What are the dark spots on the moon made of?
It has one of the largest craters in the Solar System, the South Pole-Aitken basin. The hemisphere is sometimes called the ” dark side of the Moon “, where “dark” means “unknown” instead of “lacking sunlight” – both sides of the Moon experience two weeks of sunlight while the opposite side experiences two weeks of night.
As we mentioned, the first thing that you’ll notice when you look at the moon’s surface are the dark and light areas. The dark areas are called maria. There are several prominent maria. The maria cover only 15 percent of the lunar surface. The remainder of the lunar surface consists of the bright highlands, or terrae.
The near side of the moon has light areas referred to as Lunar Highlands and dark areas called Maria. The maria are lower in altitude than the highlands and filled with dark solidified lava from when the moon was volcanically active.
It’s called earthshine. To understand earthshine, remember that the moon is globe, just as Earth is, and that the globe of the moon is always half-illuminated by sunlight.
The maria, or ‘seas’, were named by early astronomers who mistook them for actual oceans on the Moon, but of course today we know that no such large bodies of liquid water exist on the lunar surface.
When the sun, the Earth and the moon are aligned in space (nearly or perfectly), with the Earth between the sun and moon, then Earth’s shadow falls on the moon’s face. During a lunar eclipse, a very small amount of light from the sun filters through Earth’s atmosphere onto Earth’s shadow on the moon.
On the Moon there is no air, no Rayleigh scattering. So shadows are very dark and, where sunlight hits, very bright. So even though air isn’t scattering the sunlight on the Moon, there’s still enough reflection to sneak light into the shadows… but not much. It gets dark — and quickly cold — in there!
The dark areas are young plains called maria and are composed of basalt. The basalt flowed in and flooded the area created by a huge impact with an asteroid or comet. The light areas are the highlands, which are mountains that were uplifted as a result of impacts.
You can generally see the unlit side of the moon when a considerable amount of sunlight is reflected off the earth. This reflected sunlight illuminates the unlit side of the moon. This is referred to as earthshine, and a decent explanation can be found at timeanddate.com.
the Ocean of Storms
The largest dark spot on the moon, known as the Ocean of Storms, may be a scar from a giant cosmic impact that created a magma sea more than a thousand miles wide and several hundred miles deep, researchers say.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth lines up directly between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on the moon. As the moon moves deeper and deeper into the Earth’s shadow, the moon changes color before your very eyes, turning from gray to an orange or deep shade of red.
Modern study of the Moon has revealed these dark spots to be not water but large seas of dried lava. These areas of solid basalt rock cover approximately 16% of the entire lunar surface, with the vast majority being located on the Earth-facing side of the Moon.