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Last updated: 08 May 2006 1141 BST
Pic: Mark Lawrik-Thompson
Grap: Explore the moon with our astronomy expert
Norfolk astronomer and Chairman of the Norwich Astronomical Society Mark Thompson writes about the moon.
Pic: The moon
How long would it take you to cycle to the moon?

Can you guess how long it would take to cycle to the moon? Do you know how far you can see into the solar system?

Can you guess how long it would take you to cycle to the Moon? If you cycled at 10 miles per hour which is probably about as fast as you can go on your bike, then it would take you 994 days or just under 3 years!

But that would be without stopping for a drink, sandwiches or even for the loo!

The Moon was one of the first things I ever saw through a telescope.

Picture: The moon glowing in the sky
The moon glowing in the sky

I was about 10 years old when I first looked through a telescope at the Norwich Astronomical Society and saw the craters on the Moon and the rings of Saturn.

Wow, they were brilliant to see! The good news is that you don't need a telescope to look at stuff in the sky.

There is no better place to start than with the Moon. It's big and it's bright and easy to find, although sometimes you can't even see it at night because it's hiding behind the Earth!

It takes the Moon just about 27 days to go around the Earth once. It also takes about 27 days to spin once. This means we always see the same face of the Moon.

We see the Moon in the sky because light from the Sun bounces off it and gets to Earth. As the Moon moves around the Earth and Sun, we see different parts of the Moon being lit up by the Sun.

When we see a Full Moon we see all of the daytime side of the Moon, when we see a crescent Moon, we see a little bit of the night time side and a lot of the daytime side.

Try finding the Moon every evening for two or three weeks and draw what you see. After drawing it for a couple of weeks, can you see anything changing?

Read more: Got a question on the Moon? Ask Mark »


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See also

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Astronomy index

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International Space Station

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Make a sundial

New Planet

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Planet Mars

The Moon

Planets Pluto, Neptune and Uranus

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The Star of Bethlehem

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Venus passes in front of the Sun


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Norwich Astronomical Society

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North Norfolk Astronomical Society

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Inspire Science Centre

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