We look up to him almost every night and yet know so little about him: FFH weather expert Dr. Martin Gudd is now changing that and answering questions about the moon that you don’t dare ask.
how big is the moon
The moon is 3,476 kilometers in diameter. This corresponds to a quarter of the Earth’s diameter – that’s 12,742 kilometers. This makes it the relatively “largest” moon in the solar system. All other moons are mostly much smaller compared to their planets.
How far is the moon from the earth?
The average distance from Earth is 384,000 kilometers. When it is farthest from Earth, the distance is 407,000 kilometers. This is called “apogee”. If it is closest to us, in the so-called “perigee”, it is almost 357,000 kilometers. At perigee, the lunar disk is also a few percentage points larger. If there is still a full moon, this is referred to by some as a “supermoon”.
How many times does the moon orbit the earth?
The moon revolves around the earth once in approximately 27 days. At exactly the same time, it also rotates around its own axis. Therefore, this always shows the same side of the earth – this is called “bound rotation”.
What is the man on the moon?
The “man in the moon” – the famous “moon face” formed by lunar craters – can only be seen clearly from the northern hemisphere. Seen from the Earth’s southern hemisphere, the moon is “upside down”.
How does the moon rise and set?
When the moon is full, the moon is exactly opposite the sun – in “opposition”. Then it rises when the sun sets and sets when the sun rises. Then, by the way, it is also contrary to the course of the sun: In summer, when the sun is high in the sky, the moon is low in the south, just above the horizon. In winter, when the sun is low, the moon is highest.
In autumn and spring, the moon rises and sets “steeply”, so to speak. At this time, therefore, the sun illuminates the moon “from below” instead of from the side. Therefore, it appears from Earth at this time as if the crescent moon is lying. A particularly beautiful sight.
How does the moon affect the tides?
The moon causes the tides. On average, it lifts the solid land and oceans by about half a meter. But we only feel that on the water. This so-called “tidal range” increases significantly in some places. In the North Sea, it is between one and around four metres. Since the Sun’s gravity also plays a role, the exact height of the intertidal zone depends on the Earth’s position in relation to the Moon and the Sun – and on the shape and depth of the ocean.
There is high tide twice a day and low tide twice a day. Since the water wave caused by the moon always runs around the earth, the tidal area is particularly large, where large amounts of water can be pushed into a bay. In Germany, this is the case at the mouth of the Elbe and Weser. The tidal range there is about four meters. It is the largest in Europe in Normandy with a height of up to 13 meters. The Bay of Fundy on Canada’s Atlantic coast holds the world record. There is a tidal range of up to 16 metres.
Why does the moon sometimes look reddish?
Near the horizon, the moon appears “redder” than in the sky. This is due to the atmosphere and its components. If we look flat on the horizon at the moon, the path length of the light rays through the earth’s atmosphere – from the moon to our eye – is much longer than if we looked straight up at the moon. Because of this, the light rays from the low-lying moon are greatly affected, and only the longer-wavelength, redder parts of the light remain. The same happens with the rising and setting sun.
Are full moon nights colder?
It is popularly said that the nights are cold when there is a full moon. But that’s nonsense, because you’re mixing cause and effect here: It is not the full moon that causes the cold, but the clear sky. Then it can not only cool down more at night, you only see the moon. And actually better than if clouds were there.
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