Most scientists believe that the moon was formed from the ejected material after the Earth collided with a Mars-sized object. This ejected material coalesced into the moon that went into orbit around th Earth. This catastrophic collision occurred about 60 million years after Earth itself formed (about 4.3 billion years ago). This is determined by the radioisotope dating of moon rocks. The Moon makes a complete orbit around Earth with respect to the fixed stars about once every 27.3 days (its sidereal period). However, because Earth is moving in its orbit around the Sun at the same time, it takes slightly longer for the Moon to show the same phase to Earth, which is about 29.5 days (its synodic period). Unlike most satellites of other planets, the Moon orbits closer to the ecliptic plane than to the planet's equatorial plane. The Moon's orbit is subtly perturbed by the Sun and Earth in many small, complex and interacting ways. For example, the plane of the Moon's orbital motion gradually rotates, which affects other aspects of lunar motion. These follow-on effects are mathematically described by Cassini's laws. The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth and the fifth largest moon in the Solar System. It is the largest natural satellite of a planet in the Solar System relative to the size of its primary,[e] having 27% the diameter and 60% the density of Earth, resulting in 1⁄81 (1.23%) its mass. Among satellites with known densities, the Moon is the second densest, after Io, a satellite of Jupiter.
The moon is Earth's only natural satellite. The moon is a cold, dry orb whose surface is studded with craters and strewn with rocks and dust (called regolith). The moon has no atmosphere. Recent lunar missions indicate that there might be some frozen ice at the poles. The same side of the moon always faces the Earth. The far side of the moon was first observed by humans in 1959 when the unmanned Soviet Luna 3 mission orbited the moon and photographed it. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (on NASA's Apollo 11 mission, which also included Michael Collins) were the first people to walk on the moon, on July 20, 1969. If you were standing on the moon, the sky would always appear dark, even during the daytime. Also, from any spot on the moon (except on the far side of the moon where you cannot see the Earth), the Earth would always be in the same place in the sky; the phase of the Earth changes and the Earth rotates, displaying various continents.
The saros is the roughly 18-year periodic cycle of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. Every 6,585 days, the Earth, Moon and Sun are in exactly the same position. When there is a lunar eclipse, there will also be one exactly 6,585 days later. The moon's diameter is 2,159 miles (3,474 km), 27% of the diameter of the Earth (a bit over a quarter of the Earth's diameter). The gravitational tidal influence of the Moon on the Earth is about twice as strong as the Sun's gravitational tidal influence. The Earth:moon size ratio is quite small in comparison to ratios of most other planet:moon systems (for most planets in our Solar System, the moons are much smaller in comparison to the planet and have less of an effect on the planet). When two full moons occur in a single month, the second full moon is called a "Blue Moon." Another definition of the blue moon is the third full moon that occurs in a season of the year which has four full moons (usually each season has only three full moons).