Why does The Moon Shine?

In ancient times, the moon was worshiped as a goddess who ruled the night. Since  those ancient days, man has learned a great deal about the moon-and now, at last, it is possible for human beings to land there who will "explore" it and solve many of its mysteries.

But there is no mystery at all as to why the moon shines. It is a satellite of the earth. That is, it is a small body that revolves around it, just as the earth revolves around the sun. The only reason we can see the moon from earth, or that it "shines", is because light from the sun strikes its surface and is reflected to us.

Strangely enough, we can only see one side of the moon from the earth. This is because the moon rotates on its axis in the same length of time it takes for it to make its journey around the earth. This is because the moon rotates on its axis the same length of time it takes for it to make its journey around the earth.

Of course, man has seen the other side from television pictures sent back by the various Apollo crews as they orbited the moon. Since the moon has no atmosphere, or air, the light from the sun which hits it has rather interesting effect.

For about 14 days, the surface of the moon is heated by the direct rays of the sun to a temperature above that of boiling water. The other half of the lunar month, it is exposed to the cold of a long, dark night, because there is no air to stop the heat from the sun radiating away again.

The Earth does reflect light back on to the Moon, this is called "Earthshine", but it does little to help raise the temperature of the lunar night which can fall to about 200 degrees Centigrade!
   

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