June 20, 1969 was a memorable day for all humans as the U.S. Apollo 11 mission achieved what many thought was impossible and landed on the Moon. What was most remarkable about this achievement was not the 239,000 mile distance between the Earth and the Moon that Apollo traveled but instead what the Apollo astronauts found once they arrived on the Moon.
Something the astronauts of Apollo 11 noticed after landing was how the Moon was covered with craters. The Moon's craters are made from meteorites hitting it. Most of the Moon's craters are surrounded by lines called rays.
On the Moon's surface are many dark patches. From Earth, one can see flat areas that look like seas on the Moon. The Moon's surface is shaped like mountains. The highest mountains are called the Apennines, which are as tall as Mount Everest.
The Earth's gravity is what makes the moon spin. It takes the same time for the moon to orbit as it does to spin, meaning that the moon is always facing Earth. While Earth is protected by its atmosphere, the moon is not, so the Sun can raise the moon's temperature higher than 123 degrees Celsius. This is hotter then boiling water!
The Moon orbits the Earth every 28 days, its shape changing each night as different parts are lit up by the Sun. These are called the phases of the Moon.
Since 1969, we have learned a lot about the Moon. Astronomers and other scientist continue to learn about this fascinating place.
[Source: Book of Astronomy and Space]