Moon Facts & Data

  • Light from the Moon takes about a second and a half to reach Earth.
  • The Moon is responsible for tides on Earth because the Moon has a gravitational pull on Earth. (The Sun is responsible for a third of the power of tides on Earth.)
  • The Earth does not spin perfectly on its axis because the Moon pulls it slightly off centre. The Earth and Moon rotate around an area near its core called the Barycentre. This is where the Earth's and Moon's gravity is balanced.
  • Earthshine is the phenomenon of the whole visible surface of the Moon being lit when in its crescent phase. This is sunlight reflected by Earth onto the Moon.
  • The Phase of the Moon is used for religious purposes. Christianity uses the phase of the Moon in order to fix Easter in the calendar. Islam sets the time of Ramadan when the Moon is in a phase at a certain time of year. Judaism use the Moon to celebrate Passover.
  • The Moon may appear larger near the horizon. This is called the Moon illusion.
  • The Moon is considered to be a poor reflector, reflecting only approximately 7% of the light it receives due to its dark and dusty surface. Yet it appears bright to us. It would take many thousands of Moons in the sky at the same time to provide us with as much light as we receive from the Sun.
  • The point at which the Earth and Moon balance each other's gravities is below the crust of the Earth.


Moon Data
Various Moon Statistics
Mass Ratio 81.301 (Earth/Moon)
Gravity at the Surface (1/6 Earth's gravity)
Mean orbital speed 3,683 km/hr
Synodic Month  (New Moon To New Moon) 29 days, 12h, 44m, 2.8s
Sidereal Month (Star To Star)- A Moon Day 27 days, 7h, 43m, 11.5s
Surface Temperature 120°C day-153°C night
Magnitude of full Moon -12.5
Estimated age of Moon 4.6 billion years
Mean distance of the Moon from Earth 384,400 km
Greatest distance of the Moon from Earth (Apogee) 406,740 km
Shortest distance of the Moon from Earth(Perigee) 356,410 km
Circumference 10,930 km (0.27 of Earth's circumference)
Diameter 3,476 km (0.27 of Earth's diameter)
Volume (0.0203 Earth's
Mean Density 3.33 more dense than water, 0.6 of Earth's
Mass 0.0123 Earth's volume
Escape Velocity 1.48 miles/sec (2.38 km/sec)
Increase in mean distance from Earth 3.8 cm/year