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{{About|Earth's natural satellite|moons in general|Natural satellite|other uses}}{{pp-semi-protected |small=yes}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{short description|Earth's natural satellite}}{{Use American English|date=August 2019}}{{Use dmy dates|date=August 2019}}

362 356 370 |400}} km)405 404 406 |700}} km)384399 2}}({{val u=AU}})0.0549}}class=nowrap 27.321661 (27 d 7 h 43 min 11.5 s)}}}}class=nowrap 29.530589 (29 d 12 h 44 min 2.9 s)}}}}1.022 |ul=km/s}}5.145° to the ecliptic{{efn|name=inclination}}}}Regressing by one revolution in 18.61 years}}Progressing by one revolution in 8.85 years}}Earth{{efn>name=near-Earth asteroids}}0.0012}}{{val u=km}}{{nbsp (0.2725 of Earth's)}}}}{{val u=km}}{{nbsp (0.2731 of Earth's)}}}}{{val u=km}}{{nbsp (0.2727 of Earth's)}}SMITH >FIRST1=DAVID E. FIRST2=MARIA T. FIRST3=GREGORY A. FIRST4=FRANK G. JOURNAL=JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH VOLUME=102 PAGE=1601 BIBCODE=1997JGR...102.1591SHDL-ACCESS=FREE, }}{{val u=km}}{{nbsp (equatorial)}}}}{{val e=7 2}}{{smaller |(0.074 of Earth's)}}}}{{val e=10 2}}{{smaller |(0.020 of Earth's)}}}}{{val e=22 2}}{{smaller 0.012300}} of Earth's)}}}} {{Sfn2013|p=226}}3.344 0.606}} × Earth{{val ul=m/s2}}{{nbsp ({{val u=g}})}}}}0.3929 |0.0009}}2.38 |ul=km/s}}{{val u=d}}{{nbsp (synchronous)}}}}4.627 m/s}}class=nowrap ecliptic>6.687° to Orbital plane (astronomy)>24° to Earth's equator Makemson, Maud W. (1971); "Determination of Selenographic Positions", in The Moon, volume 2, issue 3, pp. 293-308, {{DOI|10.1007/BF00561882}}, BibCode: 1971Moon....2..293M}}| epoch = J2000| right_asc_north_pole =
{hide}plainlist |
  • {{RA|17|47|26{edih}
  • 266.86°JOURNAL, 10.1007/s10569-010-9320-4, Report of the IAU Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements: 2009,weblink Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, 109, 2, 101–135, 2010, Archinal, Brent A., A'Hearn, Michael F., Bowell, Edward G., Conrad, Albert R., Consolmagno, Guy J., 5, Courtin, Régis, Fukushima, Toshio, Hestroffer, Daniel, Hilton, James L., Krasinsky, George A., Neumann, Gregory A., Oberst, Jürgen, Seidelmann, P. Kenneth, Stooke, Philip J., Tholen, David J., Thomas, Paul C., Williams, Iwan P., 2011CeMDA.109..101A, 24 September 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2016, dead, dmy-all,

}}| declination = 65.64°| albedo = 0.136| temp_name1 = Equator
Kelvin>K| mean_temp_1 = 220 K| max_temp_1 = 390 K| temp_name2 = 85°N | min_temp_2 =| mean_temp_2 = 150 K| max_temp_2 = 230 Kclass=nowrap name=maxval}} 2}}{{smaller |(mean full moon)}}}}29.3 to 34.1 minute and second of arc{{efn >name=angular size}}}}| atmosphere = yes| atmosphere_ref = class=nowrap −7}} Pascal (unit) (1 bar (unit)>picobar){{nbsp (day)}} −10}} Pa (1 femtobar) {{nbsp (night)}}{{efn |name=pressure explanation}}}}Helium >Argon >Neon >Sodium >Potassium >Hydrogen >Rn}}}}The Moon, occasionally distinguished as Luna, is an astronomical body that orbits the Earth as its only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest satellite in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits (its primary). The Moon is, after Jupiter's satellite Io, the second-densest satellite in the Solar System among those whose densities are known.The Moon is thought to have formed about 4.51 billion years ago, not long after Earth. The most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia. New research of moon rocks, although not rejecting the Theia hypothesis, suggests that the moon may be older than previously thoughtweblink Universe TodayThe Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, and thus always shows the same side to Earth, the near side. The near side is marked by dark volcanic maria that fill the spaces between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. After the Sun, the Moon is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object in Earth's sky. Its surface is actually dark, although compared to the night sky it appears very bright, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its gravitational influence produces the ocean tides, body tides, and the slight lengthening of the day.The Moon's average orbital distance is {{cvt|384402|km|mi}},WEB,weblink How far away is the moon?, Space Place, NASA, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2016, BOOK, Scott, Elaine, Our Moon: New Discoveries About Earth's Closest Companion, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 7, 978-0-544-75058-6, or 1.28 light-seconds. This is about thirty times the diameter of Earth. The Moon's apparent size in the sky is almost the same as that of the Sun, since the star is about 400 times the lunar distance and diameter. Therefore, the Moon covers the Sun nearly precisely during a total solar eclipse. This matching of apparent visual size will not continue in the far future because the Moon's distance from Earth is gradually increasing.The Moon was first reached in September 1959 by the Soviet Union's Luna 2, an unmanned spacecraft, followed by the first successful soft landing by Luna 9 in 1966. The United States' NASA Apollo program achieved the only manned lunar missions to date, beginning with the first manned orbital mission by Apollo 8 in 1968, and six manned landings between 1969 and 1972, with the first being Apollo 11 in July 1969. These missions returned lunar rocks which have been used to develop a geological understanding of the Moon's origin, internal structure, and the Moon's later history. Since the 1972 Apollo 17 mission the Moon has been visited only by unmanned spacecraft.Both the Moon's natural prominence in the earthly sky and its regular cycle of phases as seen from Earth have provided cultural references and influences for human societies and cultures since time immemorial. Such cultural influences can be found in language, lunar calendar systems, art, and mythology.

Name and etymology

{{See also|List of lunar deities}}File:Lunar eclipse October 8 2014 California Alfredo Garcia Jr mideclipse.JPG|thumb|The Moon, tinted reddish, during a lunar eclipselunar eclipseFile:Mid-Summer Crescent Moon.jpg|thumb|right|upright=0.9|During the lunar phases, only portions of the moon can be observed from EarthEarthThe usual English proper name for Earth's natural satellite is "the Moon", which in nonscientific texts is usually not capitalized.Collins English DictionaryOxford Living DictionariesMeaning of “moon” in the English Dictionary Cambridge Learner's DictionaryWEB,weblink Naming Astronomical Objects: Spelling of Names, International Astronomical Union, 29 March 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 December 2008, The noun moon is derived from Old English mōna, which (like all Germanic language cognates) stems from Proto-Germanic *mēnô, which comes from Proto-Indo-European *mḗh₁n̥s "moon", "month", which comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *meh₁- "to measure", the month being the ancient unit of time measured by the Moon.The American Heritage Dictionary Indo-European Roots Appendix Occasionally, the name "Luna" is used. In literature, especially science fiction, "Luna" is used to distinguish it from other moons, while in poetry, the name has been used to denote personification of Earth's moon.Oxford English Dictionary, {{nowrap|2nd ed.}} "luna", Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2009.The modern English adjective pertaining to the Moon is lunar, derived from the Latin word for the Moon, luna. The adjective selenic (usually only used to refer to the chemical element selenium) is so rarely used to refer to the Moon that this meaning is not recorded in most major dictionaries.American Heritage DictionaryCollins English DictionaryOxford Living Dictionaries It is derived from the Ancient Greek word for the Moon, (selḗnē), from which is however also derived the prefix "seleno-", as in selenography, the study of the physical features of the Moon, as well as the element name selenium.{{LSJ|selh/nh |σελήνη |ref}}. Both the Greek goddess Selene and the Roman goddess Diana were alternatively called Cynthia.BOOK, Imke Pannen, When the Bad Bleeds: Mantic Elements in English Renaissance Revenge Tragedy,weblink 2010, V&R unipress GmbH, 978-3-89971-640-5, 96–, live,weblink 4 September 2016, The names Luna, Cynthia, and Selene are reflected in terminology for lunar orbits in words such as apolune, pericynthion, and selenocentric. The name Diana comes from the Proto-Indo-European *diw-yo, "heavenly", which comes from the PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," which in many derivatives means "sky, heaven, and god" and is also the origin of Latin dies, "day".{{multiple image|width=135
|title=The Moon
|image1=LRO WAC Nearside Mosaic.jpg
|caption1=Near side of the Moon|image2=Moon Farside LRO.jpg
|caption2=Far side of the Moon|image3=LRO WAC North Pole Mosaic (PIA14024).jpg
|caption3=Lunar north pole|image4=LRO WAC South Pole Mosaic.jpg
|caption4=Lunar south pole


The Moon formed 4.51 billion years ago,{{efn |name=age}} some 60 million years after the origin of the Solar System. Several forming mechanisms have been proposed,JOURNAL, 10.1126/sciadv.1602365, 28097222, 5226643, Science Advances (journal), Science Advances, 2017, 3, 1, Early formation of the Moon 4.51 billion years ago, Barboni, M., Boehnke, P., Keller, C.B., Kohl, I.E., Schoene, B., Young, E.D., McKeegan, K.D., e1602365, 2017SciA....3E2365B, including the fission of the Moon from Earth's crust through centrifugal force (which would require too great an initial spin of Earth), the gravitational capture of a pre-formed Moon (which would require an unfeasibly extended atmosphere of Earth to dissipate the energy of the passing Moon), and the co-formation of Earth and the Moon together in the primordial accretion disk (which does not explain the depletion of metals in the Moon). These hypotheses also cannot account for the high angular momentum of the Earth–Moon system.JOURNAL, Stevenson, D.J., Origin of the moon–The collision hypothesis, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 1987, 15, 1, 271–315, 1987AREPS..15..271S, 10.1146/annurev.ea.15.050187.001415, (File:Evolution of the Moon.ogv|thumb|The evolution of the Moon and a tour of the Moon)The prevailing hypothesis is that the Earth–Moon system formed after an impact of a Mars-sized body (named Theia) with the proto-Earth (giant impact). The impact blasted material into Earth's orbit and then the material accreted and formed the Moon.WEB,weblink Asteroids Bear Scars of Moon's Violent Formation, 16 April 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 October 2016, The Moon's far side has a crust that is {{convert|50|km|abbr=on}} thicker than that of the near side. This is thought to be because the Moon fused from two different bodies.This hypothesis, although not perfect, perhaps best explains the evidence. Eighteen months prior to an October 1984 conference on lunar origins, Bill Hartmann, Roger Phillips, and Jeff Taylor challenged fellow lunar scientists: "You have eighteen months. Go back to your Apollo data, go back to your computer, do whatever you have to, but make up your mind. Don't come to our conference unless you have something to say about the Moon's birth." At the 1984 conference at Kona, Hawaii, the giant impact hypothesis emerged as the most consensual theory. Before the conference, there were partisans of the three "traditional" theories, plus a few people who were starting to take the giant impact seriously, and there was a huge apathetic middle who didn’t think the debate would ever be resolved. Afterward, there were essentially only two groups: the giant impact camp and the agnostics.BOOK, Dana Mackenzie, The Big Splat, or How Our Moon Came to Be,weblink 21 July 2003, John Wiley & Sons, 978-0-471-48073-0, 166–168, live,weblink 1 January 2016, dmy-all, Giant impacts are thought to have been common in the early Solar System. Computer simulations of giant impacts have produced results that are consistent with the mass of the lunar core and the angular momentum of the Earth–Moon system. These simulations also show that most of the Moon derived from the impactor, rather than the proto-Earth.JOURNAL, Canup, R., Asphaug, E., Origin of the Moon in a giant impact near the end of Earth's formation, Nature (journal), Nature, 412, 708–712, 2001, 10.1038/35089010, 11507633, 6848, 2001Natur.412..708C, However, more recent simulations suggest a larger fraction of the Moon derived from the proto-Earth.MAGAZINE,weblink Earth-Asteroid Collision Formed Moon Later Than Thought, National Geographic (magazine), National Geographic, 28 October 2010, 7 May 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 April 2009, JOURNAL, 2008 Pellas-Ryder Award for Mathieu Touboul, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 43, S7, A11, 2008,weblink 2008M&PS...43...11K, Kleine, Thorsten, 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2008.tb00709.x, JOURNAL, 10.1038/nature06428, Late formation and prolonged differentiation of the Moon inferred from W isotopes in lunar metals, 2007, Touboul, M., Kleine, T., Bourdon, B., Palme, H., Wieler, R., Nature (journal), Nature, 450, 7173, 1206–1209, 18097403, 2007Natur.450.1206T, MAGAZINE,weblink Flying Oceans of Magma Help Demystify the Moon's Creation, National Geographic (magazine), National Geographic, 8 April 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 April 2015, Other bodies of the inner Solar System such as Mars and Vesta have, according to meteorites from them, very different oxygen and tungsten isotopic compositions compared to Earth. However, Earth and the Moon have nearly identical isotopic compositions. The isotopic equalization of the Earth-Moon system might be explained by the post-impact mixing of the vaporized material that formed the two, although this is debated.MAGAZINE, Nield, Ted, Moonwalk (summary of meeting at Meteoritical Society's 72nd Annual Meeting, Nancy, France), Geoscientist (magazine), Geoscientist, 19, 8, 2009,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 September 2012, The impact released a lot of energy and then the released material re-accreted into the Earth–Moon system. This would have melted the outer shell of Earth, and thus formed a magma ocean.JOURNAL, Tonks, W. Brian, Melosh, H. Jay, 1993, Magma ocean formation due to giant impacts, Journal of Geophysical Research, 98, E3, 5319–5333, 1993JGR....98.5319T, 10.1029/92JE02726, Similarly, the newly formed Moon would also have been affected and had its own lunar magma ocean; its depth is estimated from about {{Convert|500 |km |4=-2 |abbr=in}} to {{Convert |1737 |km |4=0 |abbr=in}}.While the giant impact hypothesis might explain many lines of evidence, some questions are still unresolved, most of which involve the Moon's composition.JOURNAL, Science (journal), Science, Daniel Clery, Impact Theory Gets Whacked, 342, 183–185, 11 October 2013, 10.1126/science.342.6155.183, 2013Sci...342..183C, 6155, 24115419, {{multiple image |total_width=600 |align=center
|title=Oceanus Procellarum ("Ocean of Storms")|width1=614 |height1=228 |image1=14-236-LunarGrailMission-OceanusProcellarum-Rifts-Overall-20141001.jpg |caption1=Ancient rift valleys – rectangular structure (visible – topography – GRAIL gravity gradients) |width2=1500 |height2=1500 |image2=PIA18822-LunarGrailMission-OceanusProcellarum-Rifts-Overall-20141001.jpg |caption2=Ancient rift valleys – context.|width3=1546 |height3=905 |image3=PIA18821-LunarGrailMission-OceanusProcellarum-Rifts-Closeup-20141001.jpg |caption3=Ancient rift valleys – closeup (artist's concept).}}
In 2001, a team at the Carnegie Institute of Washington reported the most precise measurement of the isotopic signatures of lunar rocks.JOURNAL, Oxygen Isotopes and the Moon-Forming Giant Impact, 1, Wiechert, U., Halliday, A.N., Lee, D.-C., Snyder, G.A., Taylor, L.A., Rumble, D., 294, 12, 345–348, October 2001, 10.1126/science.1063037,weblink 5 July 2009, Science (journal), Science, 11598294, 2001Sci...294..345W, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 April 2009, To their surprise, the rocks from the Apollo program had the same isotopic signature as rocks from Earth, however they differed from almost all other bodies in the Solar System. Indeed, this observation was unexpected, because most of the material that formed the Moon was thought to come from Theia and it was announced in 2007 that there was less than a 1% chance that Theia and Earth had identical isotopic signatures.JOURNAL, Pahlevan, Kaveh, Stevenson, David, Equilibration in the Aftermath of the Lunar-forming Giant Impact, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 262, 3–4, October 2007, 438–449, 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.07.055, 2007E&PSL.262..438P, 1012.5323, Other Apollo lunar samples had in 2012 the same titanium isotopes composition as Earth, which conflicts with what is expected if the Moon formed far from Earth or is derived from Theia. These discrepancies may be explained by variations of the giant impact hypothesis.

