Three facts you did not know about the Moon


It may seem that we know a lot more about the Moon than we do about any other celestial body. However, our natural satellite still hides many mysteries.

There was time on Earth, when there was no Moon in the sky

In the V century BC, Greek philosopher and astronomer Anaxagoras of Clazomenae wrote that according to his sources, the Moon appeared after the Earth was born.  In the III century BC, Apollonius of Rhodes, in his "Argonautica," referred to the famous Aristotle, who, in turn, a century earlier, had described inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Arcadia, a region on the Peloponnesian Peninsula. Those people ate acorns and lived at the time, when there was no Moon in the sky.  Writer and historian Plutarch told of the ruler of Arcadia, whose name was Proselenos, which means "pre-lunar."

Modern scholars do not deny the possibility that in the early days of human existence, the Moon was absent in the sky above our planet. One of the theories says that the Moon was originally a planet of the solar system, which, as a result of a space cataclysm, descended from orbit and became a satellite of the Earth. Over time, the Moon formed the system of ebbs and flows, and cycles of our life became dependent on the Moon.

The moon is not as it seems

Perhaps, you have noticed that on the horizon, the lunar disk appears larger. In ancient times, Aristotle tried to solve this mystery. It was thought that such an  optical effect was associated with the Earth's atmosphere. As a matter of fact, the  atmospheric refraction (the bending of light rays in the atmosphere) makes the Moon optically smaller than its actual size.

The effect is based on the optical illusion (Ponzo illusion) that appears only because of peculiarities of our brain, some researchers believe. When the moon is hanging on the horizon, our brain compares it with other objects on the foreground, such as houses or trees, and mistakenly identifies it as a more distant object. The farther an object, the bigger it should be. If the Moon is hanging above the horizon, then we have nothing to compare it with, and the Moon appears smaller.

In addition, the Moon is not round, as we usually believe, but of an egg-shaped form. Yet, as long as only one side of the Moon faces the Earth, we can not see its true form.

Americans were going to conduct a nuclear explosion on the Moon

This shocking information was provided by Newsweek Magazine on the basis of declassified archival materials of the White House. According to the documents, in the 1950s of the last century, when the Cold War was in full swing, the United States government was harboring plans to build military bases and nuclear reactors on the Earth's satellite. Moreover, America was going to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon.

The explosion was supposed to trigger a "moonquake" - vibrations of the lunar surface. For the lunar project, six billion dollars were assigned. It was planned to deliver a nuclear warhead to the Moon. A lunar base was supposed to be constructed by 1966. All the necessary components for the base could be delivered to the Moon on board Saturn rockets.

The publication also wrote that during the 1960s, the Americans managed to come into possession of Soviet interplanetary station "Luna". They bribed a truck driver, who was transporting the station from one city to another, and took photographs of the equipment. The spacecraft was then delivered safely to its destination, and the Russians had not known anything up until today, the magazine wrote.

Irina Shlionskaya


Read the original in Russian


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov