Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Moon: Facts

By the light of the silvery moon
I want to spoon
To my honey, I'll croon love's tune
Honey moon, keep a-shinin' in June
Your silvery beams will bring love's dreams
We'll be cuddlin' soon
By the silvery moon

 The moon has been the source of love, magic and mystery. It will make us fall in love, be scared and feel eerie. For a moment in time we might be able to drive to it, we watch it wane and wax. We have named the moon:

January: Winter Moon July: Summer Moon
February: Trapper's Moon August: Dog Day's Moon
March: Fish Moon September: Harvest Moon
April: Planter's Moon October: Hunter's Moon
May: Milk Moon November: Beaver Moon
June: Rose Moon December: Christmas Moon

The different phases and the moon. It is amazing to think that this beautiful moon affects our planet. 
The Moon exerts its influence on the Earth in subtle yet profound ways which affect our environment.

The gravitational pull of the Moon (and the Sun) raise the ocean tides on Earth. The Moon pulls up a bulge of water on the side of the Earth facing it. High tides occur as the Earth rotates beneath this great bulge of water. The far side of the Earth also has a tidal bulge. The Moon pulls on the Earth's far side with less force than it does on the centre of the Earth and less still than the near side of the Earth, due to gravitation weakening with distance. The Earth's far side gets 'left behind'. This results in two high tides in one day, (that is a high tide every 12 hours and 25 minutes). Each high tide is followed by a low tide about six hours later. The highest tides can reach 16 metres.

When the Sun, Earth and Moon line up, (when we have a new and full moon), the tides are especially high, as the Sun's gravity assists the Moon pull. These are called Spring tides and happen twice a month.

We have especially weak tides, called Neap tides, when the Sun, Earth and Moon form a right angle.

This tidal action is also causing friction between the Earth and the bulges. This causes the Earth rotation to slow down by a fraction of a second each century. This loss of speed in turn causes the Moon to recede from the Earth at a rate of nearly four centimetres per year.

So in 100 million years an Earth day will be half an hour longer and the Moon will be about 3,000km further away.

Until we meet again

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