Lunar distance is as a unit of measure in astronomy. It is the distance from the center of Earth to the center of the Moon. More technically, it is the mean semi-major axis of the lunar orbit. It may also refer to the distance between the centers of the Earth and the Moon, or less commonly, the instantaneous Earth-Moon distance. The lunar distance is approximately a quarter of a million miles, Lunar distance is also called Earth-Moon distance, Earth–Moon characteristic distance, or distance to the Moon, and commonly indicated with LD or Δ ⊕ L. The mean semi-major axis has a value of 384,402 km, the time-averaged distance between Earth and Moon centers is 385,000.6 km. The actual distance varies over the course of the orbit of the Moon, from 356,500 km at the perigee to 406,700 km at apogee, Lunar distance is commonly used to express the distance to near-Earth object encounters. The measurement is useful in characterizing the lunar radius, the mass of the Sun. Millimeter-precision measurements of the distance are made by measuring the time taken for light to travel between LIDAR stations on the Earth and retroreflectors placed on the Moon. The Moon is spiraling away from the Earth at a rate of 3.8 cm per year. By coincidence, the diameter of corner cubes in retroreflectors on the Moon is also 3.8 cm, the instantaneous lunar distance is constantly changing. In fact the distance between the Moon and Earth can change by as much as 75 m/s, or more than 1,000 kilometers in just 6 hours. There are other effects that influence the lunar distance. Some factors are described in this section, the distance to the Moon can be measured to an accuracy of 2 mm over a 1-hour sampling period, which results in an overall uncertainty of 2–3 cm for the average distance. However, due to its orbit with varying eccentricity, the instantaneous distance varies with monthly periodicity. Furthermore, the distance is perturbed by the effects of various astronomical bodies - most significantly the Sun. Other forces responsible for minuscule perturbations are other planets in the system, asteroids, tidal forces. The effect of pressure from the sun contributes an amount of ±3.6 mm to the lunar distance
Distance between the Earth and Moon - sizes and distance to scale.
Variation of the distance between the centers of the Moon and the Earth over 700 days.