NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Full Moon. Composite image of a full Moon on a starfield. The Moon is full when its entire sunlit face is facing Earth. The phases of the Moon are due to it revealing different amounts of its sunlit face during its 28-day orbit of Earth. The Moon is gravitationally locked to Earth, and always presents the same hemisphere to us. The dark areas on its surface are the lunar seas (or maria). They were formed early in the Moon's history by dark lava flowing into massive impact craters. The light areas are rocky highlands.
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