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Also more accurately, it is the barycentre, rather than the centre of Earth, that follows an elliptical path around the Sun in accord with Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

The Moon’s mean density is 3.34 grams per cubic cm, close to that of Earth’s mantle.Because of the Moon’s small size and mass, its surface gravity is only about one-sixth of the planet’s; it retains so little atmosphere that the molecules of any gases present on the surface move without collision.Centuries of observation and scientific investigation have been centred on the nature and origin of the Moon.Early studies of the Moon’s motion and position allowed the prediction of tides and led to the development of calendars.The Moon is a spherical rocky body, probably with a small metallic core, revolving around Earth in a slightly eccentric orbit at a mean distance of about 384,000 km (238,600 miles).

Its equatorial radius is 1,738 km (1,080 miles), and its shape is slightly flattened in a such a way that it bulges a little in the direction of Earth.The dark maria and the lighter highlands, whose unchanging patterns many people recognize as the “man in the moon,” constitute the two main kinds of lunar territory.The mascons are regions where particularly dense lavas rose up from the mantle and flooded into basins.Diurnal temperatures range from about 100 K (−173 °C, or −279 °F) to about 400 K (127 °C, or 261 °F).In the absence of either an atmosphere or a magnetic field,…Ancient lore and legend tell of the power of the Moon to instill spells with magic, to transform humans into beasts, and to send people’s behaviour swaying perilously between sanity and lunacy (from the Latin , “Moon”).