MassMutual Jr.Space Camp

The Moon takes approximately 27 days to rotate once on its axis, and also takes the same number of days to complete one orbit around the Earth. This phenomenon is called synchronous rotation which means the Moon's sidereal rotation and sidereal orbit periods are the same. As a result, only one side of the Moon is visible from the Earth at any time.
The surface of the moon is very mountainous and is classified into Maria and Craters. The craters are not volcanic but were formed by the impact of massive objects, such as asteroids from outer space, on the surface of the Moon. Craters cover around 70% of the surface of the near side of the Moon, and 97.5% of the far side.

Maria (‘mare’ in the singular), the ‘seas’, are the dark areas on the surface of the Moon and are actually solidified lava flows formed after the formation of the lunar crust.

(image credit: NASA)

The Synodic Period is the period between two successive new moons. There are 29.5 days in the Moon's Synodic Period. Since the Moon produces no light, the Synodic Period is caused by the reflection of sunlight by the Moon, which varies with its sidereal rotation.

Phases of the Synodic Period
New Moon(1st of each month in Lunar Calendar))→ Waxing Crescent→ First Quarter→ Waxing Gibbous→ Full Moon→ Waning Gibbous→ Third Quarter→ Waning Crescent→ New Moon


 
 
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