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michael bay

A Star Wars fanboy's nightmare...

I know this comes a little late, but still - remember how lucky you Star Wars fans got! ;)

Why the "Dark Side of the Moon" actually isn't

Good Lord, I just had a sudden flash of insight regarding the third Transformers movie!

Nonono, not that it's a silly piece of poo - that one is granted whenever Mr.Bay gets involved. I won't even start to go into any of the details regarding plot and characters and whatthefuckery in the movie - other people have done this much better than I ever could - just check out the reviews on thatguywiththeglasses, especially the one of Spoony and Brad...

No, I just want to talk about the title "dark side of the moon". I know the phrase has been around for a while - just think about the classic Pink Floyd album - but I never really thought about if from an astronomical point of view.

Transformers 3, though, plays in space and perhaps that triggered me thinking about that sentence a little more.

Quite often "the dark side of the moon" is used as a kind of poetic way to describe "the side of the moon we never see". You know - the moon rotates around the earth and also around itself at the same speed which causes one side of it constantly pointing towards us.

Thing is - the other side of the moon isn't dark. When we have a half moon then the other side has a half moon too. When we have a new moon the other side is fully illuminated and so on - it's just that usually no one is there to see it. :)

But wait, there is more - actually the other side of the moon is the brighter one. No, really. Is it because of different minerals on the moon's surface on the other side? Or maybe, because (if you think about it) the other side of the moon gets closer to the sun while the moon orbits earth? Well, while the second one actually might make a difference I doubt it is too big, no - I mean something different:

See, there's something that happens on our side of the moon - quite often too, astronomically speaking - that never ever happens on the other side. Lunar eclipses. A lunar eclipse happens each time when the earth comes between the moon and the sun - roughly once a month - and blocks out the sunlight hitting the moon.

This never ever happens on the other side - so actually, on average, it IS the "Bright Side of the Moon".

Is that a really important, revolutionary piece of insight? No, I guess not, but I still do feel a little smug now. :)