The moon is on a synchronous rotation with the Earth, which always shows the same side of the Earth, with the near side marked by a dark volcanic mare that lies between the brightly crusted plateau and the prominent impact crater. The moon is the brightest celestial body after the Sun. Although the Moon is very white and bright, the surface of the Moon is actually dark, with a slightly higher degree of molten asphalt. Since ancient times, its prominent position in the sky and its regular phases has influenced many cultures, including language, calendar, art, and mythology. The influence of Moon's gravity causes tides in the oceans and an extended period of time on Earth. The Moon's orbital distance from Earth today is about thirty times the diameter of the Earth, causing the Moon's size to appear in the sky almost as large as the size of the Sun, thus allowing the Moon to cover the Sun and result in a total solar eclipse. The Moon's linear distance from Earth is currently increasing at a rate of 3.82 ± 0.07 cm per year, although this rate is not constant.