Frequent misconceptions about space.


We continue a series of posts in which we talk about the most common misconceptions associated with space. Today we will tell you about several myths and misconceptions associated with the satellite of our planet — the Moon.

We often hear that the change in the phases of the moon is due to the fact that the shadow from the Earth moves along the surface of the moon and at different times obscures different amounts of sunlight.

In fact, this is not the case. The moon is in the shadow of the Earth quite rarely — once every few months. When this happens, they speak of a partial or total lunar eclipse. in partial shade — a little more often, at this time the Moon acquires a reddish tint, popularly called the «Blood Moon». But we observe the change in the phases of the moon continuously every day.

The change in the phases of the moon is caused exclusively by the relative position of the sun, moon and earth. Almost always, the Sun illuminates 50% of the Moon’s surface. But at the same time, the Moon is far from always completely turned towards the Earth with its illuminated side. Actually, the border between the illuminated and unlit sides forms the well-known crescent moon to us.

Some people think that since only one side of the Moon is visible from the Earth (in fact, about 59% of the Moon’s surface due to lunar librations), then the Moon does not rotate on its axis.

In fact, the moon rotates both around the earth and around its axis. However, the period of its revolution around its axis coincides with the period of its revolution of the Earth, i.e. during the time during which the Moon rotates around the Earth by 90% of degrees (i.e. passes about a quarter of its orbital path), it also rotates around its axis by the same 90%, which is why it turns to the Earth all the same side.

The actual lunar librations, thanks to which we can see part of the far side of the Moon, are due to the fact that the Moon’s orbit is not an ideal circle, and also due to the fact that the axis of its rotation around its axis is inclined with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Earth. Because of this, in the rotation of the Moon around the Earth and its axis, there are small out-of-syncs, due to which we see a small part of the far side of the Moon.

Everyone in childhood read «Dunno on the Moon». In the story of Nosov, a hollow moon is described, which is inhabited inside. But this is fantastic. Perhaps it will seem strange to someone, but I happened to face the fact that there are quite a large number of people who seriously believe that the moon is really hollow inside and, as a result, is an artificial object, a reptilian spaceship from Nibiru or something in this kind.

Seriously speaking, there is no doubt that the moon is not hollow. The last any serious scientist who seriously considered the possibility of a hollow moon was, if I’m not mistaken, Edmund Halley, after whom Halley’s comet was named. True, he lived in the 17th century, so he is forgivable.

The fact that the Moon is not hollow is unambiguously evidenced by the measurement of its moment of inertia. The moment of inertia of the Moon corresponds to the moment of inertia of a dense body. If the moon were hollow, with thin walls. but of the same mass, then its moment of inertia would be different.

Another confirmation that there are no significant cavities under the surface of the Moon is evidenced by seismological measurements carried out by seismometers, which were brought to the Moon by American astronauts. This brings us to the last misconception that I would like to touch on in this article:

In fact, there were. Not a single qualified specialist in the field of space has any doubts about this. Only people who are far from the space industry doubt it.

The vast majority of doubts about lunar flights arise from ignorance, poor knowledge of physics and the history of astronautics. For about 70% of those who doubt it, it is even news that according to the official version of NASA, there were six landings on the moon, not one.

However, we have already devoted several articles to this topic, which can be easily found on our channel, so we will not repeat ourselves here.

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