Physical characteristics

The Moon is a very slightly scalene ellipsoid due to tidal stretching, with its long axis displaced 30° from facing the Earth (due to gravitational anomalies from impact basins). Its shape is more elongated than current tidal forces can account for. This 'fossil bulge' indicates that the Moon solidified when it orbited at half its current distance to the Earth, and that it is now too cold for its shape to adjust to its orbit.Garrick-Bethell et al. (2014) "The tidal-rotational shape of the Moon and evidence for polar wander", Nature 512, 181–184.

Internal structure

{|class="wikitable floatright" style="margin-left:1em;text-align:center;"Pergamon Press, 64, 978-0-08-018274-2, !rowspan=2 valign=top|Compound!!rowspan=2 valign=top|Formula!!colspan=2|Composition!style=font-size:smaller|Maria!!style=font-size:smaller|HighlandsSilicon dioxide>|45.5%Aluminium oxide>|24.0%Calcium oxide>|15.9%iron(II) oxideFeO14.1%5.9%Magnesium oxide>|7.5%titanium dioxideTiO23.9%0.6%sodium oxideNa2O0.6%0.6%!colspan=2| ||99.9%!!100.0%The Moon is a differentiated body. It has a geochemically distinct crust, mantle, and core. The Moon has a solid iron-rich inner core with a radius possibly as small as {{convert|240|km}} and a fluid outer core primarily made of liquid iron with a radius of roughly {{convert|300|km}}. Around the core is a partially molten boundary layer with a radius of about {{convert|500|km}}.WEB, Brown, D., Anderson, J., NASA,weblink NASA Research Team Reveals Moon Has Earth-Like Core, NASA, 6 January 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2012, dmy-all, JOURNAL, Weber, R.C., Lin, P.-Y., Garnero, E.J., Williams, Q., Lognonne, P., Seismic Detection of the Lunar Core, Science, 331, 6015, 21 January 2011, 309–312,weblink 10.1126/science.1199375, 21212323, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 15 October 2015, dmy-all, 2011Sci...331..309W, 10 April 2017, This structure is thought to have developed through the fractional crystallization of a global magma ocean shortly after the Moon's formation 4.5 billion years ago.JOURNAL, 10.1038/ngeo417, Timing of crystallization of the lunar magma ocean constrained by the oldest zircon, 2009, Nemchin, A., Timms, N., Pidgeon, R., Geisler, T., Reddy, S., Meyer, C., Nature Geoscience, 2, 2, 133–136, 2009NatGe...2..133N, 20.500.11937/44375, Crystallization of this magma ocean would have created a mafic mantle from the precipitation and sinking of the minerals olivine, clinopyroxene, and orthopyroxene; after about three-quarters of the magma ocean had crystallised, lower-density plagioclase minerals could form and float into a crust atop. The final liquids to crystallise would have been initially sandwiched between the crust and mantle, with a high abundance of incompatible and heat-producing elements.Consistent with this perspective, geochemical mapping made from orbit suggests the crust of mostly anorthosite. The Moon rock samples of the flood lavas that erupted onto the surface from partial melting in the mantle confirm the mafic mantle composition, which is more iron-rich than that of Earth.The crust is on average about {{convert|50|km}} thick.The Moon is the second-densest satellite in the Solar System, after Io. However, the inner core of the Moon is small, with a radius of about {{convert|350|km}} or less, around 20% of the radius of the Moon. Its composition is not well understood, but is probably metallic iron alloyed with a small amount of sulphur and nickel; analyzes of the Moon's time-variable rotation suggest that it is at least partly molten.JOURNAL, Williams, J.G., Turyshev, S.G., Boggs, D.H., Ratcliff, J.T., Lunar laser ranging science: Gravitational physics and lunar interior and geodesy, Advances in Space Research, 2006, 37, 1, 67–71, 2006AdSpR..37...67W, 10.1016/j.asr.2005.05.013, gr-qc/0412049,

Surface geology

File:MoonTopoLOLA.png|thumb|alt=Topography of the Moon measured from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter on the mission Topography of the MoonFile:Moon_elevation_2.stl|thumb|STL 3D model of the Moon with 10× elevation exaggeration rendered with data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter of the Lunar Reconnaissance OrbiterLunar Reconnaissance OrbiterThe topography of the Moon has been measured with laser altimetry and stereo image analysis.JOURNAL, Topography of the South Polar Region from Clementine Stereo Imaging, Spudis, Paul D., Cook, A., Robinson, M., Bussey, B., Fessler, B., 1998nvmi.conf...69S, Workshop on New Views of the Moon: Integrated Remotely Sensed, Geophysical, and Sample Datasets, 69, January 1998, Its most visible topographic feature is the giant far-side South Pole–Aitken basin, some {{Convert|2240 |km |abbr=on}} in diameter, the largest crater on the Moon and the second-largest confirmed impact crater in the Solar System.JOURNAL, 10.1029/97GL01718, C.M., Pieters, S., Tompkins, J.W., Head, P.C., Hess, Mineralogy of the Mafic Anomaly in the South Pole‐Aitken Basin: Implications for excavation of the lunar mantle, Geophysical Research Letters, 24, 15, 1903–1906, 1997, 1997GeoRL..24.1903P, 2060/19980018038, At {{Convert |13 |km |abbr=on}} deep, its floor is the lowest point on the surface of the Moon.JOURNAL,weblink The Biggest Hole in the Solar System, 20, Taylor, G.J., 17 July 1998, Planetary Science Research Discoveries, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 August 2007, 1998psrd.reptE..20T, The highest elevations of the surface are located directly to the northeast, and it has been suggested might have been thickened by the oblique formation impact of the South Pole–Aitken basin.JOURNAL, Schultz, P.H., March 1997, 1259, 28, Forming the south-pole Aitken basin – The extreme games, Conference Paper, 28th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 1997LPI....28.1259S, Other large impact basins such as Imbrium, Serenitatis, Crisium, Smythii, and Orientale also possess regionally low elevations and elevated rims. The far side of the lunar surface is on average about {{Convert |1.9 |km |abbr=on}} higher than that of the near side.The discovery of fault scarp cliffs by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggest that the Moon has shrunk within the past billion years, by about 90 metres (300 ft).WEB, NASA, NASA's LRO Reveals 'Incredible Shrinking Moon', 19 August 2010,weblink live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 August 2010, Similar shrinkage features exist on Mercury. A recent study of over 12000 images from the orbiter has observed that Mare Frigoris near the north pole, a vast basin assumed to be geologically dead, has been cracking and shifting. Since the Moon doesn't have tectonic plates, its tectonic activity is slow and cracks develop as it loses heat over the years.JOURNAL, Watters, Thomas R., Weber, Renee C., Collins, Geoffrey C., Howley, Ian J., Schmerr, Nicholas C., Johnson, Catherine L., June 2019, Shallow seismic activity and young thrust faults on the Moon,weblink Nature Geoscience, 2019-05-13, 12, 6, 411–417, 10.1038/s41561-019-0362-2, 1752-0894,

Volcanic features

File:Moon names.svg|thumb |Lunar nearside with major maria and craterscratersThe dark and relatively featureless lunar plains, clearly seen with the naked eye, are called maria (Latin for "seas"; singular mare), as they were once believed to be filled with water;BOOK, Wlasuk, Peter, Observing the Moon,weblink 2000, Springer Science+Business Media, Springer, 978-1-85233-193-1, 19, they are now known to be vast solidified pools of ancient basaltic lava. Although similar to terrestrial basalts, lunar basalts have more iron and no minerals altered by water.WEB,weblink The Oldest Moon Rocks, Norman, M., Planetary Science Research Discoveries, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, 21 April 2004, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 April 2007, The majority of these lavas erupted or flowed into the depressions associated with impact basins. Several geologic provinces containing shield volcanoes and volcanic domes are found within the near side "maria".JOURNAL, Head, L.W.J.W., Lunar Gruithuisen and Mairan domes: Rheology and mode of emplacement, Journal of Geophysical Research, 2003, 108,weblink 12 April 2007, E2, 10.1029/2002JE001909, 5012, 2003JGRE..108.5012W, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 March 2007, File:14284-Moon-Maskelyne-LRO-20141012.jpg|thumb |upright|left |Evidence of young lunar volcanism ]]Almost all maria are on the near side of the Moon, and cover 31% of the surface of the near side, compared with 2% of the far side.JOURNAL, Gillis, J.J., Spudis, P.D., The Composition and Geologic Setting of Lunar Far Side Maria, Lunar and Planetary Science, 1996, 27, 413, 1996LPI....27..413G, This is thought to be due to a concentration of heat-producing elements under the crust on the near side, seen on geochemical maps obtained by Lunar Prospector's gamma-ray spectrometer, which would have caused the underlying mantle to heat up, partially melt, rise to the surface and erupt.JOURNAL,weblink Global Elemental Maps of the Moon: The Lunar Prospector Gamma-Ray Spectrometer, Lawrence, Science (journal), Science, 281, 5382, 1484–1489, 10.1126/science.281.5382.1484, 11 August 1998, 29 August 2009, 9727970, 1998Sci...281.1484L, vanc, D.J., 2, Barraclough, BL, Binder, AB, Elphic, RC, Maurice, S, Thomsen, DR, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 May 2009, JOURNAL,weblink A New Moon for the Twenty-First Century, 41, Taylor, G.J., Planetary Science Research Discoveries, 31 August 2000, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 March 2012, 2000psrd.reptE..41T, Most of the Moon's mare basalts erupted during the Imbrian period, 3.0–3.5 billion years ago, although some radiometrically dated samples are as old as 4.2 billion years. Until recently, the youngest eruptions, dated by crater counting, appeared to have been only 1.2 billion years ago. In 2006, a study of Ina, a tiny depression in Lacus Felicitatis, found jagged, relatively dust-free features that, because of the lack of erosion by infalling debris, appeared to be only 2 million years old.JOURNAL,weblink Long Live the Moon!, Science (journal), Science, 9 November 2006, Phil Berardelli, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 October 2014, Moonquakes and releases of gas also indicate some continued lunar activity. In 2014 NASA announced "widespread evidence of young lunar volcanism" at 70 irregular mare patches identified by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, some less than 50 million years old. This raises the possibility of a much warmer lunar mantle than previously believed, at least on the near side where the deep crust is substantially warmer because of the greater concentration of radioactive elements.WEB,weblink Volcanoes Erupted 'Recently' on the Moon, Discovery News, 14 October 2014, Jason Major, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 October 2014, WEB,weblink NASA Mission Finds Widespread Evidence of Young Lunar Volcanism, NASA, 12 October 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 January 2015, JOURNAL,weblink Recent volcanic eruptions on the moon, Science (journal), Science, 12 October 2014, Eric Hand, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 October 2014, JOURNAL,weblink Evidence for basaltic volcanism on the Moon within the past 100 million years, Nature Geoscience, Braden, S.E., Stopar, J.D., Robinson, M.S., Lawrence, S.J., van der Bogert, C.H., Hiesinger, H.doi=10.1038/ngeo2252, 7, 11, 787–791, 2014NatGe...7..787B, 10.1038/ngeo2252, 2014, Just prior to this, evidence has been presented for 2–10 million years younger basaltic volcanism inside Lowell crater,JOURNAL, Srivastava, N., Gupta, R.P., 2013, Young viscous flows in the Lowell crater of Orientale basin, Moon: Impact melts or volcanic eruptions?, Planetary and Space Science, 87, 37–45, 10.1016/j.pss.2013.09.001, 2013P&SS...87...37S, JOURNAL, Gupta, R.P., Srivastava, N., Tiwari, R.K., 2014, Evidences of relatively new volcanic flows on the Moon, Current Science, 107, 3, 454–460, Orientale basin, located in the transition zone between the near and far sides of the Moon. An initially hotter mantle and/or local enrichment of heat-producing elements in the mantle could be responsible for prolonged activities also on the far side in the Orientale basin.JOURNAL, Whitten, J., etal, 2011, Lunar mare deposits associated with the Orientale impact basin: New insights into mineralogy, history, mode of emplacement, and relation to Orientale Basin evolution from Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) data from Chandrayaan-1, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, E00G09, 10.1029/2010JE003736, 2011JGRE..116.0G09W, JOURNAL, Cho, Y., etal, 2012, Young mare volcanism in the Orientale region contemporary with the Procellarum KREEP Terrane (PKT) volcanism peak period 2 b.y. ago, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, 11, L11203, 2012GeoRL..3911203C, 10.1029/2012GL051838, The lighter-colored regions of the Moon are called terrae, or more commonly highlands, because they are higher than most maria. They have been radiometrically dated to having formed 4.4 billion years ago, and may represent plagioclase cumulates of the lunar magma ocean. In contrast to Earth, no major lunar mountains are believed to have formed as a result of tectonic events.WEB, Munsell, K., NASA, Solar System Exploration, Majestic Mountains,weblink 4 December 2006, 12 April 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 September 2008, The concentration of maria on the Near Side likely reflects the substantially thicker crust of the highlands of the Far Side, which may have formed in a slow-velocity impact of a second moon of Earth a few tens of millions of years after their formation.JOURNAL, Richard Lovett,weblink Early Earth may have had two moons : Nature News, Nature, 1 November 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 November 2012, 10.1038/news.2011.456, 2011, WEB,weblink Was our two-faced moon in a small collision?,, 1 November 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 30 January 2013,

