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How far is the Moon from the Earth?

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A lunar distance (LD) is an astronomical measurement of the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The average distance from Earth to the Moon is 384,403 kilometers or 238,857 miles, but the actual distance varies over the course of the orbit of the moon. Depending on the Moon's location in its orbit, it is between 225,623 and 252,088 miles away from Earth. This is about 30 times the diameter of the Earth.

Measurements of the lunar distance are made by measuring the time it takes for light to travel between the LIDAR stations on Earth and the retroreflectors placed on the Moon. Experiments show that the Moon is spiraling away from Earth at an average rate of 3.8 cm per year.

Orbital distances are calculated between the center of the Earth and the center of the Moon. So the actual surface-to-surface distance is shorter by about 7457 kilometers (4634 miles).
Because tides spin faster than the Moon moves, the tidal reaction pulls the Moon forward a tiny bit. The moon recedes at a rate of approximately 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) per year. When there was only one continent, the rate was less.
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The moon is on an elliptical orbit, so it it not consistently the same distance from earth. When the moon is the closest to earth, it is 225,623 miles away; when the moon is farthest away from earth, it is 252,088 miles away.
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