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WSU Insider
News and Information for Faculty, Staff, and the WSU Community

“How does the moon glow?”

The moon glowing in the night sky.

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of mankind’s first steps on the moon, the WSU Insider figured it would be an ideal time to feature this recent lunar question posed by a Pullman youngster to Ask Dr. Universe.

Washington State University planetary scientist Julie Menard lends her expertise to help the fictional feline explain why it looks like the moon glows.

Unlike a lamp or our sun, the moon doesn’t produce its own light. Moonlight is actually sunlight that shines on the moon and bounces off. The light reflects off old volcanoes, craters, and lava flows on the moon’s surface.

Visit the Ask Dr. Universe website for the full explanation and for answers to more questions from curious elementary and middle school students.

Illustration of Dr. Universe, an anthropomorphic cat wearing a WSU t-shirt and a lab coat.

Hi, there! I’m Dr. Universe.

I team up with a lot of really smart people at Washington State University to tackle big questions from kids like: What is fire? Why does soda fizz? Why is the ocean salty? Why is liquid nitrogen so cold?

Submit questions, find answers, and more at

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