GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Even though it’s nearby, weather on Earth’s closest neighbor is vastly different from our own planet.
Earth’s unique atmosphere is what allows life to thrive. At sea level, it contains about 100 billion molecules per cubic centimeter, compared to only around 100 on the moon. The moon basically has no atmosphere, no rain, no wind and no weather.
The lack of atmosphere means there’s no way to retain heat or limit the power of the sun, creating huge temperature swings. When illuminated, temperatures can soar to 260 degrees F, and when dark, drop to -387 F.
The coldest spots are near the poles and in deep craters, with some locations having not been touched by sunlight for billions of years. These are the coldest temperatures in our entire solar system. Did you know the moon gets even colder than Pluto?
Although it doesn’t necessarily see weather, the moon does suffer from moonquakes. Shallow ones are actually the most extreme, registering up to 5.5 on the Richter scale and lasting over 10 minutes. For reference, a magnitude 5 earthquake is strong enough to move heavy furniture and crack plaster, and usually dies down in only 30 seconds.
As scientists continue to explore and build on the moon, they must make sure to take these moonquakes into account.
If you want to zoom to learn about weather on other planets, click on this link.