Moon facts for kids are one part of awesome astronomy lessons for kids. Learning about the different planets, stars, and other objects that make up this solar system is fascinating and educational for kids of all ages.
Fun Facts About Earth's Moon
Unlike many other planets, Earth only has one moon, and it is simply called "the moon." While there are still many questions about the moon, space exploration has given people a lot of information about what it is and how it got here.
Interesting Facts About the Moon's Size and Makeup
Thanks to tools like telescopes and space travel, people now know a lot about what the moon looks like and how it works.
- Because the moon has no weather, you can see every crater on its surface.
- It's been about 3 billion years since the moon had any volcanic flows.
- Moonlight seen from Earth is actually sunlight bouncing off the moon's surface.
- You would have to line up about 30 planet Earths to get to the moon.
- The sun is 400 times bigger than the moon.
- The sun and the moon seem to be the same size when you look in the sky because the moon is much closer to Earth than the sun.
- Every year the moon's orbit is growing about 1.5 inches.
- In about 600 million years, you won't see total solar eclipses anymore because the moon will be too far away from the Earth.
- Temperatures on the moon's surface have been recorded as low as nearly -400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Similar to the Earth, the moon has a crust, mantle, and core.
- No one knows for sure how the moon was formed, but there are three main theories about how it happened.
Phases of the Moon Fun Facts
When you look at the sky each night, the moon might look slightly different from the days before. The orbit of the moon and its position in relation to the sun and Earth create the phases of the moon that you can see.
- When the moon appears to be getting smaller day by day, it's called "waning."
- When the moon appears to be getting bigger day by day, it's called "waxing."
- When the moon blocks the sunlight, it's called a solar eclipse.
- Partial solar eclipses happen at least two times each year somewhere on Earth.
- To see a solar eclipse, you have to be on the sunny side of Earth when it happens.
- A lunar eclipse is caused by the Earth blocking sunlight.
- Any single place on Earth only sees a solar eclipse about every 375 years.
- If you were standing on the sun, you'd always see a full moon.
Cool Facts About Missions to the Moon
Moon exploration was a major fascination in the 1950s and 1960s. For a few decades, the interest in moon exploration decreased, but the drive to learn more about the moon is coming back.
- The first spacecraft to land on the moon's surface was the Soviet Luna 2 in 1959.
- NASA's Ranger 7 spacecraft was able to take over 4,000 pictures of the moon in 15 minutes in 1964.
- The main purpose of the Apollo missions from NASA was to safely send people to the moon.
- In 1971 Commander Alan Shepard travelled 9,000 feet on the moon's surface.
- As of 2019 only 12 people, all American men, have been on the moon's surface.
- All Apollo missions combined collected nearly 850 pounds of moon rocks.
- In 2013 China became only the third country after the U.S. and Russia to touch down on the near side of the moon.
- The first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon was the Chinese Chang`e-4 in January 2019.
- There are still people today who believe the U.S. government faked their first manned moon landing because the American flag in the picture is waving.
- Six American flags have been planted on the moon by astronauts.
- There was an international law written in 1967 stating that no nation could own any natural object in outer space.
Old Myths and Beliefs About the Moon
Before there were astronauts, spacecrafts, or even telescopes, ancient people formed theories about the bright moon they could see with only their eyes. Different cultures developed different beliefs about what the moon was and how it impacted their daily lives.
- The Greek Philosopher Anaxagoras was actually exiled for suggesting the moon was a rocky object and not a god or goddess.
- In the 1820s Franz von Paula Gruithuisen claimed he saw "lunarians" living in a sophisticated society on the moon through his telescope.
- Throughout mythologies from many cultures, the moon is often seen as a female.
- Luna is the Roman name for the moon.
- Ancient Greek names for the moon include Selene, Hectate, and Cynthia.
- In 1835 the New York Sun published what is now called The Great Moon Hoax, a fictional story about the discovery of life on the moon that readers didn't realize was fiction.
- The Algonquin Native American tribes associated the full moon each month with something related to that season, so they have names like Wolf Moon, Snow Moon, Worm Moon, and Beaver Moon.
Interesting Facts About Other Planet's Moons
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, is the leading resource for finding all about the moons in outer space. There are hundreds of known moons and potentially hundreds of undiscovered moons in this solar system.
- Mercury and Venus are the only planets without any moons.
- Since Mercury is so close to the Sun, it wouldn't be able to keep a moon in orbit.
- Phobos and Diemos are the two moons of Mars.
- Phobos is closer to Mars than any other moon is to its planet.
- Asaph Hall discovered both of Mars' moons in 1877.
- Jupiter has at least 79 moons.
- The largest moon in the solar system is Ganymede, and it belongs to Jupiter.
- You can see many of Jupiter's moons using binoculars because they are so big.
- Saturn officially has the most moons of any planet with 82 discovered so far.
- Saturn's moon Titan is unique because it has its own atmosphere.
- Seventeen of Saturn's moons orbit the planet backwards.
- Not all moons in the solar system have names. Saturn has nearly 30 moons waiting to be named.
- Neptune's moon Tritan is the same size as Pluto.
- The first two moons discovered with Neptune were discovered nearly 100 years apart.
- All of Neptune's moons are named after Greek Mythology figures.
- Some of Uranus' 27 moons are 50% ice.
To the Moon and Back
If you are fascinated by the moon, you can do your own space exploration thanks to the Internet, books about space, and TV. Spend some time outside at night to observe the moon with your own eyes or a telescope, fill in outer space coloring pages, and try out some fun outer space games to satisfy your desire to explore the moon.