More naked eye astronomy

9 June 2006

As a follow up to yesterdays vague allusions, the Moon is probably one of the coolest objects in the sky. Not only does the amount illuminated (phase) change in an easily observable way, but the rising and setting times and the position in the sky change rapidly, too. Really, those are all different ways of describing what the Moon is doing right now. But the more deeply you look, the more complicated it gets.
Are some or any of these constant on the Moon: near side, far side, dark side, light side?
Over a full lunar cycle, how much of the Moon do we see from Earth? One factor that doesn’t matter is where on Earth you are.
Bonus question: what direction does the Moon move in the sky?
And, of course, there are the calendars based upon Moon stuff: Islamic, Jewish, and Hawaiian, for example.
More later. . .

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