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Our Moon

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 planetary parent, 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 marina 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  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, 238,857 miles, and 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, maybe or is it God’s design? The Moon's linear distance from the Earth is currently increasing at a rate of 1.5 inches per year; however this rate is not constant.

The Moon is thought to have formed nearly 4.5 billion years ago, not long after the Earth. Although there have been several hypotheses for its origin in the past, the current 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. The Moon is the only celestial body other than Earth on which humans have set foot. The Soviet Union's Luna program was the first to reach the Moon with unmanned spacecraft in 1959; the United States' NASA Apollo program achieved the only manned missions to date.

This image was taken in January 2005

This image consists of 30 X .024 seconds HA*

Equipment:      Software: Site:
Meade 14"
Mountain Instruments MI250
Maxim DL 4.64
The Sky 6
Photo Shop CS2

Oak Hills Observatory
Hesperia, Ca.