The Moon is a satellite of the Earth.

The Moon rotates on its axis and orbits the Earth
in the same direction as the Earth spins.

Diameter: 2,160 miles (3,476 km)
Distance from Earth: 238,860 miles (384,400 km)
Distance from Sun: 92,761,140 miles (149,615,600 km)
Two or three times a year, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observes the moon traveling across the sun, blocking its view. The end result is an awe-inspiring image of the sun and the moon. Credit: NASA/SDO/LRO/GSFC

The Moon is 400 times closer than the Sun and also 400 times smaller than the Sun. This is why on the same angle, the Moon can actually block out the Sun. As the Moon moves around the Earth, we see only parts of the lighted half of the Moon. The Moon appears to change its shape. These changes are called phases.

  • The Moon orbits the Earth every 27.5 days, but because the Earth is moving, it takes 29.5 days for the Moon to catch up.
  • Craters: Bowl shaped holes on the Moon’s surface.
  • Two craters found on the Moon have been named Copernicus and Tycho after two famous scientists.
  • Maria: Smooth, flat areas found on the Moon’s surface. Maria means “Sea” in Latin. Two maria found on the Moon are the Sea of Tranquility and the Sea of Serenity.
  • There is no water on the Moon.
  • Rocks brought back from the Moon have been found to be 4.42 billion (4,420,000,000) years old.

What is a Comet?