Descriptive Astronomy 101
The Moon Study Guide


After the "The Moon" lectures and readings you should be able to answer and discuss the following questions.

What is the relationship between the Plane of the Ecliptic and the Moon's orbital plane?

Why is the Earth and Moon considered to be unusual?

Name the phases of the Moon and describe the relationship between the phase and the Moon's orbital position during that phase.

What is a sidereal month, how is it measured and how long is it?

What is a synodic month, how is it measured and how long is it?

Why is a synodic month longer than a sidereal month?

What are tides?

What causes tides to form?

Describe the difference between crustal tides and ocean tides.

As a result of tides on Earth, what is happening to the Moon?

As a result of tides, what is happening to the Earth?

Describe the layers of the Moon's interior structure, including thickness and composition.

What are moonquakes?

What is causing moonquakes?

What are lunar maria?

The word maria is plural. What is the singular form for the word maria?

What are some of the other volcanic landforms that are found on the Moon in addition to the lunar maria?

What are the four major types of volcanic rocks found on the lunar surface?

What are highlands?

From which type of igneous rock are the highlands composed?

Describe the differences between and characteristics of lunar small craters, large craters and basins.

What forms of erosion are occuring on the surface of the Moon?

Why are there no other forms of erosion affecting the surface?

What are the major observations that must be accounted for in any theory that explains the origin of the Moon?

Describe the Co-Accretion Theory for lunar origin and its flaws.

Describe the Capture Theory for lunar origin and its flaws.

Describe the Fission Theory for lunar origin and its flaws.

Describe the Giant Impact Theory for lunar origin and its flaws.

Which theory is currently accepted as the most accurate?

Briefly outline the 8 major events in the history of the Moon, including the dates for that event.