The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth, and the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. It is the largest natural satellite of a planet in the Solar System relative to the size of its primary, having 27% the diameter and 60% the density of Earth, resulting in 1⁄81 its mass. The Moon is the second densest satellite after Io, a satellite of Jupiter.
The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, always showing the same face with its near side marked by dark volcanic maria that fill between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. It is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun, although its surface is actually very dark, with a reflectance similar to that of coal. Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have, since ancient times, made the Moon an important cultural influence on language, calendars, art and mythology. The Moon's gravitational influence produces the ocean tides and the minute lengthening of the day. The Moon's current orbital distance, about thirty times the diameter of the Earth, causes it to appear almost the same size in the sky as the Sun, allowing it to cover the Sun nearly precisely in total solar eclipses. This matching of apparent visual size is a coincidence. The Moon's linear distance from the Earth is currently increasing at a rate of 3.82±0.07cm per year, but this rate is not constant.
- 1,164 Views
More symbols in Planets:
Planets in astrology have a meaning different from the modern astronomical understanding of what a planet is. Before the age of telescopes, the night sky was thought to consist of two very similar co… read more »
More symbols in Astronomical Symbols:
Astronomical symbols are symbols used to represent various celestial objects, theoretical constructs and observational events in astronomy. The earliest forms of these symbols appear in Greek papyri … read more »
More symbols in Astrological Symbols:
Astrological symbols are images used in various astrological systems to denote relevant objects. Symbols for the classical planets, zodiac signs, aspects, lots, and the lunar nodes appear in the me… read more »