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The size of the Moon

In one of Aristarchus' books that did survive, he laid out the earliest known attempted calculations of the sizes and distances to the Sun and Moon.

From solar eclipses, where the Moon passes in front of the Sun, they realised that the Sun was further away. Aristarchus estimated that the size of the Moon was approximately one-third that of the Earth, based on the careful timing of lunar eclipses. He was surprisingly accurate in determining the ratio of the size of the Earth to the Moon. (the Moon has a diameter 0.27 times that of Earth).

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The planets orbit the Sun

The earliest known heliocentric theory of the solar system came from Aristarchus of Samos (310BC to 230BC). He argued that the Sun was central. He also placed all the then known planets is their correct order of distance around the Sun. His original text was unfortunately lost to...

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Strange discovery from early history

Strange discovery from early history

In the Histories by Herodotus (484BC to 425BC), Herodotus recounts the story of Phoenician sailors who were dispatched by King Neco II ofEgypt (about 600BC), to sail clockwise around continental Africa, starting in the Red Sea.

The voyage took years. As they rounded the southern tip of...

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The first astronomical calculator

The Antikythera Mechanism is the word's oldest surviving mechanical calculator. The device was discovered in an ancient shipwreck in 1900 and dates between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC.

When manually rotated by a handle, the gears span dials on the exterior showing the Moon's phase...

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The Earth’s circumference

  • Eratosthenes (276BC to 195BC) relied on measuring the different lengths of shadows cast by poles stuck vertically into the ground, at midday on the summer solstice, at different latitudes. The difference in the shadows demonstrated how much the Earth's surface curved. Erato...

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Phases of the Moon

Phases of the Moon

We see different parts of the Moon light up at different times of the month. This is because the Moon is at different positions in its orbit around Earth relative to the Sun.

  • A full Moon is when the Moon, Earth and Sun are lined up. The sunlight shines on the whole l...

The Moon and its effect on creatures

  • Sand Hoppers: These are crustaceans that have two compasses (sun compass in their brain, moon compass in their antennae) that help them stay buried during the day and forage at night.
  • Corals: The lunar timing helps corals in the Great Barrier Reef ...

The origin of Kamo’oalewa

The origin of Kamo’oalewa

And according to a new study in Nature, we may at last know how it was formed.

The moon’s been getting bombarded by space rocks for billions of years, resulting in all manner of lunar debris getting ejected into space (nearly ...

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