Impact craters

{{Further |List of craters on the Moon}}File:Moon-craters.jpg|thumb|right|alt=A gray, many-ridged surface from high above. The largest feature is a circular ringed structure with high walled sides and a lower central peak: the entire surface out to the horizon is filled with similar structures that are smaller and overlapping.|Lunar crater Daedalus on the Moon's far side ]]The other major geologic process that has affected the Moon's surface is impact cratering,BOOK, Melosh, H. J., Impact cratering: A geologic process, 1989, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-504284-9, with craters formed when asteroids and comets collide with the lunar surface. There are estimated to be roughly 300,000 craters wider than {{Convert |1 |km |4=1 |abbr=on}} on the Moon's near side alone.WEB, Moon Facts,weblink SMART-1, European Space Agency, 2010, 12 May 2010, The lunar geologic timescale is based on the most prominent impact events, including Nectaris, Imbrium, and Orientale, structures characterized by multiple rings of uplifted material, between hundreds and thousands of kilometers in diameter and associated with a broad apron of ejecta deposits that form a regional stratigraphic horizon. The lack of an atmosphere, weather and recent geological processes mean that many of these craters are well-preserved. Although only a few multi-ring basins have been definitively dated, they are useful for assigning relative ages. Because impact craters accumulate at a nearly constant rate, counting the number of craters per unit area can be used to estimate the age of the surface. The radiometric ages of impact-melted rocks collected during the Apollo missions cluster between 3.8 and 4.1 billion years old: this has been used to propose a Late Heavy Bombardment of impacts.JOURNAL, Hartmann, William K., Quantin, Cathy, Mangold, Nicolas, 2007, 186, 1, 11–23, Icarus (journal), Icarus, Possible long-term decline in impact rates: 2. Lunar impact-melt data regarding impact history, 10.1016/j.icarus.2006.09.009, 2007Icar..186...11H, Blanketed on top of the Moon's crust is a highly comminuted (broken into ever smaller particles) and impact gardened surface layer called regolith, formed by impact processes. The finer regolith, the lunar soil of silicon dioxide glass, has a texture resembling snow and a scent resembling spent gunpowder.WEB, 30 January 2006, 15 March 2010,weblink The Smell of Moondust, NASA, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 8 March 2010, The regolith of older surfaces is generally thicker than for younger surfaces: it varies in thickness from {{Convert|10 |- |20 |km |abbr=on}} in the highlands and {{Convert |3 |- |5 |km |abbr=on}} in the maria.BOOK, Heiken, G., Vaniman, D., French, B., Lunar Sourcebook, a user's guide to the Moon, 1991, Cambridge University Press, New York, 978-0-521-33444-0, 736, Beneath the finely comminuted regolith layer is the megaregolith, a layer of highly fractured bedrock many kilometers thick.JOURNAL, Rasmussen, K.L., Warren, P.H., Megaregolith thickness, heat flow, and the bulk composition of the Moon, Nature (journal), Nature, 1985, 313, 5998, 121–124, 1985Natur.313..121R, 10.1038/313121a0, Comparison of high-resolution images obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has shown a contemporary crater-production rate significantly higher than previously estimated. A secondary cratering process caused by distal ejecta is thought to churn the top two centimeters of regolith a hundred times more quickly than previous models suggested â€“ on a timescale of 81,000 years.WEB,weblink The moon has hundreds more craters than we thought, Rebecca, Boyle, live,weblink 13 October 2016, JOURNAL, Quantifying crater production and regolith overturn on the Moon with temporal imaging, Emerson J., Speyerer, Reinhold Z., Povilaitis, Mark S., Robinson, Peter C., Thomas, Robert V., Wagner, 13 October 2016, Nature (journal), Nature, 538, 7624, 215–218, 10.1038/nature19829, 27734864, 2016Natur.538..215S, File:Reiner-gamma-clem1.jpg|thumb|Lunar swirls at Reiner GammaReiner Gamma

Lunar swirls

Lunar swirls are enigmatic features found across the Moon's surface. They are characterized by a high albedo, appear optically immature (i.e. the optical characteristics of a relatively young regolith), and have often a sinuous shape. Their shape is often accentuated by low albedo regions that wind between the bright swirls.

Presence of water

Liquid water cannot persist on the lunar surface. When exposed to solar radiation, water quickly decomposes through a process known as photodissociation and is lost to space. However, since the 1960s, scientists have hypothesized that water ice may be deposited by impacting comets or possibly produced by the reaction of oxygen-rich lunar rocks, and hydrogen from solar wind, leaving traces of water which could possibly persist in cold, permanently shadowed craters at either pole on the Moon.
JOURNAL, William R., Ward, Past Orientation of the Lunar Spin Axis, Science (journal), Science, 1 August 1975, 189, 4200, 377–379, 10.1126/science.189.4200.377, 17840827, 1975Sci...189..377W,

Computer simulations suggest that up to {{Convert |14000 |km2 |abbr=on}} of the surface may be in permanent shadow. The presence of usable quantities of water on the Moon is an important factor in rendering lunar habitation as a cost-effective plan; the alternative of transporting water from Earth would be prohibitively expensive.
In years since, signatures of water have been found to exist on the lunar surface. In 1994, the bistatic radar experiment located on the Clementine spacecraft, indicated the existence of small, frozen pockets of water close to the surface. However, later radar observations by Arecibo, suggest these findings may rather be rocks ejected from young impact craters.WEB, Spudis, P., Ice on the Moon,weblink The Space Review, 6 November 2006, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 22 February 2007, In 1998, the neutron spectrometer on the Lunar Prospector spacecraft showed that high concentrations of hydrogen are present in the first meter of depth in the regolith near the polar regions. Volcanic lava beads, brought back to Earth aboard Apollo 15, showed small amounts of water in their interior.The 2008 Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft has since confirmed the existence of surface water ice, using the on-board Moon Mineralogy Mapper. The spectrometer observed absorption lines common to hydroxyl, in reflected sunlight, providing evidence of large quantities of water ice, on the lunar surface. The spacecraft showed that concentrations may possibly be as high as 1,000 ppm. Using the mapper's reflectance spectra, indirect lighting of areas in shadow confirmed water ice within 20° latitude of both poles in 2018.JOURNAL,weblink Direct evidence of surface exposed water ice in the lunar polar regions, Shuai, Li, Paul G., Lucey, Ralph E., Milliken, Paul O., Hayne, Elizabeth, Fisher, Jean-Pierre, Williams, Dana M., Hurley, Richard C., Elphic, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 36, 8907–8912, August 2018, 10.1073/pnas.1802345115, 30126996, 6130389, In 2009, LCROSS sent a {{Convert|2300 |kg |abbr=on}} impactor into a permanently shadowed polar crater, and detected at least {{Convert |100 |kg |abbr=on}} of water in a plume of ejected material. Another examination of the LCROSS data showed the amount of detected water to be closer to {{Convert |155 |± |12 |kg |abbr=on}}.In May 2011, 615–1410 ppm water in melt inclusions in lunar sample 74220 was reported, the famous high-titanium "orange glass soil" of volcanic origin collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The inclusions were formed during explosive eruptions on the Moon approximately 3.7 billion years ago. This concentration is comparable with that of magma in Earth's upper mantle. Although of considerable selenological interest, this announcement affords little comfort to would-be lunar colonists â€“ the sample originated many kilometers below the surface, and the inclusions are so difficult to access that it took 39 years to find them with a state-of-the-art ion microprobe instrument.Analysis of the findings of the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) revealed in August 2018 for the first time "definitive evidence" for water-ice on the lunar surface.NEWS,weblink Water ice 'detected on Moon's surface', Rincon, Paul, 2018-08-21, BBC News, 2018-08-21, NEWS,weblink Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt, Water Ice Exists on the Moon, David, Leonard, Scientific American, 2018-08-21, The data revealed the distinct reflective signatures of water-ice, as opposed to dust and other reflective substances.NEWS,weblink Water Ice Confirmed on the Surface of the Moon for the 1st Time!,, 2018-08-21, The ice deposits were found on the North and South poles, although it is more abundant in the South, where water is trapped in permanently shadowed craters and crevices, allowing it to persist as ice on the surface since they are shielded from the sun.

