The moon is a weird and mysterious thing. No other moon discovered in our solar system has as much influence on the planet it orbits as the moon does on Earth. There are lots of conspiracy theories regarding the moon and man’s trips to it. However, truth is often stranger than fiction and there’s a couple of very unusual things going on with our moon.
The orbit of the moon around Earth is nearly perfectly circular. This is interesting because it’s the only non-man-made satellite that has a nearly perfect circular orbit, not just around Earth, but around all the planets in our solar system, the moon is the only one that has an orbit that is nearly perfectly circular.
Because the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, it is constantly being bombarded by radiation from our sun. Dust and rocks brought back from the moon are radioactive as a result. Impact craters on the moon are always uniformly circular and have the same depth. This is unusual because impact craters on Earth normally lean to one side a bit, because meteors come in at an angle, but they apparently don’t come in at an angle on the moon. And we aren’t sure why, though most speculate it’s because the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere to deflect a meteor and make it change its straight downward trajectory.
The side of the moon you see in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a different area than what is seen in Sidney, Australia, because the rotation of the moon on its axis requires nearly the exact same amount of time to complete as it does for the moon to make a complete circle around Earth. However, this also means that the spot on the moon you see in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will be nearly the exact same part of the moon you will see every night in Pittsburgh.
Solar radiation isn’t the only problem faced by the moon. Again, a lack of atmosphere means solar winds affect the moon. The moon doesn’t have tectonic plates, which is what causes earthquakes and volcanoes, but for an unknown reason the moon has moonquakes. Most moonquakes are harmless, but one type of moonquake is very shallow and can register up to a 5.5 on the Richter Scale. A 5.5 is big enough to move heavy furniture around a room. Even stranger though, these types of moonquakes cause the moon to ring like a bell.
Remember I said the moon takes a day to orbit Earth? This is incorrect. The moon doesn’t actually orbit Earth. Instead, the Earth and moon orbit a mystical point called the barycenter. The barycenter is located within the Earth’s crust, which is why it looks like the moon orbits Earth. The moon is exactly one-fourth the size of Earth. It is the largest moon to planet ratio in our solar system and if it weren’t for the barycenter located in Earth’s crust, the moon and Earth would be considered twin planets, not planet and satellite.
Part of the reason we see faces in the moon is matrixing, the brain making an image from shadows. And partly because shadows on the moon are much darker. Because there is no atmosphere to help refract the sun’s rays, everything in direct sunlight is visible, but anything in shadow disappears because the lack of refraction makes the area behind a shadow, pitch black. This means the center of craters that enter into shadow are extremely dark compared to the lighter surfaces that the sun is hitting.
Finally, a university in Switzerland has proved that people do not sleep as well on nights of the full moon as they do on other nights. Not only do we get less sleep those nights, but certain nocturnal disorders become bigger problems including nocturnal urination (wetting the bed), restless leg syndrome, sleep walking, and nightmares. It is suspected the gravitational pull that affects tides is to blame. People are very sensitive to a change in gravitational pull, because we feel such a constant and steady gravitational pull from our own planet. When the moon is full, it exerts more gravitational pull than when it is waxing, waning, or a new moon. It is thought that increase is responsible for changes in human sleeping patterns and may be where most legends about the full moon came from, they were trying to explain why we slept less and had more sleeping problems when the moon was full.
The moon is weird and vital to life on Earth. Without our moon, many physicists have theorized that life on Earth would not have started.