A typical lunar landscape, showing mountains, craters, debris streaks and ancient lava channelsThe Moon is our nearest neighbour in space. It is the brightest object in the night sky, although the light it “shines” is actually reflected from the Sun. The Moon is a ball of rock that travels around the Earth, taking about 27 days to complete the circle. The same side of the Earth's Moon always faces the Earth.
How was the Moon formed?
The sequence of events in the formation of the MoonSoon after the Earth had formed, billions of years ago, another smaller planet (1) collided with it and exploded. Vast amounts of debris were "splashed" into space (2). The fragments collected in orbit round the Earth, which was by now a ball of melted rock (3). The Earth’s surface later cooled and turned back to solid rock (4). The orbiting fragments squashed together to form the Moon (5, 6).
The Moon is the fifth largest moon in the Solar System. It is the largest moon compared in size to its parent planet (Earth) in the Solar System.
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