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Does Earth Have Two Moons?

does-earth-have-two-moons

ANSWER:

The Earth does NOT have two moons.

More Info: Unlike several other planets in our solar system, the Earth has one moon. Large planets like Saturn have multiple moons. Even planets with similar dimensions to our world, such as Mars, have two moons. However, Earth has only a single natural satellite, which humans refer to as the Moon.

Characteristics

Earth’s moon has several interesting characteristics. On average, the Moon is approximately 384,400 km away from our world. A light pulse traveling from the Earth will reach the Moon’s surface in approximately 1.26 seconds. The Moon, with a mean radius of 1,737.10 km, is the fifth largest natural satellite in our solar system. The Moon has a synchronous rotation. The lunar body’s same side constantly faces our world. Therefore, observers perceive the same surface characteristics from anywhere on Earth. With technology, scientists have mapped the Moon’s far side.

Formation

Astronomers and astrophysicists speculate our moon was formed when a large astronomical body collided with Earth around the time of our world’s formation. Scientists believe this body had the rough size of the planet Mars. The subsequent debris from this impact coalesced into this heavenly body.

Function

In addition to being a prominent feature in our night sky, the Moon serves several useful functions for Earth. By moderating the wobble our planet makes upon its axis, the Moon’s presence leads to a relatively stable climate. The Moon’s presence also has an effect on the oceans, which is often characterized as a tidal bulge. While orbiting the Earth, the Moon creates a rhythmic vibration, which is responsible for oceanic tides. As well, biologists speculate the Moon’s gravitational influence may have been integral to the creation of Earth’s life forms.

 

Resources

“Earth’s Moon.” Case Western Reserve University. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. <http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/stu/earth_moon.html >

Solar System Exploration: Planets: Earth’s Moon: Overview.” NASA Solar System Exploration: Planets: Earth’s Moon: Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. <http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Moon>.

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