Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Over the Moon

Do you believe there is a man on the moon?
By: Judi Stuart
Port Discover: Visitor Services Manager
Did your grandma tell you “the cow jumped over the moon?” Do you believe that there is a man on the moon? On July 20, 1969, do you remember seeing the first man step on the moon broadcast on television?
From ancient times to the present, people have been fascinated with that continuously changing, orb in the night sky. Scientists have given us more understanding, but it retains its mysterious qualities, too. In 1988, people who were surveyed believed that the moon was made of cheese.
Early Babylonians thought that women were more fertile during the time of the full moon, and today people continue to think that more babies are born during that phase. The word “lunacy” comes from the Greek word “lunar” meaning moon, and some maintain that crimes, murders, and suicides increase at that time.
Mothers used to be afraid to hang diapers out to dry in the moonlight because it was bad luck. Curtains were drawn in bedrooms because moonlight shining on a person was considered bad luck too. Some farmers still gage when to plant crops, and others decide when to start a new business or to begin a courtship on the phases of the moon.
There is a man on the moon, so to speak. Dr. Eugene Shoemaker was the geologist who educated the Apollo Mission astronauts about the geology of the moon. It was his lifelong wish that he would go to the moon, so when he died, his ashes were placed on the Lunar Prospector spacecraft in 1999. When the spacecraft was deliberately crashed into a crater in order to see if there was water on the moon, his remains were left there.
The moon is a satellite of the Earth, and we only see 59% of it because of the rotations of the two bodies. Forty-nine moons would fit inside of the Earth, but sometimes, it appears much larger because of its closeness to our planet.
This year we have seen several blue moons, blood red moons, and super moons. Blue moons occur when a month has two full moons, and the second one is known as a blue moon.
In April and October of 2014 and then again in April and September of 2015, super moons or perigee moons will occur because the moon’s orbit will bring it closer to earth than usual.
We will see the stunning blood red moons twice when the earth passes between the sun and moon causing a lunar eclipse. The sun’s rays will be blocked but some will make it to reflect off the moon causing a brilliant, reddish-orange color. This phenomenon is also known as the harvest moon.
Over the centuries, observers have made countless predictions about the future including the end of civilization bases on the appearance and events related to the moon. I prefer to accept and enjoy it as another of nature’s magnificent gifts.
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