The moon has a face like the clock on the wall
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.
The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.
But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite and the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. The average centre-to-centre distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,403 kilometres (238,857 mi), about thirty times the diameter of the Earth. The common centre of mass of the system (the barycentre) is located at about 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi)—a quarter the Earth's radius—beneath the surface of the Earth. The Moon makes a complete orbit around the Earth every 27.3 days(the orbital period), and the periodic variations in the geometry of the Earth–Moon–Sun system are responsible for the phases of the Moon, which repeat every 29.5 days (the synodic period).
The Moon's diameter is 3,474 kilometres (2,159 mi), a little more than a quarter of Earth's. Thus, the Moon's surface area is less than a tenth of the Earth (about a quarter of Earth's land area), and its volume is about 2 percent that of Earth. The pull of gravity at its surface is about 17 percent of that at the Earth's surface.
The Moon is the only celestial body on which human beings have made a manned landing. While the Soviet Union's Luna programmewas the first to reach the Moon with unmanned spacecraft, the United States' NASA Apollo program achieved the only manned missions to date, beginning with the first manned lunar mission by Apollo 8 in 1968, and six manned lunar landings between 1969 and 1972–the first being Apollo 11 in 1969. Human exploration of the Moon temporarily ceased with the conclusion of the Apollo program, although a few robotic landers and orbiters have been sent to the Moon since that time.
The proper English name for Earth's natural satellite is, simply, the Moon. Moon is a Germanic word, related to the Latin mensis and Ancient Greek (menas) both meaning month, and (Mene) (alternate name for Selene in Ancient Greek) It is ultimately a derivative of the Proto-Indo-European root me-, also represented in measure(time), with reminders of its importance in measuring time in words derived from it like Monday, month and menstrual. The related adjective is lunar, as well as an adjectival prefix seleno- and suffix -selene the Ancient Greek word for the Moon). In English, the word moon exclusively meant "the Moon" until 1665, when it was extended to refer to the recently discovered natural satellites of other planets. Subsequently, these objects were given distinct names to avoid confusion. The Moon is occasionally referred to by its Latin name Luna.
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some excerpts from Wikipedia
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