The Moon moves in a counterclockwise direction with an average orbital speed of about 0.6 miles/sec or 2,160 m.p.h. Because the lunar orbit is elliptical, the distance between the Earth and the Moon varies between about 227,000 miles (365,000 km) at perigee, and about 254,000 miles (409,000 km) at apogee, when the Moon is farthest from the Earth. The average distance is about 240,000 miles (385,000 km), or about 60 times the radius of the Earth itself

Image credit: Earthmoon. NASA

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One thought on “The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is about 240,000 miles (385,000 kms)

  1. Dave says:

    The statement that the moon orbits the earth in a counterclockwise direction is wholly dependent on one’s frame of reference. To most people accustomed (some might say brainwashed) by conventional maps to think of north as “up” and south as “down,” this statement will appear correct. However, there is no up or down in space; the convention of placing the northern hemisphere at the top of maps of the earth is strictly a result of the bias resulting from the fact that most of the habitable land on earth—and therefore most of the people, including the cartographers—lies above the equator. If one’s frame of reference assumes one is looking at the earth-moon system from south of the ecliptic plane, facing the south pole, then the orbit would appear to be clockwise, and there is no reason other than ingrained habit to consider any frame of reference inherently more valid than another. I realize this will sound to most people (at least most people who live in the northern hemisphere, as I myself do) like nitpicking, but the idea of north as “up” is taken utterly for granted by a startlingly large number of people, given its complete lack of factual or scientific basis. That assumption obviously underlies the statement about the moon’s “counterclockwise” orbit, and it just bugged me.

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