Sure, our moon is pretty as it shines up there in the sky, but did you know that it was also created to be unique? No other moon around any other planet even compares.
Our moon isn’t the largest one in our solar system. In fact, Saturn and Jupiter have four bigger moons (Ganymede, Titan, Callisto, and Io). And so far, astronomers have discovered nearly 200 moons (astronomers like to call them satellites) zipping around other planets in our solar system. But one thing is very different about our moon: how big God designed it to be compared to the earth.
Most other moons are tiny next to the planet they orbit. Even Ganymede, which is bigger than the planet Mercury, is like a tiny dot beside Jupiter, its host planet. Our moon, on the other hand, is over one quarter the size of the earth. That means we have plenty of light on most nights (Genesis 1:16) and tides that keep the ocean churning and healthy.
Even though your hand is much smaller than the sun, it’s also much closer to you. That means you can hold out your arm and block the sun’s light. That works out well when you’re trying to watch for the ball your friend is throwing.
The sun and moon have a similar relationship. The sun is 400 times bigger than the moon (no surprise there), but the moon is 400 times closer to the earth. That’s the perfect fit for giving us solar eclipses when the moon passes in front of the sun. No other planets get this spectacular, God-designed show.
Our moon does more than just reflect light off the water at night. The moon has an odd orbit around the earth. Most other moons orbit above their planet’s equator. But our moon follows a path similar to the earth’s as it travels around the sun.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, our solar system works like something of a giant tugging match. Larger objects pull at smaller ones, including the earth. (There are no manners in space!) If we didn’t have such a big moon orbiting like it does, the sun and other planets would pull the earth from its current tilt. That could make for boiling oceans in one part of the planet and freezing temperatures at another.