Moons of our Solar System
Moons of our Solar System

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Moons of our Solar System

Week 4: Our Moon


Introducing the only moon you can see with the naked eye, how does it measure up against the others, what’s under the surface and how far away is it? What did early missions to the Moon discover, and why would we want to return?

Download this video clip.Video player: moons_1_vid035.mp4
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There's now going to be a change of direction in the course. For the next three weeks, we're going to dive into the science and history of the Earth's Moon.
Aside from dictating the ocean tides, the Moon holds a special place in our culture, appearing over and over in music, art, and literature. Just think of all the music that's been inspired by a lunar theme.
Whether it's classical or pop - 'Blue moon' or 'Moonlight serenade' - everyone can think of at least one track that's inspired by the Moon.
This week, we'll cover some basic facts about our Moon. I mean, did you know it's only the fifth largest moon in the Solar System, but it's almost three-quarters the size of the planet Mercury?
We'll also cover a simple experiment calculating the distance to the Moon, which relies simply on knowing the time it takes for laser light to get there and back.
Have a great week.
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On Wednesday 15 March, 2017, Open University academic David Rothery and his colleague Ian Wright, who is a member of the Rosetta team that studied comet 67P, joined OU planetary science students in a live ‘planets and moons’ video webcast [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

On Wednesday 15 November, 2017, David’s guest in the next planets and moons chat was Monica Grady, an expert on meteorites and certain aspects of Mars. You may find it of interest to watch these webcasts, plus older ones and others to be added in the future. Those can be found easily from these links.

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • recognise the many cultural references to the Moon, from music to art and literature
  • understand more facts about the Moon
  • calculate the distance to the Moon.

See also:


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