Gravitational field

File:GRAIL's gravity map of the moon.jpg|thumb |GRAIL's gravity map of the Moon]]The gravitational field of the Moon has been measured through tracking the Doppler shift of radio signals emitted by orbiting spacecraft. The main lunar gravity features are mascons, large positive gravitational anomalies associated with some of the giant impact basins, partly caused by the dense mare basaltic lava flows that fill those basins.JOURNAL, Muller, P., Sjogren, W., Mascons: lunar mass concentrations, Science (journal), Science, 161, 680–684, 1968, 10.1126/science.161.3842.680, 17801458, 3842, 1968Sci...161..680M, JOURNAL, Science (journal), Science, Richard A. Kerr, The Mystery of Our Moon's Gravitational Bumps Solved?, 340, 6129, 138–139, 12 April 2013, 10.1126/science.340.6129.138-a, 23580504, The anomalies greatly influence the orbit of spacecraft about the Moon. There are some puzzles: lava flows by themselves cannot explain all of the gravitational signature, and some mascons exist that are not linked to mare volcanism.JOURNAL, Konopliv, A., Asmar, S., Carranza, E., Sjogren, W., Yuan, D., Recent gravity models as a result of the Lunar Prospector mission, Icarus (journal), Icarus, 50, 1, 1–18, 2001, 10.1006/icar.2000.6573, 2001Icar..150....1K,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 November 2004,,

Magnetic field

The Moon has an external magnetic field of about 1–100 nanoteslas, less than one-hundredth that of Earth. The Moon does not currently have a global dipolar magnetic field and only has crustal magnetization likely acquired early in its history when a dynamo was still operating.WEB,weblink Lunar Prospector (NASA), Magnetometer / Electron Reflectometer Results, 2001, 17 March 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2010, Theoretically, some of the remnant magnetization may originate from transient magnetic fields generated during large impacts through the expansion of plasma clouds. These clouds are generated during large impacts in an ambient magnetic field. This is supported by the location of the largest crustal magnetizations situated near the antipodes of the giant impact basins.JOURNAL, Hood, L.L., Huang, Z., Formation of magnetic anomalies antipodal to lunar impact basins: Two-dimensional model calculations, Journal of Geophysical Research, 96, B6, 9837–9846, 1991, 10.1029/91JB00308, 1991JGR....96.9837H,


File:Apollo 17 twilight ray sketch.jpg|thumb|Sketch by the Apollo 17 astronauts. The lunar atmosphere was later studied by LADEELADEEThe Moon has an atmosphere so tenuous as to be nearly vacuum, with a total mass of less than {{Convert|10 |t}}.BOOK, Richard D. Johnson & Charles Holbrow, Globus, Ruth, Space Settlements: A Design Study, Chapter 5, Appendix J: Impact Upon Lunar Atmosphere, NASA,weblink 1977, 17 March 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 31 May 2010, The surface pressure of this small mass is around 3 × 10−15 atm (0.3 nPa); it varies with the lunar day. Its sources include outgassing and sputtering, a product of the bombardment of lunar soil by solar wind ions.JOURNAL, Crotts, Arlin P.S., Lunar Outgassing, Transient Phenomena and The Return to The Moon, I: Existing Data, 2008,weblink 2008ApJ...687..692C, 687, 1, 692–705, The Astrophysical Journal, 10.1086/591634, 0706.3949, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 February 2009, Elements that have been detected include sodium and potassium, produced by sputtering (also found in the atmospheres of Mercury and Io); helium-4 and neonWEB, Steigerwald, William, NASA's LADEE Spacecraft Finds Neon in Lunar Atmosphere,weblink 17 August 2015, NASA, 18 August 2015, from the solar wind; and argon-40, radon-222, and polonium-210, outgassed after their creation by radioactive decay within the crust and mantle.JOURNAL, Lawson, S., Feldman, W., Lawrence, D., Moore, K., Elphic, R., Belian, R., Recent outgassing from the lunar surface: the Lunar Prospector alpha particle spectrometer, Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, E9, 1029, 2005, 10.1029/2005JE002433, 2005JGRE..11009009L, The absence of such neutral species (atoms or molecules) as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and magnesium, which are present in the regolith, is not understood. Water vapor has been detected by Chandrayaan-1 and found to vary with latitude, with a maximum at ~60–70 degrees; it is possibly generated from the sublimation of water ice in the regolith. These gases either return into the regolith because of the Moon's gravity or are lost to space, either through solar radiation pressure or, if they are ionized, by being swept away by the solar wind's magnetic field.


A permanent asymmetric Moon dust cloud exists around the Moon, created by small particles from comets. Estimates are 5 tons of comet particles strike the Moon's surface every 24 hours. The particles striking the Moon's surface eject Moon dust above the Moon. The dust stays above the Moon approximately 10 minutes, taking 5 minutes to rise, and 5 minutes to fall. On average, 120 kilograms of dust are present above the Moon, rising to 100 kilometers above the surface. The dust measurements were made by LADEE's Lunar Dust EXperiment (LDEX), between 20 and 100 kilometers above the surface, during a six-month period. LDEX detected an average of one 0.3 micrometer Moon dust particle each minute. Dust particle counts peaked during the Geminid, Quadrantid, Northern Taurid, and Omicron Centaurid meteor showers, when the Earth, and Moon, pass through comet debris. The cloud is asymmetric, more dense near the boundary between the Moon's dayside and nightside.WEB, Lopsided Cloud of Dust Discovered Around the Moon,weblink National Geographic News, 20 June 2015, Nadia, Drake, National Geographic PUBLISHED June, 17, live,weblink" title="">weblink 19 June 2015, 2015-06-17, JOURNAL, A permanent, asymmetric dust cloud around the Moon, Nature (journal), Nature, 18 June 2015, 324–326, 522, 7556, 10.1038/nature14479, M., Horányi, J.R., Szalay, S., Kempf, J., Schmidt, E., Grün, R., Srama, Z., Sternovsky, 2015Natur.522..324H, 26085272,

Past thicker atmosphere

In October 2017, NASA scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston announced their finding, based on studies of Moon magma samples retrieved by the Apollo missions, that the Moon had once possessed a relatively thick atmosphere for a period of 70 million years between 3 and 4 billion years ago. This atmosphere, sourced from gases ejected from lunar volcanic eruptions, was twice the thickness of that of present-day Mars. The ancient lunar atmosphere was eventually stripped away by solar winds and dissipated into space.NASA: The Moon Once Had an Atmosphere That Faded Away | Time


The Moon's axial tilt with respect to the ecliptic is only 1.5424°, much less than the 23.44° of Earth. Because of this, the Moon's solar illumination varies much less with season, and topographical details play a crucial role in seasonal effects. From images taken by Clementine in 1994, it appears that four mountainous regions on the rim of Peary Crater at the Moon's north pole may remain illuminated for the entire lunar day, creating peaks of eternal light. No such regions exist at the south pole. Similarly, there are places that remain in permanent shadow at the bottoms of many polar craters, and these "craters of eternal darkness" are extremely cold: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter measured the lowest summer temperatures in craters at the southern pole at {{Convert|35 |K |4=0 |abbr=on}}WEB, 17 September 2009,weblink Diviner News, UCLA, 17 March 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 March 2010, and just {{Convert |26 |K |4=0 |abbr=on}} close to the winter solstice in north polar Hermite Crater. This is the coldest temperature in the Solar System ever measured by a spacecraft, colder even than the surface of Pluto. Average temperatures of the Moon's surface are reported, but temperatures of different areas will vary greatly depending upon whether they are in sunlight or shadow.WEB,weblink Temperature on the Moon – Surface Temperature of the Moon –, Jake, Rocheleau, live,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2015, 2012-05-21,

Earth–Moon system

{{anchor|Orbit and relationship to Earth|Relationship to Earth}}{{see also|Other moons of Earth}}File:Earth-moon-to-scale.svg|Scale model of the Earth–Moon system: Sizes and distances are to scale.


File:Animation of Moon orbit around Earth.gif|thumb |right| Animation of Moon{{'s}} orbit around Earth from 2018 to 2027{{legend2|magenta|Moon}}{{·}}{{legend2|RoyalBlue|EarthEarth(File:Earth-Moon.svg|thumb|alt=Earth has a pronounced axial tilt; the Moon's orbit is not perpendicular to Earth's axis, but lies close to Earth's orbital plane. |Earth–Moon system (schematic))File:Dscovrepicmoontransitfull.gif|thumb |DSCOVR satellite sees the Moon passing in front of Earth]]The Moon makes a complete orbit around Earth with respect to the fixed stars about once every 27.3 days{{efn |name=orbpd}} (its sidereal period). However, because Earth is moving in its orbit around the Sun at the same time, it takes slightly longer for the Moon to show the same phase to Earth, which is about 29.5 days{{efn |name=synpd}} (its synodic period). Unlike most satellites of other planets, the Moon orbits closer to the ecliptic plane than to the planet's equatorial plane. The Moon's orbit is subtly perturbed by the Sun and Earth in many small, complex and interacting ways. For example, the plane of the Moon's orbit gradually rotates once every 18.61JOURNAL, Haigh, I. D.; Eliot, M.; Pattiaratchi, C., 2011, Global influences of the 18.61 year nodal cycle and 8.85 year cycle of lunar perigee on high tidal levels, J. Geophys. Res., 116, C6, C06025, 10.1029/2010JC006645, 2011JGRC..116.6025H,weblink years, which affects other aspects of lunar motion. These follow-on effects are mathematically described by Cassini's laws.

Relative size

The Moon is exceptionally large relative to Earth: Its diameter is more than a quarter and its mass is 1/81 of Earth's. It is the largest moon in the Solar System relative to the size of its planet,{{efn |There is no strong correlation between the sizes of planets and the sizes of their satellites. Larger planets tend to have more satellites, both large and small, than smaller planets.}} though Charon is larger relative to the dwarf planet Pluto, at 1/9 Pluto's mass.{{efn|name=Moon vs. Charon}}WEB,weblink Space Topics: Pluto and Charon, The Planetary Society, 6 April 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 February 2012, The Earth and the Moon's barycentre, their common center of mass, is located {{Convert|1700 |km |abbr=on}} (about a quarter of Earth's radius) beneath Earth's surface.The Earth revolves around the Earth-Moon barycentre once a sidereal month, with 1/81 the speed of the Moon, or about {{convert|12.5|m|ft}} per second. This motion is superimposed on the much larger revolution of the Earth around the Sun at a speed of about {{convert|30|km|mi}} per second.The surface area of the Moon is slightly less than the areas of North and South America combined.

{{anchor|Observation|Appearance from Earth}} Appearance from Earth

File:Trifecta Morning Mountain Moonset 01-31-2018.jpg|thumb|left|Moonset in western sky over the High Desert in California, on the morning of the Trifecta: Full moon, Supermoon, EclipseEclipse{{see also|Lunar observation|Lunar phase|Moonlight|Earthlight (astronomy)}}The Moon is in synchronous rotation as it orbits Earth; it rotates about its axis in about the same time it takes to orbit Earth. This results in it always keeping nearly the same face turned towards Earth. However, because of the effect of libration, about 59% of the Moon's surface can actually be seen from Earth. The side of the Moon that faces Earth is called the near side, and the opposite the far side. The far side is often inaccurately called the "dark side", but it is in fact illuminated as often as the near side: once every 29.5 Earth days. During new moon, the near side is dark.WEB, Dark Side of the Moon, Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions,weblink 15 February 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 April 2010, The Moon had once rotated at a faster rate, but early in its history, its rotation slowed and became tidally locked in this orientation as a result of frictional effects associated with tidal deformations caused by Earth.JOURNAL, Alexander, M.E., The Weak Friction Approximation and Tidal Evolution in Close Binary Systems, Astrophysics and Space Science, 1973, 23, 2, 459–508, 1973Ap&SS..23..459A, 10.1007/BF00645172, With time, the energy of rotation of the Moon on its axis was dissipated as heat, until there was no rotation of the Moon relative to Earth. In 2016, planetary scientists, using data collected on the much earlier NASA Lunar Prospector mission, found two hydrogen-rich areas on opposite sides of the Moon, probably in the form of water ice. It is speculated that these patches were the poles of the Moon billions of years ago, before it was tidally locked to Earth.NEWS, Moon used to spin 'on different axis', BBC,weblink 23 March 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 March 2016, BBC News, 2016-03-23, File:Van Gogh - Starry Night - Google Art Project.jpg|thumb|The Moon is prominently featured in Vincent van Gogh's 1889 painting, The Starry NightThe Starry NightThe Moon has an exceptionally low albedo, giving it a reflectance that is slightly brighter than that of worn asphalt. Despite this, it is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun.{{efn|name=brightness}} This is due partly to the brightness enhancement of the opposition surge; the Moon at quarter phase is only one-tenth as bright, rather than half as bright, as at full moon. Additionally, color constancy in the visual system recalibrates the relations between the colors of an object and its surroundings, and because the surrounding sky is comparatively dark, the sunlit Moon is perceived as a bright object. The edges of the full moon seem as bright as the center, without limb darkening, because of the reflective properties of lunar soil, which retroreflects light more towards the Sun than in other directions. The Moon does appear larger when close to the horizon, but this is a purely psychological effect, known as the moon illusion, first described in the 7th century BC.BOOK, Hershenson, Maurice, The Moon illusion, 1989, Routledge, 978-0-8058-0121-7, 5, The full Moon's angular diameter is about 0.52° (on average) in the sky, roughly the same apparent size as the Sun (see {{section link||Eclipses}}).The Moon's highest altitude at culmination varies by its phase and time of year. The full moon is highest in the sky during winter (for each hemisphere). The 18.61-year nodal cycle has an influence on lunar standstill. When the ascending node of the lunar orbit is in the vernal equinox, the lunar declination can reach up to plus or minus 28° each month. This means the Moon can pass overhead if viewed from latitudes up to 28° north or south (of the Equator), instead of only 18°. The orientation of the Moon's crescent also depends on the latitude of the viewing location; an observer in the tropics can see a smile-shaped crescent Moon.WEB,weblink Curious About Astronomy, Is the Moon seen as a crescent (and not a "boat") all over the world?, 18 October 2002, K., Spekkens, 28 September 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 October 2015, The Moon is visible for two weeks every 27.3 days at the North and South Poles. Zooplankton in the Arctic use moonlight when the Sun is below the horizon for months on end.WEB, Moonlight helps plankton escape predators during Arctic winters, New Scientist, 16 January 2016,weblink live,weblink 30 January 2016, File:Supermoon Nov-14-2016-minneapolis.jpg|thumb|14 November 2016 356511|km|mi}} awayWEB,weblink "Super Moon" exceptional. Brightest moon in the sky of Normandy, Monday, November 14 - The Siver Times, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 November 2016, 2016-11-12, from the center of Earth, the closest occurrence since 26 January 1948. It will not be closer until 25 November 2034.WEB,weblink Moongazers Delight – Biggest Supermoon in Decades Looms Large Sunday Night, 10 November 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 November 2016, The distance between the Moon and Earth varies from around {{convert|356,400 |km|mi|abbr=on}} to {{convert|406,700|km|mi|abbr=on}} at perigee (closest) and apogee (farthest), respectively. On 14 November 2016, it was closer to Earth when at full phase than it has been since 1948, 14% closer than its farthest position in apogee.WEB,weblink Supermoon November 2016, 13 November 2016, 14 November 2016,, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 November 2016, Reported as a "supermoon", this closest point coincided within an hour of a full moon, and it was 30% more luminous than when at its greatest distance because its angular diameter is 14% greater and scriptstyle1.14^2approx1.30.WEB, Super Full Moon, 16 March 2011, Tony Phillips, NASA, 19 March 2011,weblink dead,weblink 7 May 2012, NEWS, Full moon tonight is as close as it gets, 18 March 2011, Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise, 19 March 2011,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 March 2011, NEWS,weblink 'Super moon' to reach closest point for almost 20 years, The Guardian, 19 March 2011, 19 March 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 December 2013, At lower levels, the human perception of reduced brightness as a percentage is provided by the following formula:
WEB, Georgia State University, Dept. of Physics (Astronomy), Perceived Brightness,weblink Brightnes and Night/Day Sensitivity, Georgia State University, 25 January 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 February 2014,
WEB, Lutron, Measured light vs. perceived light,weblink From IES Lighting Handbook 2000, 27-4, Lutron, 25 January 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 5 February 2013,

