Advertisement

Our Moon: Inhabited, Small and Icy

  • Geoffrey Kirby
Chapter
Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)

Abstract

Our Moon is unique in that no other planet has a moon as large as ours, relatively speaking. The mass of the Moon is 1.23% of the mass of Earth. The next relatively largest moons are Titan, only 0.024% of Saturn’s mass, and Triton, at 0.022% of the mass of Neptune. Among these contestants, our Moon stands out as relatively enormous compared with Earth, and yet its physical size is quite normal compared to the actual size of other large moons in our Solar System. When ranked by mass, our Moon is about half that of the Solar System’s largest moon – which is Jupiter’s Ganymede – and is the fifth most massive of all the moons. So, our Moon is not in itself unusual, but rather its uniqueness comes from the relatively small planet that it partners.

Notes and Further Reading

  1. 1.
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
  4. 4.
    The name Theia comes from the name of the mythical Greek Titan who was the mother of Selene, the goddess of the Moon.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
    Although the Moon keeps the same face turned towards the earth, the Moon’s orbit is elliptical and this means that the Moon appears to ‘rock’ so that we can see a total of 59% of its surface. There is a very good illustration of the process, called ‘Libration,’ at http://bit.ly/2t5wE7g
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
    Whitehouse D (2001) The Moon: A Biography, Headline Book Publishing UK, Chapter 9.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
    Baldwin RB (1949) The Face of the Moon, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Foster VS (2015) Modern Mysteries of the Moon: What We Still Don't Know About Our Lunar Companion, Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Whitehouse D (2001) The Moon: A Biography Headline Book Publishing UK, Chapter 11.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tucker SD (2017) Space Oddities: Our Strange Attempts to Explain the Universe, Amberley Publishing, p. 83.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Selene was the Greek Goddess of the Moon. Studies of the structure of the Moon cannot be called ‘Geology’ because ‘Geo’ refers to the Earth and so the term ‘Selenography’ is sometimes use.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
    This telescope has been preserved in London’s Science Museum.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
  26. 26.
    Moore P (1972) Can You Speak Venusian?, David and Charles publishers UK, Chapter 7.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Einstein was not a Jew in the conventional sense but more a follower of the philosophy of Spinoza. He did not believe in a personal God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings; a view which he described as naïve. He described himself as an agnostic.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Tucker SD (2017) Space Oddities: Our Strange Attempts to Explain the Universe, Amberley Publishing, p. 21.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Tucker SD (2017) Space Oddities: Our Strange Attempts to Explain The Universe, Amberley Publishing, p. 20.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    The Great Red Spot is a huge cyclonic storm in the clouds of Jupiter which has been observed for over four centuries.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
  32. 32.
  33. 33.
    Whitehouse D (2001) The Moon: A Biography, Headline Book Publishing UK, Chapter 12.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
  35. 35.
    Kirby G (2016) An Amateur Astronomer’s Life, Amazon Createspace Publishing, p. 268.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Tucker SD (2017) Space Oddities: Our Strange Attempts to Explain The Universe, Amberley Publishing, p. 48.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
  38. 38.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Kirby
    • 1
  1. 1.WeymouthUK

Personalised recommendations