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The Moon is the only natural satellite of Earth orbit 384400 km from Earth Called Luna by the Romans Selene and Artemis by the Greeks and many other names in other mythologies The Moon of course has been known since prehistoric times It is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun As the Moon orbits around the Earth once per month the angle between the Earth the Moon and the Sun changes we see this as the cycle of the Moons phases The time between successive new moons is 295 days 709 hours slightly different from the Moons orbital period measured against the stars since the Earth moves a significant distance in its orbit around the Sun in that time Due to its size and composition the Moon is sometimes classified as a terrestrial planet along with Mercury Venus Earth and Mars The Moon was first visited by the Soviet spacecraft Luna 2 in 1959 It is the only extraterrestrial body to have been visited by humans The first landing was on July 20 1969 do you remember where you were the last was in December 1972 The Moon is also the only body from which samples have been returned to Earth In the summer of 1994 the Moon was very extensively mapped by the little spacecraft Clementine and again in 1999 by Lunar Prospector The gravitational forces between the Earth and the Moon cause some interesting effects The most obvious is the tides The Moons gravitational attraction is stronger on the side of the Earth nearest to the Moon and weaker on the opposite side Since the Earth and particularly the oceans is not perfectly rigid it is stretched out along the line toward the Moon From our perspective on the Earths surface we see two small bulges one in the direction of the Moon and one
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