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Astronomical question and answer 203


Frank L. Preuss


So how many degrees is the moon ahead of the sun?


At new moon the angle is zero degree. At full moon the difference is 180 degrees. And also about 14 days. That would be 13 degrees per day and 26 degrees in two days. But it is quite difficult to estimate an angle and as the moon is ahead of the sun, the sun is still shining, when the moon is setting, so I will probably see nothing.

And then one also has to consider that also during the next 12 hours the crescent becomes smaller and might completely disappear.

So I am starting to make plans for the time after the new moon and then concentrate not on the rising of moon and sun, but on the setting of the two, because then the sun sets first and when the moon sets, the sunlight is so little, that it will allow me to see the moon quite well.

But then the problem is, where should one look for the moon. So the people who look for the new moon in order to start some religious celebrating have quite a job to do and that is where the real astronomers come in, because they can now calculate the position and direct their instruments in that direction.

And that again explains why people at all times always tried to build some kind of observatory for themselves, like Stonehenge, to at least mark the position of the rising and the setting of heavenly bodies, so that they knew the next time where to look for.

So I could get a studio on top of a high rise building and use all the window panes as marking places. But I think I will be able to control myself.

Religious manipulators have then used this knowledge, where and when something would appear over the horizon, to deceive people and get money out of them, and gain their support. For example forecasting an eclipse.


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To the German version of this chapter: Astronomische Frage und Antwort 203



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