text{perceived reduction}%=100 times sqrt{text{actual reduction}% over 100}
When the actual reduction is 1.00 / 1.30, or about 0.770, the perceived reduction is about 0.877, or 1.00 / 1.14. This gives a maximum perceived increase of 14% between apogee and perigee moons of the same phase.
WEB, Walker, John, Inconstant Moon,weblink Earth and Moon Viewer, Fourmilab, 23 January 2014, Fourth paragraph of "How Bright the Moonlight", May 1997, 14% [...] due to the logarithmic response of the human eye., live,weblink 14 December 2013,
There has been historical controversy over whether features on the Moon's surface change over time. Today, many of these claims are thought to be illusory, resulting from observation under different lighting conditions, poor astronomical seeing, or inadequate drawings. However, outgassing does occasionally occur and could be responsible for a minor percentage of the reported lunar transient phenomena. Recently, it has been suggested that a roughly {{convert|3|km|abbr=on}} diameter region of the lunar surface was modified by a gas release event about a million years ago.JOURNAL,weblink Taylor, G.J., Recent Gas Escape from the Moon, 110, Planetary Science Research Discoveries, 8 November 2006, 4 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2007, 2006psrd.reptE.110T, JOURNAL, Schultz, P.H., Staid, M.I., Pieters, C.M., 2006, Lunar activity from recent gas release, Nature (journal), Nature, 444, 184–186, 10.1038/nature05303, 17093445, 7116, 2006Natur.444..184S, The Moon's appearance, like the Sun's, can be affected by Earth's atmosphere. Common optical effects are the 22° halo ring, formed when the Moon's light is refracted through the ice crystals of high cirrostratus clouds, and smaller coronal rings when the Moon is seen through thin clouds.WEB,weblink 22 Degree Halo: a ring of light 22 degrees from the sun or moon, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 13 April 2010, {{wide image|Moon_phases_en.jpg|550px|The monthly changes in the angle between the direction of sunlight and view from Earth, and the phases of the Moon that result, as viewed from the Northern Hemisphere. The Earth–Moon distance is not to scale.}}The illuminated area of the visible sphere (degree of illumination) is given by (1-cos e)/2=sin^2(e/2), where e is the elongation (i.e., the angle between Moon, the observer (on Earth) and the Sun).

Tidal effects

File:Lunar libration with phase Oct 2007 450px.gif|thumb |alt=Over one lunar month more than half of the Moon's surface can be seen from Earth's surface. |The librationlibrationThe gravitational attraction that masses have for one another decreases inversely with the square of the distance of those masses from each other. As a result, the slightly greater attraction that the Moon has for the side of Earth closest to the Moon, as compared to the part of the Earth opposite the Moon, results in tidal forces. Tidal forces affect both the Earth's crust and oceans.The most obvious effect of tidal forces is to cause two bulges in the Earth's oceans, one on the side facing the Moon and the other on the side opposite. This results in elevated sea levels called ocean tides. As the Earth spins on its axis, one of the ocean bulges (high tide) is held in place "under" the Moon, while another such tide is opposite. As a result, there are two high tides, and two low tides in about 24 hours. Since the Moon is orbiting the Earth in the same direction of the Earth's rotation, the high tides occur about every 12 hours and 25 minutes; the 25 minutes is due to the Moon's time to orbit the Earth. The Sun has the same tidal effect on the Earth, but its forces of attraction are only 40% that of the Moon's; the Sun's and Moon's interplay is responsible for spring and neap tides. If the Earth were a water world (one with no continents) it would produce a tide of only one meter, and that tide would be very predictable, but the ocean tides are greatly modified by other effects: the frictional coupling of water to Earth's rotation through the ocean floors, the inertia of water's movement, ocean basins that grow shallower near land, the sloshing of water between different ocean basins.JOURNAL, Le Provost, C., Bennett, A.F., Cartwright, D.E., 1995, Ocean Tides for and from TOPEX/POSEIDON, 639–642, Science (journal), Science, 17745840, 267, 5198, 1995Sci...267..639L, 10.1126/science.267.5198.639, As a result, the timing of the tides at most points on the Earth is a product of observations that are explained, incidentally, by theory.While gravitation causes acceleration and movement of the Earth's fluid oceans, gravitational coupling between the Moon and Earth's solid body is mostly elastic and plastic. The result is a further tidal effect of the Moon on the Earth that causes a bulge of the solid portion of the Earth nearest the Moon that acts as a torque in opposition to the Earth's rotation. This "drains" angular momentum and rotational kinetic energy from Earth's spin, slowing the Earth's rotation. That angular momentum, lost from the Earth, is transferred to the Moon in a process (confusingly known as tidal acceleration), which lifts the Moon into a higher orbit and results in its lower orbital speed about the Earth. Thus the distance between Earth and Moon is increasing, and the Earth's spin is slowing in reaction. Measurements from laser reflectors left during the Apollo missions (lunar ranging experiments) have found that the Moon's distance increases by {{Convert |38 |mm |abbr=on}} per yearJOURNAL, Chapront, J., Chapront-Touzé, M., Francou, G., 2002, A new determination of lunar orbital parameters, precession constant and tidal acceleration from LLR measurements, Astronomy and Astrophysics, 387, 2, 700–709, 10.1051/0004-6361:20020420, 2002A&A...387..700C, (roughly the rate at which human fingernails grow).NEWS,weblink Why the Moon is getting further away from Earth, BBC News, 1 February 2011, 18 September 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 September 2015, Atomic clocks also show that Earth's day lengthens by about 15 microseconds every year,WEB, Ray, R., 15 May 2001,weblink Ocean Tides and the Earth's Rotation, IERS Special Bureau for Tides, 17 March 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 27 March 2010, slowly increasing the rate at which UTC is adjusted by leap seconds.Left to run its course, this tidal drag would continue until the spin of Earth and the orbital period of the Moon matched, creating mutual tidal locking between the two. As a result, the Moon would be suspended in the sky over one meridian, as is already currently the case with Pluto and its moon Charon. However, the Sun will become a red giant engulfing the Earth-Moon system long before this occurrence.BOOK, Murray, C.D., Dermott, Stanley F., Solar System Dynamics, 1999, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-57295-8, 184, BOOK, Dickinson, Terence, Terence Dickinson, From the Big Bang to Planet X, 1993, Camden House, Camden East, Ontario, 978-0-921820-71-0, 79–81, In a like manner, the lunar surface experiences tides of around {{Convert |10 |cm |4=0 |abbr=on}} amplitude over 27 days, with two components: a fixed one due to Earth, because they are in synchronous rotation, and a varying component from the Sun. The Earth-induced component arises from libration, a result of the Moon's orbital eccentricity (if the Moon's orbit were perfectly circular, there would only be solar tides). Libration also changes the angle from which the Moon is seen, allowing a total of about 59% of its surface to be seen from Earth over time. The cumulative effects of stress built up by these tidal forces produces moonquakes. Moonquakes are much less common and weaker than are earthquakes, although moonquakes can last for up to an hour â€“ significantly longer than terrestrial quakes â€“ because of the absence of water to damp out the seismic vibrations. The existence of moonquakes was an unexpected discovery from seismometers placed on the Moon by Apollo astronauts from 1969 through 1972.JOURNAL, Latham, Gary, 1972, Ewing, Maurice, Dorman, James, Lammlein, David, Press, Frank, ToksÅ‘z, Naft, Sutton, George, Duennebier, Fred, Nakamura, Yosio, Moonquakes and lunar tectonism, Earth, Moon, and Planets, 4, 3–4, 373–382, 10.1007/BF00562004, 1972Moon....4..373L,


{{multiple image
|alt1=The fiercely bright disk of the Sun is completely obscured by the exact fit of the disk of the dark, non-illuminated Moon, leaving only the radial, fuzzy, glowing coronal filaments of the Sun around the edge.
|image2=STEREO-B solar eclipse.jpg
|alt2=The bright disk of the Sun, showing many coronal filaments, flares and grainy patches in the wavelength of this image, is partly obscured by a small dark disk: here, the Moon covers less than a fifteenth of the Sun.
|footer=From Earth, the Moon and the Sun appear the same size, as seen in the 1999 solar eclipse (left), whereas from the STEREO-B spacecraft in an Earth-trailing orbit, the Moon appears much smaller than the Sun (right).WEB, Phillips, Tony, Science@NASA, Stereo Eclipse, 12 March 2007, 17 March 2010,weblink dead,weblink 10 June 2008,
}}Eclipses only occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are all in a straight line (termed "syzygy"). Solar eclipses occur at new moon, when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth. In contrast, lunar eclipses occur at full moon, when Earth is between the Sun and Moon. The apparent size of the Moon is roughly the same as that of the Sun, with both being viewed at close to one-half a degree wide. The Sun is much larger than the Moon but it is the vastly greater distance that gives it the same apparent size as the much closer and much smaller Moon from the perspective of Earth. The variations in apparent size, due to the non-circular orbits, are nearly the same as well, though occurring in different cycles. This makes possible both total (with the Moon appearing larger than the Sun) and annular (with the Moon appearing smaller than the Sun) solar eclipses.WEB, F., Espenak, 2000,weblink Solar Eclipses for Beginners, MrEclip]], 17 March 2010, In a total eclipse, the Moon completely covers the disc of the Sun and the solar corona becomes visible to the naked eye. Because the distance between the Moon and Earth is very slowly increasing over time, the angular diameter of the Moon is decreasing. Also, as it evolves toward becoming a red giant, the size of the Sun, and its apparent diameter in the sky, are slowly increasing.{{efn|name=size changes}} The combination of these two changes means that hundreds of millions of years ago, the Moon would always completely cover the Sun on solar eclipses, and no annular eclipses were possible. Likewise, hundreds of millions of years in the future, the Moon will no longer cover the Sun completely, and total solar eclipses will not occur.WEB, Walker, John,weblink Moon near Perigee, Earth near Aphelion, Fourmilab, 10 July 2004, 25 December 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 December 2013, Because the Moon's orbit around Earth is inclined by about 5.145° (5° 9') to the orbit of Earth around the Sun, eclipses do not occur at every full and new moon. For an eclipse to occur, the Moon must be near the intersection of the two orbital planes. The periodicity and recurrence of eclipses of the Sun by the Moon, and of the Moon by Earth, is described by the saros, which has a period of approximately 18 years.WEB,weblink Espenak, F., Saros Cycle, NASA, 17 March 2010, dead,weblink 24 May 2012, Because the Moon is continuously blocking our view of a half-degree-wide circular area of the sky,{{efn |name=area}}MAGAZINE, The Square Degree as a Unit of Celestial Area, Guthrie, D.V., 1947, Popular Astronomy (US magazine), Popular Astronomy, 55, 200–203, 1947PA.....55..200G, the related phenomenon of occultation occurs when a bright star or planet passes behind the Moon and is occulted: hidden from view. In this way, a solar eclipse is an occultation of the Sun. Because the Moon is comparatively close to Earth, occultations of individual stars are not visible everywhere on the planet, nor at the same time. Because of the precession of the lunar orbit, each year different stars are occulted.WEB,weblink Total Lunar Occultations, Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, 17 March 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 February 2010,

