable of killing lung AND brain cells.

1. The United States Thought About Blowing Up The Moon

I WISH I had been in the room when that happened. I want to hear the discussion of “Hey, why don’t we try and blow up the moon?”

To be clear, this did happen in the 1950’s. It was in the midst of the Cold War, and the US was losing to Russia in virtually every way that mattered. Back then, the idea of a “show of force” was more palatable than taking a loss to the Russians.

So, mere years after creating atomic and nuclear weapons, they thought about blowing up the moon to show the Soviets that they were still top dog. This was called Project A119.

Now, looks into the project state that it was more of a “thought experiment”, but some have to wonder if that’s true.


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