Earth and the Moon

The Moon

Why is the Moon so bright?

Over the millennia, different societies and civilizations found their own interpretations of the patterns of craters and maria on the Moon. In southwestern Native American cultures, the Man on the Moon was actually Kokopelli, a large-headed, thin-bodied man hunched over playing the flute. In ancient China, the design of the Moon was not a man at all, but a rabbit.

Moonlight is reflected sunlight. This was discovered long ago by the ancient Greek astronomer Parmenides, who lived and worked around 500 B.C.E. Depending on the location of the Moon in its orbit around Earth, different parts of the Moon will reflect sunlight onto Earth. Since Earth and the Moon are so close together, and since the Moon has such a shiny surface, large amounts of sunlight come to Earth after bouncing off the Moon.


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