The moon is located an average of 238,855 miles from the Earth, according to Space.com. Because its orbit is irregular, its closest approach to the Earth is 225,700 miles while at its farthest, the moon is 252,000 miles from the Earth.
Even though the moon is so far from the Earth, it is close enough to be the largest object in the night sky. In addition, its gravitational pull affects the Earth's tides. Some scientists believe that the moon's gravitational pull is responsible for the Earth's slight tilt, which allows the Earth to maintain a fairly stable climate. The moon takes 27.3 days to orbit the Earth and to rotate on its own axis, meaning that it always presents the same side to the Earth.Learn More
The moon appears bright because the side visible on Earth reflects the light from the sun. As the moon and the Earth move around their respective orbits, different portions of the moon are visible to people on Earth, depending on the angle at which the light hits the moon and reflects back to Earth. The moon reflects back about 12 percent of the light from the sun that hits it.Full Answer >
The gravitational pull of the moon controls the rise and fall of tides on Earth and slows the planet's rotation, while the phases of the moon serve as calendar markers for human beings. High tides occur on the portion of the Earth closest to the moon and the portion farthest away. Low tides occur between those two points.Full Answer >
The most popular theory regarding lunar formation is that a Mars-sized planetoid slammed into the Earth and flung molten debris into orbit around 40 million years after the solar system was created, according to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This is called the giant impact theory.Full Answer >
The Moon appears luminous because it reflects the light from the Sun, making the side of the Moon that faces the Sun visible from Earth. The amount of this light changes as the bodies revolve in their orbits.Full Answer >