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The Moon is a fascinating world in its own right
We take the Moon for granted, don't we? It's just a bright light that shines in the sky sometimes, changing shape from night to night. In fact, the Moon is a fascinating world in its own right, and this week offers us a great chance to look at it properly.
If you catch a glimpse of the Moon over the next few nights you'll immediately notice it has light and dark areas. The dark areas are known as ‘seas,’ but they're vast plains of ancient, frozen lava, not bodies of water. Here and there on the seas are bright spots, with light rays streaking away from them like comet tails. These are young craters, blasted out of the dark lava by asteroid impacts, and the rays are made of debris sprayed across the surface by the explosions which formed them.
The bright areas are the ‘lunar highlands,’ rougher and mountainous. Even humble binoculars will show they're split by valleys and shattered by impact craters, some of them hundreds of kilometres wide, big enough to swallow London whole.
So turn those binoculars of yours on the Moon this week and I promise you you won’t be disappointed. It would be luna-cy not to.
Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal
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