{{anchor |Exploration}} Observation and exploration

Before spaceflight

File:Moon by Johannes hevelius 1645.PNG|thumb |alt=On an open folio page is a carefully drawn disk of the full moon. In the upper corners of the page are waving banners held aloft by pairs of winged cherubs. In the lower left page corner a cherub assists another to measure distances with a pair of compasses; in the lower right corner a cherub views the main map through a handheld telescope, whereas another, kneeling, peers at the map from over a low cloth-draped table. |Map of the Moon by Johannes Hevelius from his Selenographia (1647), the first map to include the librationlibrationFile:Micrographia Schem 38.jpg|thumb |A study of the Moon in Robert Hooke's MicrographiaMicrographiaOne of the earliest-discovered possible depictions of the Moon is a 5000-year-old rock carving Orthostat 47 at Knowth, Ireland.WEB,weblink Lunar maps, 18 September 2019, live, WEB,weblink Carved and Drawn Prehistoric Maps of the Cosmos, Space Today, 2006, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 5 March 2012, Understanding of the Moon's cycles was an early development of astronomy: by the {{nowrap|5th century BC}}, Babylonian astronomers had recorded the 18-year Saros cycle of lunar eclipses,JOURNAL, 10.2307/1006543, Saros Cycle Dates and Related Babylonian Astronomical Texts, A., Aaboe, J.P., Britton, J.A., Henderson, Otto, Neugebauer, Otto Neugebauer, A.J., Sachs, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 81, 6, 1991, 1, One comprises what we have called "Saros Cycle Texts", which give the months of eclipse possibilities arranged in consistent cycles of 223 months (or 18 years)., 1006543, and Indian astronomers had described the Moon's monthly elongation. The Chinese astronomer Shi Shen {{nowrap|(fl. 4th century BC)}} gave instructions for predicting solar and lunar eclipses.{{sfn |Needham |1986 |p=411}}Later, the physical form of the Moon and the cause of moonlight became understood. The ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras {{nowrap|(d. 428 BC)}} reasoned that the Sun and Moon were both giant spherical rocks, and that the latter reflected the light of the former.WEB, O'Connor, J.J., Robertson, E.F., February 1999,weblink Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, University of St Andrews, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 January 2012, {{sfn |Needham |1986 |p=227}} Although the Chinese of the Han Dynasty believed the Moon to be energy equated to qi, their 'radiating influence' theory also recognized that the light of the Moon was merely a reflection of the Sun, and Jing Fang (78–37 BC) noted the sphericity of the Moon.{{sfn|Needham |1986 |p=413–414}} In the 2nd century AD, Lucian wrote the novel A True Story, in which the heroes travel to the Moon and meet its inhabitants. In 499 AD, the Indian astronomer Aryabhata mentioned in his Aryabhatiya that reflected sunlight is the cause of the shining of the Moon.WEB,weblink Aryabhata the Elder, Robertson, E.F., November 2000, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, 15 April 2010, Scotland, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 July 2015, The astronomer and physicist Alhazen (965–1039) found that sunlight was not reflected from the Moon like a mirror, but that light was emitted from every part of the Moon's sunlit surface in all directions.BOOK, Detroit, 2008, Charles Scribner's Sons, Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Ibn Al-Haytham, AbÅ« Ê¿AlÄ« Al-Ḥasan Ibn Al-Ḥasan, A.I. Sabra, 189–210, at 195, Shen Kuo (1031–1095) of the Song dynasty created an allegory equating the waxing and waning of the Moon to a round ball of reflective silver that, when doused with white powder and viewed from the side, would appear to be a crescent.{{sfn|Needham |1986 |p=415–416}}File:Galileo's sketches of the moon.png|thumb |left |upright |Galileo's sketches of the Moon from Sidereus NunciusSidereus NunciusIn Aristotle's (384–322 BC) description of the universe, the Moon marked the boundary between the spheres of the mutable elements (earth, water, air and fire), and the imperishable stars of aether, an influential philosophy that would dominate for centuries.BOOK, Lewis, C.S., C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image, 1964, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 978-0-521-47735-2, 108, However, in the {{nowrap |2nd century BC}}, Seleucus of Seleucia correctly theorized that tides were due to the attraction of the Moon, and that their height depends on the Moon's position relative to the Sun.JOURNAL, Bartel Leendert, van der Waerden, Bartel Leendert van der Waerden, 1987, The Heliocentric System in Greek, Persian and Hindu Astronomy, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 500, 1, 1–569, 3296915, 1987NYASA.500....1A, 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1987.tb37193.x, In the same century, Aristarchus computed the size and distance of the Moon from Earth, obtaining a value of about twenty times the radius of Earth for the distance. These figures were greatly improved by Ptolemy (90–168 AD): his values of a mean distance of 59 times Earth's radius and a diameter of 0.292 Earth diameters were close to the correct values of about 60 and 0.273 respectively.BOOK, Evans, James, The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy, 1998, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 978-0-19-509539-5, 71, 386, Archimedes (287–212 BC) designed a planetarium that could calculate the motions of the Moon and other objects in the Solar System.NEWS,weblink The New York Times, Discovering How Greeks Computed in 100 B.C., 31 July 2008, 9 March 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 December 2013, During the Middle Ages, before the invention of the telescope, the Moon was increasingly recognised as a sphere, though many believed that it was "perfectly smooth".WEB, Van Helden, A., 1995,weblink The Moon, Galileo Project, 12 April 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 June 2004, In 1609, Galileo Galilei drew one of the first telescopic drawings of the Moon in his book and noted that it was not smooth but had mountains and craters. Thomas Harriot had made, but not published such drawings a few months earlier. Telescopic mapping of the Moon followed: later in the 17th century, the efforts of Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Francesco Maria Grimaldi led to the system of naming of lunar features in use today. The more exact 1834–36 of Wilhelm Beer and Johann Heinrich Mädler, and their associated 1837 book , the first trigonometrically accurate study of lunar features, included the heights of more than a thousand mountains, and introduced the study of the Moon at accuracies possible in earthly geography.JOURNAL, Consolmagno, Guy J., 1996, Astronomy, Science Fiction and Popular Culture: 1277 to 2001 (And beyond), Leonardo (journal), Leonardo, 29, 2, 127–132, 1576348, 10.2307/1576348, Lunar craters, first noted by Galileo, were thought to be volcanic until the 1870s proposal of Richard Proctor that they were formed by collisions. This view gained support in 1892 from the experimentation of geologist Grove Karl Gilbert, and from comparative studies from 1920 to the 1940s, leading to the development of lunar stratigraphy, which by the 1950s was becoming a new and growing branch of astrogeology.

By spacecraft

{{See also|Robotic exploration of the Moon |List of proposed missions to the Moon |Colonization of the Moon |List of artificial objects on the Moon}}

20th century

Soviet missions

missing image!
- Soviet moonrover.JPG -
Soviet Moon rover Lunokhod 1
The Cold War-inspired Space Race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. led to an acceleration of interest in exploration of the Moon. Once launchers had the necessary capabilities, these nations sent unmanned probes on both flyby and impact/lander missions. Spacecraft from the Soviet Union's Luna program were the first to accomplish a number of goals: following three unnamed, failed missions in 1958,WEB,weblink Anatoly, Zak, 2009, Russia's unmanned missions toward the Moon, 20 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 April 2010, the first human-made object to escape Earth's gravity and pass near the Moon was Luna 1; the first human-made object to impact the lunar surface was Luna 2, and the first photographs of the normally occluded far side of the Moon were made by Luna 3, all in 1959.The first spacecraft to perform a successful lunar soft landing was Luna 9 and the first unmanned vehicle to orbit the Moon was Luna 10, both in 1966. Rock and soil samples were brought back to Earth by three Luna sample return missions (Luna 16 in 1970, Luna 20 in 1972, and Luna 24 in 1976), which returned 0.3 kg total.WEB,weblink Rocks and Soils from the Moon, NASA, 6 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2010, Two pioneering robotic rovers landed on the Moon in 1970 and 1973 as a part of Soviet Lunokhod programme.Luna 24 was the last Soviet/Russian mission to the Moon.

United States missions

{{multiple image
|image2=Lunar basalt 70017.jpg
|caption1=Earthrise (Apollo 8, 1968, taken by William Anders)Lunar basalt 70017>Moon rock (Apollo 17, 1972)|alt1=The small blue-white semicircle of Earth, almost glowing with color in the blackness of space, rising over the limb of the desolate, cratered surface of the Moon.
}}During the late 1950s at the height of the Cold War, the United States Army conducted a classified feasibility study that proposed the construction of a manned military outpost on the Moon called Project Horizon with the potential to conduct a wide range of missions from scientific research to nuclear Earth bombardment. The study included the possibility of conducting a lunar-based nuclear test.WEB, Soldiers, Spies and the Moon: Secret U.S. and Soviet Plans from the 1950s and 1960s,weblink The National Security Archive, National Security Archive, 1 May 2017, live,weblink" title="">weblink 19 December 2016, NEWS, Brumfield, Ben, U.S. reveals secret plans for '60s moon base,weblink CNN, 26 July 2014, 25 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 27 July 2014, The Air Force, which at the time was in competition with the Army for a leading role in the space program, developed its own similar plan called Lunex.MAGAZINE,weblink Teitel, Amy, LUNEX: Another way to the Moon, Popular Science, 11 November 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 October 2015, BOOK, Logsdon, John, John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 978-0-230-11010-6, However, both these proposals were ultimately passed over as the space program was largely transferred from the military to the civilian agency NASA.Following President John F. Kennedy's 1961 commitment to a manned moon landing before the end of the decade, the United States, under NASA leadership, launched a series of unmanned probes to develop an understanding of the lunar surface in preparation for manned missions: the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Ranger program produced the first close-up pictures; the Lunar Orbiter program produced maps of the entire Moon; the Surveyor program landed its first spacecraft four months after Luna 9. The manned Apollo program was developed in parallel; after a series of unmanned and manned tests of the Apollo spacecraft in Earth orbit, and spurred on by a potential Soviet lunar flight, in 1968 Apollo 8 made the first manned mission to lunar orbit. The subsequent landing of the first humans on the Moon in 1969 is seen by many as the culmination of the Space Race.File:As11-40-5886, uncropped.jpg|thumb|Neil Armstrong working at the Lunar Module Eagle during Apollo 11Apollo 11{{Listen|pos=right |filename=Frase de Neil Armstrong.ogg |title="That's one small step ..." |description= |format=Ogg}}Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon as the commander of the American mission Apollo 11 by first setting foot on the Moon at 02:56 UTC on 21 July 1969.WEB,weblink Record of Lunar Events, 24 July 1969, Apollo 11 30th anniversary, NASA, 13 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 April 2010, An estimated 500 million people worldwide watched the transmission by the Apollo TV camera, the largest television audience for a live broadcast at that time.WEB, Manned Space Chronology: Apollo_11,weblink, 6 February 2008, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 February 2008, WEB, Apollo Anniversary: Moon Landing "Inspired World",weblink National Geographic, 6 February 2008, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 February 2008, The Apollo missions 11 to 17 (except Apollo 13, which aborted its planned lunar landing) removed {{convert|837.87 |lb |kg |order=flip}} of lunar rock and soil in 2,196 separate samples.BOOK, Orloff, Richard W., Apollo by the Numbers: A Statistical Reference,weblink Extravehicular Activity,weblink 1 August 2013, The NASA History Series, First published 2000, September 2004, NASA History Division, Office of Policy and Plans, NASA, Washington, DC, 978-0-16-050631-4, 00061677, NASA SP-2000-4029, Orloff, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 June 2013, The American Moon landing and return was enabled by considerable technological advances in the early 1960s, in domains such as ablation chemistry, software engineering, and atmospheric re-entryatmospheric re-entry, 13 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 April 2010, BOOK, SP-287 What Made Apollo a Success? A series of eight articles reprinted by permission from the March 1970 issue of Astronautics & Aeronautics, a publication of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics., Scientific and Technical Information Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC, 1971, Scientific instrument packages were installed on the lunar surface during all the Apollo landings. Long-lived instrument stations, including heat flow probes, seismometers, and magnetometers, were installed at the Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 landing sites. Direct transmission of data to Earth concluded in late 1977 because of budgetary considerations,PRESS RELEASE, NASA news release 77-47 page 242, 1 September 1977,weblink 16 March 2010, PDF, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 June 2011, NEWS,weblink 29 August 2007, NASA Turns A Deaf Ear To The Moon, 1977, OASI Newsletters Archive, Appleton, James, Radley, Charles, Deans, John, Harvey, Simon, Burt, Paul, Haxell, Michael, Adams, Roy, Spooner N., Brieske, Wayne,weblink" title="">weblink 10 December 2007, dead, but as the stations' lunar laser ranging corner-cube retroreflector arrays are passive instruments, they are still being used. Ranging to the stations is routinely performed from Earth-based stations with an accuracy of a few centimeters, and data from this experiment are being used to place constraints on the size of the lunar core.JOURNAL, Dickey, J., 1994, Lunar laser ranging: a continuing legacy of the Apollo program, Science (journal), Science, 265, 482–490, 10.1126/science.265.5171.482, 17781305, 5171, 1994Sci...265..482D, 1, Bender, P.L., Faller, J.E., Newhall, X X, Ricklefs, R.L., Ries, J.G., Shelus, P.J., Veillet, C., Whipple, A. L.,


File:Moon Crescent - False Color Mosaic.jpg|thumb|An artificially colored mosaic constructed from a series of 53 images taken through three spectral filters by Galileo' s imaging system as the spacecraft flew over the northern regions of the Moon on 7 December 1992.]]After the first Moon race there were years of near quietude but starting in the 1990s, many more countries have become involved in direct exploration of the Moon. In 1990, Japan became the third country to place a spacecraft into lunar orbit with its Hiten spacecraft. The spacecraft released a smaller probe, Hagoromo, in lunar orbit, but the transmitter failed, preventing further scientific use of the mission.WEB, Hiten-Hagomoro, NASA,weblink 29 March 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 14 June 2011, In 1994, the U.S. sent the joint Defense Department/NASA spacecraft Clementine to lunar orbit. This mission obtained the first near-global topographic map of the Moon, and the first global multispectral images of the lunar surface.WEB, Clementine information, NASA, 1994,weblink 29 March 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 September 2010, This was followed in 1998 by the Lunar Prospector mission, whose instruments indicated the presence of excess hydrogen at the lunar poles, which is likely to have been caused by the presence of water ice in the upper few meters of the regolith within permanently shadowed craters.WEB, Lunar Prospector: Neutron Spectrometer, NASA,weblink 2001, 29 March 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2010, India, Japan, China, the United States, and the European Space Agency each sent lunar orbiters, and especially ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 has contributed to confirming the discovery of lunar water ice in permanently shadowed craters at the poles and bound into the lunar regolith. The post-Apollo era has also seen two rover missions: the final Soviet Lunokhod mission in 1973, and China's ongoing Chang'e 3 mission, which deployed its Yutu rover on 14 December 2013. The Moon remains, under the Outer Space Treaty, free to all nations to explore for peaceful purposes.

