Moon Phases

By Gabrielle Galloway

The Moon Phases

The Moon

The Moon circles Earth under the pull of the planet's gravity. The satellite passes across the sky once every 24 hours, exerting its own considerable gravitational pull on all of Earth's oceans and seas.

The Moon remained an object of legend until 1609. In that year, Galileo first focused his telescope on the details of its surface. He recognized mountains. He saw large, flat, dark areas, which he called "maria" (the Latin word for "seas"). Astronomers now know that there is no water on the Moon, although the term "maria" is still used.

Since then astronomers have built more-powerful telescopes that allowed them to map lunar details. Beginning in the 1960s, artificial satellites and crewed spacecraft were launched to pass near the Moon and eventually to land on it. Pictures from these missions revealed the surface in extraordinary detail. Rocks as small as 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) in diameter were visible. Moon probes have provided detailed photographs of the far side of the Moon . This dark side is always hidden from an Earthbound observer's view.

Why are moon phases important to Space exploration?

Moon phases are important to space exploration because our moon is very important to learn about. It is important because the moon orbits the earth and the earth is our home and our home needs to be lit up every time of the day. By it being lit up every time of the day you will have less chances of sleepiness at work in the morning and at night time when you are driving home from work. Also so learning about the moon phases so we an calculate the time of the year or if there will be a lunar or solar eclipse.

What was the purpose of moon phases?

These different appearances of the moon result from its changing position with respect to the Earth and the Sun. As the moon revolves around the Earth the amount of sunlight that the moon reflects off the side of the moon that faces the Earth changes.