From Wikipedia: The Moon (Latin: Luna) is Earth‘s only natural satellite. Although not the largest natural satellite in the Solar System, it is, among the satellites of major planets, the largest relative to the size of the object it orbits (its primary). It is the second-densest satellite among those whose densities are known (after Jupiter‘s satellite Io).
The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, always showing the same face with its near side marked by dark volcanic maria that fill between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. It is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object in Earth’s sky (after the Sun), as measured by illuminance on the surface of Earth. Although it can appear a very bright white, its surface is actually dark, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have, since ancient times, made the Moon an important cultural influence on language, calendars, art, and mythology. The Moon’s gravitational influence produces the ocean tides and the slight lengthening of the day. The Moon’s current orbital distance is about thirty times the diameter of Earth, causing it to have an apparent size in the sky almost the same as that of the Sun. This allows the Moon to cover the Sun nearly precisely in total solar eclipse. This matching of apparent visual size is a coincidence. The Moon’s linear distance from Earth is currently increasing at a rate of 3.82±0.07 cm per year, but this rate is not constant.
The earth’s moon has been an integral part of life on earth since people looked up at night sky in wonder, especially when the moon is full and the light is brightest. The full moons have even acquired names.
The individual names given in Farmers’ Almanac include:
- January: “Wolf Moon” (this is the name of December in Beard 1918) also “Old Moon”
- February: “Snow Moon”, also “Hunger Moon”
- March: “Worm Moon”, “Crow Moon”, “Sap Moon”, “Lenten Moon”
- April: “Seed Moon”, “Pink Moon”, “Sprouting Grass Moon”, “Egg Moon” (c.f. “Goose-Egg” in Beard 1918), “Fish Moon”
- May: “Milk Moon”, “Flower Moon”, “Corn Planting Moon”
- June: “Mead Moon”, “Strawberry Moon” (c.f. Beard 1918), “Rose Moon”, “Thunder Moon”
- July: “Hay Moon”, “Buck Moon”, “Thunder Moon”
- August: “Corn Moon”, “Sturgeon Moon”, “Red Moon”, “Green Corn Moon”, “Grain Moon”
- September: “Harvest Moon”, “Full Corn Moon”,
- October: “Hunter’s moon”, “Blood Moon”/”Sanguine Moon”
- November: “Beaver Moon”, “Frosty Moon”
- December: “Oak Moon”, “Cold Moon”, “Long Nights Moon”
Before the Farmer’s Almanac naming of the moon, the ancients people often favored the moon with a goddess or god status, and with a variety of names. The List of lunar deities is here on Wikipedia.
The next full moon, January 4, 2015 will be the Wolf Moon. The next ‘super’ moon, the time when the moon is closest to the earth will be September 28, 2015. The next total eclipse will be April 4, 2015.
Naming the moon or attributing god/goddess status on the moon, people didn’t stop there. Poems, nursery rhymes and songs (lots of songs) where a main staple for poets and musicians.
Classically, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is perhaps the famous.
Beethoven-Moonlight Sonata (Mvt. 1)
from educational to rap currently
Moon Phases Song
The UFO and alien theories from the universe weren’t left out either. There are numerous ones on YouTube. There are also the supposed hoax’s, mysterious photo’s from the moon and what would happen if the moon was replaced with another planet. Last but not least, is astrology, dating back 3,000 years BC and how the moon affects our horoscopes and us. It remains a money-making business. 🙂
The moon continues to amaze and intrigue we people on earth and as long as people look up at the full moon’s light in the night sky, it will continue.