21st century

(File:Mooncolony.jpg|thumb|Artistic representation of a future Moon colony)The European spacecraft SMART-1, the second ion-propelled spacecraft, was in lunar orbit from 15 November 2004 until its lunar impact on 3 September 2006, and made the first detailed survey of chemical elements on the lunar surface.WEB,weblink SMART-1 factsheet, 26 February 2007, [¹[European Space Agency]], 29 March 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 March 2010, The ambitious Chinese Lunar Exploration Program began with Chang'e 1, which successfully orbited the Moon from 5 November 2007 until its controlled lunar impact on 1 March 2009. It obtained a full image map of the Moon. Chang'e 2, beginning in October 2010, reached the Moon more quickly, mapped the Moon at a higher resolution over an eight-month period, then left lunar orbit for an extended stay at the Earth–Sun L2 Lagrangian point, before finally performing a flyby of asteroid 4179 Toutatis on 13 December 2012, and then heading off into deep space. On 14 December 2013, Chang'e 3 landed a lunar lander onto the Moon's surface, which in turn deployed a lunar rover, named Yutu (Chinese: 玉兔; literally "Jade Rabbit"). This was the first lunar soft landing since Luna 24 in 1976, and the first lunar rover mission since Lunokhod 2 in 1973. China intends to launch another rover mission (Chang'e 4) before 2020, followed by a sample return mission (Chang'e 5) soon after.WEB, China Outlines New Rockets, Space Station and Moon Plans,weblink 17 March 2015, Leonard David,, 29 June 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 July 2016, Between 4 October 2007 and 10 June 2009, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kaguya (Selene) mission, a lunar orbiter fitted with a high-definition video camera, and two small radio-transmitter satellites, obtained lunar geophysics data and took the first high-definition movies from beyond Earth orbit.WEB,weblink KAGUYA Mission Profile, JAXA, 13 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 March 2010, WEB,weblink KAGUYA (SELENE) World's First Image Taking of the Moon by HDTV, 7 November 2007, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), 13 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 March 2010, India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, orbited from 8 November 2008 until loss of contact on 27 August 2009, creating a high-resolution chemical, mineralogical and photo-geological map of the lunar surface, and confirming the presence of water molecules in lunar soil.WEB,weblink Mission Sequence, 17 November 2008, Indian Space Research Organisation, 13 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2010, The Indian Space Research Organisation planned to launch Chandrayaan-2 in 2013, which would have included a Russian robotic lunar rover.WEB,weblink Indian Space Research Organisation: Future Program, Indian Space Research Organisation, 13 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 November 2010, WEB,weblink India and Russia Sign an Agreement on Chandrayaan-2, 14 November 2007, Indian Space Research Organisation, 13 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 17 December 2007, However, the failure of Russia's Fobos-Grunt mission has delayed this project, and was launched on 22 July 2019. The lander Vikram attempted to land on the lunar south pole regime on 6 September, but lost the signal in {{cvt|2.1|km}}. What happened after that is unknown.{{multiple image|direction=vertical
|image1=Copernicus central peaks.png
|image2=Ina (LRO).jpg
|caption1=Copernicus's central peaks as observed by the LRO, 2012
|caption2=The Ina formation, 2009
}}The U.S. co-launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the LCROSS impactor and follow-up observation orbiter on 18 June 2009; LCROSS completed its mission by making a planned and widely observed impact in the crater Cabeus on 9 October 2009,WEB,weblink Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS): Strategy & Astronomer Observation Campaign, October 2009, NASA, 13 April 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 January 2012, whereas LRO is currently in operation, obtaining precise lunar altimetry and high-resolution imagery. In November 2011, the LRO passed over the large and bright Aristarchus crater. NASA released photos of the crater on 25 December 2011.NEWS,weblink Giant moon crater revealed in spectacular up-close photos, MSNBC,, 6 January 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 January 2012, Two NASA GRAIL spacecraft began orbiting the Moon around 1 January 2012,NEWS,weblink Twin probes to circle moon to study gravity field, Chang, Alicia,, Associated Press, 26 December 2011, 22 July 2018, on a mission to learn more about the Moon's internal structure. NASA's LADEE probe, designed to study the lunar exosphere, achieved orbit on 6 October 2013.Upcoming lunar missions include Russia's Luna-Glob: an unmanned lander with a set of seismometers, and an orbiter based on its failed Martian Fobos-Grunt mission.MAGAZINE,weblink Russia Plans Ambitious Robotic Lunar Mission, Covault, C., Aviation Week, 4 June 2006, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 June 2006, WEB,weblink Russia to send mission to Mars this year, Moon in three years, 25 February 2009, TV-Novosti, 13 April 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 September 2010, Privately funded lunar exploration has been promoted by the Google Lunar X Prize, announced 13 September 2007, which offers US$20 million to anyone who can land a robotic rover on the Moon and meet other specified criteria.WEB, About the Google Lunar X Prize, X-Prize Foundation,weblink 2010, 24 March 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 28 February 2010, dead, Shackleton Energy Company is building a program to establish operations on the south pole of the Moon to harvest water and supply their Propellant Depots.WEB, Mining the Moon's Water: Q&A with Shackleton Energy's Bill Stone, Space News, Wall, Mike, 14 January 2011,weblink NASA began to plan to resume manned missions following the call by U.S. President George W. Bush on 14 January 2004 for a manned mission to the Moon by 2019 and the construction of a lunar base by 2024.PRESS RELEASE,weblink President Bush Offers New Vision For NASA, 14 December 2004, NASA, 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 May 2007, The Constellation program was funded and construction and testing begun on a manned spacecraft and launch vehicle,WEB,weblink Constellation, NASA, 13 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 April 2010, and design studies for a lunar base.PRESS RELEASE, NASA Unveils Global Exploration Strategy and Lunar Architecture, NASA, 4 December 2006,weblink 12 April 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 August 2007, However, that program has been canceled in favor of a manned asteroid landing by 2025 and a manned Mars orbit by 2035.WEB, NASAtelevision,weblink President Obama Pledges Total Commitment to NASA, YouTube, 15 April 2010, 7 May 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 April 2012, India has also expressed its hope to send a manned mission to the Moon by 2020.WEB,weblink, India's Space Agency Proposes Manned Spaceflight Program, 10 November 2006, 23 October 2008, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 April 2012, On 28 February 2018, SpaceX, Vodafone, Nokia and Audi announced a collaboration to install a 4G wireless communication network on the Moon, with the aim of streaming live footage on the surface to Earth.SpaceX to help Vodafone and Nokia install first 4G signal on the Moon | The Week UKRecent reports also indicate NASA's intent to send a woman astronaut to the Moon in their planned mid-2020s mission.WEB,weblink NASA plans to send first woman on Moon by 2024, 2019-05-15, The Asian Age, 2019-05-15,

Planned commercial missions

In 2007, the X Prize Foundation together with Google launched the Google Lunar X Prize to encourage commercial endeavors to the Moon. A prize of $20 million was to be awarded to the first private venture to get to the Moon with a robotic lander by the end of March 2018, with additional prizes worth $10 million for further milestones.NEWS,weblink For 5 Contest Finalists, a $20 Million Dash to the Moon, Chang, Kenneth, 24 January 2017, The New York Times, 13 July 2017, 0362-4331, live,weblink 15 July 2017, {{Citation |url= |title=Deadline for Google Lunar X Prize Moon Race Extended Through March 2018 | |date=16 August 2017 |author=Mike Wall |accessdate=25 September 2017}} As of August 2016, 16 teams were reportedly participating in the competition.NEWS,weblink US startup Moon Express approved to make 2017 lunar mission, McCarthy, Ciara, 3 August 2016, The Guardian, 13 July 2017, 0261-3077, live,weblink 30 July 2017, In January 2018 the foundation announced that the prize would go unclaimed as none of the finalist teams would be able to make a launch attempt by the deadline.NEWS,weblink An Important Update From Google Lunar XPRIZE, 23 January 2018, Google Lunar XPRIZE, 12 May 2018, In August 2016, the US government granted permission to US-based start-up Moon Express to land on the Moon.NEWS,weblink Moon Express Approved for Private Lunar Landing in 2017, a Space First,, 13 July 2017, live,weblink 12 July 2017, This marked the first time that a private enterprise was given the right to do so. The decision is regarded as a precedent helping to define regulatory standards for deep-space commercial activity in the future, as thus far companies' operation had been restricted to being on or around Earth.On 29 November 2018 NASA announced that nine commercial companies would compete to win a contract to send small payloads to the Moon in what is known as Commercial Lunar Payload Services. According to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, "We are building a domestic American capability to get back and forth to the surface of the moon.".NEWS, Chang, Kenneth, NASA's Return to the Moon to Start With Private Companies' Spacecraft,weblink The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 November 2018, English, 29 November 2018,

Human impact

{{See also|List of artificial objects on the Moon |Space art#Art in space}}Beside the traces of human activity on the Moon, there have been some intended permanent installations like the Moon Museum art piece, Apollo 11 goodwill messages, Lunar plaque, Fallen Astronaut memorial and other artifacts.

Astronomy from the Moon

File:Earth in ultraviolet from the Moon (S72-40821).jpg|thumb|right|A false-color image of Earth in ultraviolet light taken from the surface of the Moon on the Apollo 16 mission. The day-side reflects a large amount of UV light from the Sun, but the night-side shows faint bands of UV emission from the auroraauroraFor many years, the Moon has been recognized as an excellent site for telescopes.WEB, Takahashi, Yuki, Mission Design for Setting up an Optical Telescope on the Moon, California Institute of Technology, September 1999,weblink 27 March 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 November 2015, It is relatively nearby; astronomical seeing is not a concern; certain craters near the poles are permanently dark and cold, and thus especially useful for infrared telescopes; and radio telescopes on the far side would be shielded from the radio chatter of Earth.WEB, Chandler, David, MIT to lead development of new telescopes on moon, MIT News, 15 February 2008,weblink 27 March 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2009, The lunar soil, although it poses a problem for any moving parts of telescopes, can be mixed with carbon nanotubes and epoxies and employed in the construction of mirrors up to 50 meters in diameter.WEB, Naeye, Robert, NASA Scientists Pioneer Method for Making Giant Lunar Telescopes, Goddard Space Flight Center, 6 April 2008,weblink 27 March 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 22 December 2010, A lunar zenith telescope can be made cheaply with an ionic liquid.WEB, Bell, Trudy, Liquid Mirror Telescopes on the Moon, Science News, NASA, 9 October 2008,weblink 27 March 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 March 2011, In April 1972, the Apollo 16 mission recorded various astronomical photos and spectra in ultraviolet with the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph.WEB,weblink Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph,, 3 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 December 2013,

Legal status

Although Luna landers scattered pennants of the Soviet Union on the Moon, and U.S. flags were symbolically planted at their landing sites by the Apollo astronauts, no nation claims ownership of any part of the Moon's surface. Russia, China, and the U.S. are party to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which defines the Moon and all outer space as the "province of all mankind". This treaty also restricts the use of the Moon to peaceful purposes, explicitly banning military installations and weapons of mass destruction.The 1979 Moon Agreement was created to restrict the exploitation of the Moon's resources by any single nation, but as of November 2016, it has been signed and ratified by only 18 nations, none of which engages in self-launched human space exploration or has plans to do so. Although several individuals have made claims to the Moon in whole or in part, none of these are considered credible.

