November 06, 2009


Do you realize that although to us here on Earth the Moon waxes and wanes, rises and sets, on the Moon, while the Earth waxes and wanes, it never rises and sets? The near side of the Moon always faces towards Earth, so Earth is always in its sky.

For us, one cycle of the Moon is 28 days from new to full to new again. It is the same on the Moon, each watching the other, moving together to the same rhythym. How beautiful would it be, to sit on that still surface and watch the Earth wax into multi-hued fullness and then shiver away again into shadow. It would happen over the course of a single day, which on the Moon is 672 hours long.

On the far side of the Moon, while the sun still rises and sets during its 672 hour day, there is no Earth, none at all, for that side always faces away. But on the far side of the Moon, they have the stars, which are otherwise occluded by the the Earthglow for all but a sliver of hours each night when the Earth is new. In those small hours a billion, billion stars shine. How beautiful would that be. The stars from the Moom don't dance or twinkle, for there is no atmosphere to distort their light. They shine steady and true.

Have you ever wondered how all that works?

1 comment:

john said...

I read somewhere that all but one of the astronauts who have been on the moon considered the Earth to be the most beautiful thing they had seen on their trips. To be able to see the whole world at once must have been amazing. The other astronaut claimed the most beautiful sight was a urine-dump out of the capsule on the way home. He said it made a brief, spectacular expanding globe of sparkles. People are funny.