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Astronomical question and answer 279

 

Frank L. Preuss

 

Is there a difference in the visible surface of the sun and of that of the moon?

 

Yes.

The surface of the sun shows practically no visible differences in the fashioning of its surface.

This is not so with the moon. It is not as featureless as the sun.

I have just observed the setting of the moon. It is one day before full moon and the moon was practically completely full. The large bright area of the moon was to the left at the top and the large dark area of the moon was to the left at the bottom.

At moon rise these differences in the visible surface can also be seen and that means that with this celestial body one can see, how it turns in the course of its visible orbit in the sky.

It therefore shows half a day earlier, or half a day later, a different picture; a picture which has turned 180 degrees.

When I in the evening look towards the east at the rise of the moon and memorize the features of the picture of the face of the moon and do not change the alignment of my head with this face of the moon, therefore keep to it, the whole next half of the day, therefore all through the night, then at the end of this half day I would stand on my head, be upside down.

But when I do this in the evening only, and then pay no attention to the moon all through the night, only look at it again in the morning, then the face of the moon has turned 180o.

But I can also achieve this turn about 180o in one moment and indeed then, when I look up into the sky at midnight and look at the full moon up there. When my body is aligned with the west and I then look up, then the large bright area of the moon is to the left at the top and the large dark area of the moon is to the left at the bottom. And when I then turn round, by 180o, and have now aligned by body with the east, and look up from this changed direction of position, then also the moon-face has turned, and I see the large bright area of the moon to the right at the bottom and the large dark area of the moon to the right at the top.

The moon therefore does not turn at all. What turns is the earth, and with it the man on earth, who looks at the moon. And when this man at one point in time looks twice at the moon, but from two different directions, because he himself turns round, then also the earth does not need to turn, but only the man himself.

One can also see the matter this way. When in the morning I see the moon in the west above the horizon and imagine coordinate axes, then the vertical axis is the east west axis and east is on top and west is at the bottom. And the horizontal axis is the north south axis and north is to the right and south to the left. And then the large bright area is in the left upper quarter, and the large dark spot in the left lower quarter.

And these coordinate axes with their characteristics on the surface of the moon do not change. Only what is to the right and to the left changes, and that only then, when I change, when I change the direction, from which I look at the moon.

Particularly the north south direction of the coordinate axes does not change. And the east west direction also does not change direction-wise, only that in the morning west is at the bottom and east at the top, and in the evening at the eastern horizon, it is vice versa.

And these coordinate axes I can also imagine then, when the moon is not full. When for instance the new crescent is in the sky, a few days after the theoretical new moon, then the line, which connects the two points of the crescent, is the north south axis. And it always remains the same direction.

The full moon rises in the evening; but the new moon rises in the morning.

In the morning the two points of the crescent, when the moon rises at the eastern horizon, show downward; and the crescent is in the upper part, therefore in the western part. And in the evening, when the moon sets in the west above the horizon, the two points show upwards, and the crescent is in the lower part, but also in the western part.

And during the day the crescent is then to the right, but that also only for the observer on the northern hemisphere. For the one on the southern hemisphere the crescent is to the left. Also here the moon does not change at all, but the position of the observer is different.

And for the observer on the northern hemisphere the moon, after moon rise in the east in the morning, turns round to the right, and the crescent is then to the right. The left point of the crescent rises faster than the right, because the moon turns round to the right. And for the observer on the southern hemisphere the moon then turns round to the left, after moon rise, and the crescent is then to the left. The right point of the crescent rises faster than the left one.

Before new moon the moon is ahead of the sun and after new moon the moon comes after the sun; and the moon always shows in that direction, where the sun is. The crescent is like bow and arrow, and the arrow points to that direction where the sun is.

We started with comparing the sun with the moon. So with the moon we can see how the moon "turns" and with the sun we cannot see how the sun "turns" and that because there are no characteristic features on the surface of the sun.

But there is something else that we can observe with the moon, but not with sun, and that it the rotation of this heavenly body around its own axis. When we look at the sun, then we cannot notice something, which would indicate such a rotation, exactly because there are no easily visible features on the surface of the sun. But that is not so with the moon, there we can very clearly see the surface and consequently also the rotation of the moon around its own axis, and this rotation is exactly so that the moon always shows us the same half of the moon’s surface.

This is actually, for a good-willed person, a nice sign, that the whole creation is by design. That there is a designer behind it all.

At half-moon the man on the northern hemisphere sees the right side of the surface of the moon that faces earth; and the man on the southern hemisphere sees the other half, the left half. So the thin crescent just after new moon that the man in the north sees is the extreme right part of the moon; and the thin crescent that the man in the south sees is the extreme left part of the moon. So also here the moon is in both cases the same moon and also that half of the moon that is illuminated by the sun is the same, but the position of the observer determines, which part of the moon he sees.

And this situation only occurs with the moon so noticeably, because the moon is so close by.

 

 

This is the end of "Astronomical question and answer 279"
To the German version of this chapter: Astronomische Frage und Antwort 279

 

 

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