In culture

File:Moon-bonatti.png|thumb |Luna, the Moon, from a 1550 edition of Guido BonattiGuido Bonatti{{See also|Moon in fiction|Tourism on the Moon}}


{{Further|Lunar deity |Selene |Luna (goddess) |Man in the Moon |Crescent}}File:Chandaragiri_Vatika.jpg|thumb|Statue of Chandraprabha (meaning "as charming as the moon"), the eighth Tirthankara in Jainism, with the symbol of a crescentcrescent(File:Nuremberg chronicles f 76r 3.png|thumb|Sun and Moon with faces (1493 woodcut))The contrast between the brighter highlands and the darker maria creates the patterns seen by different cultures as the Man in the Moon, the rabbit and the buffalo, among others. In many prehistoric and ancient cultures, the Moon was personified as a deity or other supernatural phenomenon, and astrological views of the Moon continue to be propagated today.In Proto-Indo-European religion, the moon was personified as the male god *Meh1not.JOURNAL, Dexter, Miriam Robbins, Proto-Indo-European Sun Maidens and Gods of the Moon, Mankind Quarterly, 25, 1 & 2, 1984, 137–144, The ancient Sumerians believed that the Moon was the god Nanna,{{citation |last=Nemet-Nejat |first=Karen Rhea |authorlink=Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat |date=1998 |title=Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia |publisher=Greenwood |series=Daily Life |isbn=978-0-313-29497-6 |page=203 |url=}}BOOK, Black, Jeremy, Anthony, Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary,weblink The British Museum Press, 1992, 978-0-7141-1705-8, 135, harv, who was the father of Inanna, the goddess of the planet Venus, and Utu, the god of the sun. Nanna was later known as Sîn, and was particularly associated with magic and sorcery. In Greco-Roman mythology, the Sun and the Moon are represented as male and female, respectively (Helios/Sol and Selene/Luna); this is a development unique to the eastern Mediterranean and traces of an earlier male moon god in the Greek tradition are preserved in the figure of Menelaus.In Mesopotamian iconography, the crescent was the primary symbol of Nanna-Sîn. In ancient Greek art, the Moon goddess Selene was represented wearing a crescent on her headgear in an arrangement reminiscent of horns.BOOK, Zschietzschmann, W., 2006, Hellas and Rome: The Classical World in Pictures, Whitefish, Montana, Kessinger Publishing, 978-1-4286-5544-7, 23, harv, BOOK, Cohen, Beth, 2006, Outline as a Special Technique in Black- and Red-figure Vase-painting,weblink The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases, Los Angeles, Getty Publications, 978-0-89236-942-3, 178–179, harv, The star and crescent arrangement also goes back to the Bronze Age, representing either the Sun and Moon, or the Moon and planet Venus, in combination. It came to represent the goddess Artemis or Hecate, and via the patronage of Hecate came to be used as a symbol of Byzantium.An iconographic tradition of representing Sun and Moon with faces developed in the late medieval period.The splitting of the moon () is a miracle attributed to Muhammad."Muhammad." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, p.13


{{further|Lunar calendar |Lunisolar calendar |Metonic cycle |Blue moon |Movable feast}}The Moon's regular phases make it a very convenient timepiece, and the periods of its waxing and waning form the basis of many of the oldest calendars. Tally sticks, notched bones dating as far back as 20–30,000 years ago, are believed by some to mark the phases of the Moon.Brooks, A.S. and Smith, C.C. (1987): "Ishango revisited: new age determinations and cultural interpretations", The African Archaeological Review, 5 : 65–78.BOOK, Duncan, David Ewing, The Calendar, 1998, Fourth Estate Ltd., 978-1-85702-721-1, 10–11, The ~30-day month is an approximation of the lunar cycle.The English noun month and its cognates in other Germanic languages stem from Proto-Germanic *mǣnṓth-, which is connected to the above-mentioned Proto-Germanic *mǣnōn, indicating the usage of a lunar calendar among the Germanic peoples (Germanic calendar) prior to the adoption of a solar calendar. The PIE root of moon, *méh1nōt, derives from the PIE verbal root *meh1-, "to measure", "indicat[ing] a functional conception of the Moon, i.e. marker of the month" (cf. the English words measure and menstrual),BOOK, The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, Oxford Linguistics, J.P., Mallory, D.Q., Adams, 2006, 98, 128, 317, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-928791-8, {{OEtymD |measure |}}{{OEtymD |menstrual |}} and echoing the Moon's importance to many ancient cultures in measuring time (see Latin and Ancient Greek (meis) or (mēn), meaning "month").BOOK, Smith, William George, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology: Oarses-Zygia,weblink 29 March 2010, 3, 1849, J. Walton, 768, BOOK, Estienne, Henri, Thesaurus graecae linguae,weblink 29 March 2010, 5, 1846, Didot (publisher), Didot, 1001, {{L&S |mensis |ref}}{{LSJ |mei/s |μείς |shortref}}.Most historical calendars are lunisolar. The 7th-century Islamic calendar is an exceptional example of a purely lunar calendar. Months are traditionally determined by the visual sighting of the hilal, or earliest crescent moon, over the horizon.WEB, Islamic Calendars based on the Calculated First Visibility of the Lunar Crescent, University of Utrecht,weblink 11 January 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2014,|thumb|Moonrise, 1884, picture by Stanisław Masłowski (National Museum, Kraków, Gallery of Sukiennice MuseumSukiennice Museum


{{further |Lunar effect}}The Moon has long been associated with insanity and irrationality; the words lunacy and lunatic (popular shortening loony) are derived from the Latin name for the Moon, Luna. Philosophers Aristotle and Pliny the Elder argued that the full moon induced insanity in susceptible individuals, believing that the brain, which is mostly water, must be affected by the Moon and its power over the tides, but the Moon's gravity is too slight to affect any single person. Even today, people who believe in a lunar effect claim that admissions to psychiatric hospitals, traffic accidents, homicides or suicides increase during a full moon, but dozens of studies invalidate these claims.


{{efn |name=inclination
|Between 18.29° and 28.58° to Earth's equator.
|The maximum value is given based on scaling of the brightness from the value of −12.74 given for an equator to Moon-centre distance of 378 000 km in the NASA factsheet reference to the minimum Earth–Moon distance given there, after the latter is corrected for Earth's equatorial radius of 6 378 km, giving 350 600 km. The minimum value (for a distant new moon) is based on a similar scaling using the maximum Earth–Moon distance of 407 000 km (given in the factsheet) and by calculating the brightness of the earthshine onto such a new moon. The brightness of the earthshine is {{nowrap|[ Earth albedo ×}} {{nowrap|(Earth radius /}} Radius of Moon's orbit)2 ] relative to the direct solar illumination that occurs for a full moon. ({{nowrap |Earth albedo {{=}} 0.367}}; {{nowrap |Earth radius {{=}} (polar}} radius Ã— equatorial {{nowrap |radius)½ {{=}} 6 367 km}}.)
{{efn |name=angular size
|The range of angular size values given are based on simple scaling of the following values given in the fact sheet reference: at an Earth-equator to Moon-centre distance of 378 000 km, the angular size is 1896 arcseconds. The same fact sheet gives extreme Earth–Moon distances of 407 000 km and 357 000 km. For the maximum angular size, the minimum distance has to be corrected for Earth's equatorial radius of 6 378 km, giving 350 600 km.
{{efn|name=pressure explanation
|Lucey et al. (2006) give {{nowrap |107 particles cm−3}} by day and {{nowrap |105 particles cm−3}} by night. Along with equatorial surface temperatures of 390 K by day and 100 K by night, the ideal gas law yields the pressures given in the infobox (rounded to the nearest order of magnitude): 10−7 Pa by day and 10−10 Pa by night.
{{efn |name=near-Earth asteroids
|There are a number of near-Earth asteroids, including 3753 Cruithne, that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term (Morais et al, 2002). These are quasi-satellites â€“ they are not moons as they do not orbit Earth. For more information, see Other moons of Earth.
{{efn|name=Moon vs. Charon
|With 27% the diameter and 60% the density of Earth, the Moon has 1.23% of the mass of Earth. The moon Charon is larger relative to its primary Pluto, but Pluto is now considered to be a dwarf planet.
|This age is calculated from isotope dating of lunar zircons.
{{efn |name=orbpd
|More accurately, the Moon's mean sidereal period (fixed star to fixed star) is 27.321661 days {{nowrap |(27 d 07 h 43 min 11.5 s)}}, and its mean tropical orbital period (from equinox to equinox) is 27.321582 days {{nowrap |(27 d 07 h 43 min 04.7 s)}} (Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Ephemeris, 1961, at p.107).
{{efn |name=synpd
|More accurately, the Moon's mean synodic period (between mean solar conjunctions) is 29.530589 days {{nowrap |(29 d 12 h 44 min 02.9 s)}} (Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Ephemeris, 1961, at p.107).
{{efn |name=brightness
|The Sun's apparent magnitude is −26.7, while the full moon's apparent magnitude is −12.7.
|On average, the Moon covers an area of {{nowrap |0.21078 square degrees}} on the night sky.
{{efn |name=size changes
|See graph in Sun#Life phases. At present, the diameter of the Sun is increasing at a rate of about five percent per billion years. This is very similar to the rate at which the apparent angular diameter of the Moon is decreasing as it recedes from Earth.



JOURNAL, Wieczorek, Mark A., Jolliff, Bradley L., Khan, Amir, Pritchard, Matthew E., Weiss, Benjamin P., Williams, James G., Hood, Lon L., Righter, Kevin, Neal, Clive R., Shearer, Charles K., McCallum, I. Stewart, Tompkins, Stephanie, Hawke, B. Ray, Peterson, Chris, Gillis, Jeffrey J., Bussey, Ben, The constitution and structure of the lunar interior, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 60, 1, 221–364, 2006, 10.2138/rmg.2006.60.3, 1, 2006RvMG...60..221W, Lang, Kenneth R. (2011), The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System {{webarchive|url= |date=1 January 2016 }}, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press.WEB, Williams, Dr. David R., Moon Fact Sheet, NASA/National Space Science Data Center,weblink 2 February 2006, 31 December 2008, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 March 2010, JOURNAL, 10.1364/AO.47.004981, Celestial body irradiance determination from an underfilled satellite radiometer: application to albedo and thermal emission measurements of the Moon using CERES, 2008, Matthews, Grant, Applied Optics, 47, 4981–4993, 18806861, 27, 2008ApOpt..47.4981M, JOURNAL, A.R. Vasavada, D.A. Paige, S.E. Wood, yes, Icarus (journal), Icarus, Near-Surface Temperatures on Mercury and the Moon and the Stability of Polar Ice Deposits, 141, 2, 179–193, 1999Icar..141..179V, 10.1006/icar.1999.6175, 1999, JOURNAL, Lucey, Paul, Korotev, Randy L., Gillis, Jeffrey J., Taylor, Larry A., Lawrence, David, Campbell, Bruce A., Elphic, Rick, Feldman, Bill, Hood, Lon L., Hunten, Donald, Mendillo, Michael, Noble, Sarah, Papike, James J., Reedy, Robert C., Lawson, Stefanie, Prettyman, Tom, Gasnault, Olivier, Maurice, Sylvestre, Understanding the lunar surface and space-Moon interactions, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 60, 1, 83–219, 2006, 10.2138/rmg.2006.60.2, 2, 2006RvMG...60...83L, JOURNAL, Morais, M.H.M., Morbidelli, A., The Population of Near-Earth Asteroids in Coorbital Motion with the Earth, Icarus (journal), Icarus, 2002, 160, 1, 1–9, 2002Icar..160....1M, 10.1006/icar.2002.6937, WEB,weblink Titanium Paternity Test Says Earth is the Moon's Only Parent (University of Chicago),, 3 October 2013, 2012-04-05, WEB,weblink Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature: Planetary Nomenclature FAQ, USGS Astrogeology Research Program, 29 March 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2010, BOOK, Barnhart, Robert K., The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology, 1995, Harper Collins, 978-0-06-270084-1, 487, WEB,weblink Oxford English Dictionary: lunar, a. and n., Oxford English Dictionary: Second Edition 1989, Oxford University Press, 23 March 2010, JOURNAL, Binder, A.B., On the origin of the Moon by rotational fission, The Moon, 1974, 11, 2, 53–76, 1974Moon...11...53B, 10.1007/BF01877794, BOOK, Stroud, Rick, The Book of the Moon, 2009, Walken and Company, 978-0-8027-1734-4, 24–27, JOURNAL, Mitler, H.E., Formation of an iron-poor moon by partial capture, or: Yet another exotic theory of lunar origin, Icarus (journal), Icarus, 1975, 24, 2, 256–268, 1975Icar...24..256M, 10.1016/0019-1035(75)90102-5, WEB,weblink Origin of the Earth and Moon, Taylor, G. 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Mark, Borg, Lars E., Longhi, John, Elkins-Tanton, Linda T., Neal, Clive R., Antonenko, Irene, Canup, Robin M., Halliday, Alex N., Grove, Tim L., Hager, Bradford H., Lee, D.-C., Wiechert, Uwe, Thermal and magmatic evolution of the Moon, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 60, 1, 365–518, 2006, 10.2138/rmg.2006.60.4, 1, 2006RvMG...60..365S, BOOK, Schubert, J., F. 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  • {{anchor|CITEREFNeedham1986}}BOOK, Needham, Joseph, Science and Civilization in China, Volume III: Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and Earth,weblink 1986, Caves Books, 978-0-521-05801-8, Taipei,
  • {{citation |title=Top 10 Of Everything |first=paul |last=Terry |publisher=Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2013 |year=2013 |isbn=978-0-600-62887-3}}

Further reading

External links

{{Sister project links |Moon |voy=Moon}}
  • NASA images and videos about the Moon
  • Albums of images and high-resolution overflight videos by Seán Doran, based on LROC data, on Flickr and YouTube
  • {{youtube|nr5Pj6GQL2o|Video (04:56) – The Moon in 4K (NASA, April 2018)}}
  • {{youtube|zNpsy6lBPBw|Video (04:47) – The Moon in 3D (NASA, July 2018)}}

Cartographic resources

Observation tools

  • WEB, NASA's SKYCAL – Sky Events Calendar, NASA,weblink 27 August 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 August 2007,
  • WEB, Find moonrise, moonset and moonphase for a location, 2008,weblink 18 February 2008,
  • WEB, HMNAO's Moon Watch, 2005,weblink 24 May 2009, See when the next new crescent moon is visible for any location.


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