About The Double-Daring Book for Girls
Facts about the Moon
- The moon is the second-brightest object in our sky (the sun, of course, is the brightest).
- The moon is egg-shaped. It looks round to us because the large end points in our direction.
- The moon’s gravitational pull affects the oceans here on Earth. It is the reason that we have two low tides and two high tides each day.
- Despite the gravitational forces between the earth and the moon, the moon moves away from the earth at a rate of 1.5 inches a year.
- The moon is about 238,900 miles away from the earth. By space shuttle, it takes about three days to get there.
- The moon is both very hot and very cold. For two weeks at a time, one side is baked in the sun, becoming as hot as 243° F. Then for two weeks, that side faces the cold darkness of space and is chilled to about –272° F.
- The Sea of Tranquility on the moon is not actually a sea, but one of the dark areas of the moon (called the maria) that from far away looks like an ocean. There is no water on the moon.
- The oldest map of the moon was discovered in a prehistoric cave in Knowth, County Meath, Ireland. It’s estimated this lunar map is nearly five thousand years old.
- The moon is the only extraterrestrial object to have been visited by humans. American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first. They landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.
- There are twenty-eight craters on the moon named after women scientists, all of whom made significant contributions to science and astronomy.
Phases of the Moon
Because the moon is revolving around the earth, it doesn’t always look the same to us. Half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun, but it’s not always the portion that we can see. So, to us, the moon appears to grow from a sliver to a full moon and back again as the sun’s light moves across it during the course of the month, even though the moon itself stays a constant size. We call the changes in the moon’s appearance the phases of the moon. There are eight phases, and it takes the moon about 29.5 days to cycle through them.
1. New Moon
This is the start of the lunar cycle. At this point in the cycle, the moon is between the earth and the sun, and so to us it appears as though the moon is not there.
2. Waxing Crescent
A sliver of the moon’s right side is illuminated by the sun. This crescent moon is halfway between a new moon and a half moon (or first quarter moon).
3. First Quarter
The moon and the earth are side by side in their orbits, and the moon appears to us as being half full. Because of this, it’s sometimes called a half moon. But the name first quarter is apt because at this point in the lunar cycle, the moon has completed a quarter of its orbit around earth, and because even though it looks like a half moon to us, what we’re seeing is actually just a quarter of the moon’s surface.
4. Waxing Gibbous
The moon appears to be bulging, as more than one half of the right side is illuminated by the sun. This waxing gibbous moon is between a first quarter moon (half moon) and a full moon.
5. Full Moon
The moon is positioned behind earth and the sun, and we are able to see the entire half of the moon surface lit up. (To us, of course, it looks like the whole moon is lit up; but the other side of the moon that we can’t see is totally in the dark.)
6. Waning Gibbous
Another bulging moon, no longer fully illuminated. In this phase, we can see almost the entire left side. This waning gibbous moon is between a full moon and a last quarter moon.
7. Last Quarter
The moon and sun are side by side in their orbits, and we can see the left half of the moon illuminated. The moon in this position has made three quarters of its orbit and has one quarter left to go before the new moon.
8. Waning Crescent
The moon appears as a small crescent, illuminated by the sun on the left side. This crescent moon is between a half moon (or last quarter moon) and a new moon. After this phase, the cycle begins again with the new moon.
Blue Moons and Other Moons
Native Americans gave each full moon of the year its own name as a way to track the seasons. These names, usually descriptively associated with the weather or farming, were used by tribes in the northern and eastern United States and by farmers from colonial times to the present. Here are the traditional full-moon names according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
January: Wolf Moon
This moon gets its name from its appearance during a time of year when wolves were said to howl in hunger outside the villages. Also called the “Old Moon.”
February: Snow Moon
So called because of the heavy snows that traditionally occur in February. Also called the “Hunger Moon,” because of the heavy snows that made it difficult to hunt for food.
March: Worm Moon
So called because in early spring the ground softens enough for earthworms to emerge. Also called the “Sap Moon,” because maple sap starts to flow around this time.
April: Pink Moon
The Pink Moon gets its name from pink wild ground phlox that grows in April. It is also called the “Sprouting Grass Moon,” the “Egg Moon,” and the “Fish Moon.”
May: Flower Moon
This moon gets its name from the many flowers that blossom during the month of May. Also called the “Corn Planting Moon” and the “Milk Moon.”
June: Strawberry Moon
So called because of the fact that strawberries are ripe for harvesting during this month. Also called the “Rose Moon” and the “Hot Moon.”
July: Buck Moon
So called because this month is when bucks (male deer) start to grow new antlers. Also known as the “Thunder Moon” because of the frequency of thunderstorms in this month.
August: Sturgeon Moon
This moon’s name grew from the availability of sturgeon in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain during this time of year. It is also called the “Green Corn Moon” and the “Grain Moon.” September: Harvest Moon So called because of its brightness and proximity to the autumnal equinox. The moon is so bright, people can work late into the evening to finish all the harvesting chores.
October: Hunter’s Moon
This moon, also called the “Travel Moon” and the “Dying Grass Moon,” gets its name from the hunting that took place in preparation for the long winter.
November: Beaver Moon
So called because this month was possibly the last month to set beaver traps (to catch beavers and make winter furs) before the waters froze. Also called the “Frost Moon.”
December: Cold Moon
Also called the “Long Nights Moon,” this moon is named for the long, cold nights of winter.