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College of Arts and Sciences Moon

Dr. Universe: Why does the moon have phases?

Dr. UniverseWhen astronomers looked at the night sky long ago, they also wondered about questions just like this one. You know, I was also curious about why the moon looks so different at different times of the month.

I visited with my friend Jose Vazquez, an astronomer at WSU Vancouver, to learn more about it. He said that the way the moon looks to us has to do with two other objects in » More …

Dr. Universe: How does the moon glow?

Ask Dr. Universe by Washington State UniversityOur moon is one of the brightest objects in the night sky. But unlike a lamp or our sun, the moon doesn’t produce its own light.

Light can travel in lots of different ways. Moonlight is actually sunlight that shines on the moon and bounces off. The light reflects off old volcanoes, craters, and lava flows on the moon’s surface.

That’s what I found out from my friend Julie Menard, a geologist and researcher at WSU who studies what makes up the rocky planets in our solar system. » More …

Mysteries from the moon’s past

The MoonWhile the moon is uninhabitable today, there could have been life on its surface in the distant past.

In fact, there may have been two early windows of habitability for Earth’s moon, according to a study online in the journal Astrobiology by Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University astrobiologist. » More …