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View Diary: Paul's Book Reviews: Science Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Anthology (10 comments)

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  •  One question: Dark Side or Far Side of the Moon? (6+ / 0-)

    I hear this every so often and it always annoys me.

    Far Side is a definite place, the half of the Moon that's always facing away from the Earth. The Moon is spin locked so that as it orbits around the Earth, it rotates just fast enough to keep the same side always turned to the Earth - and the far side pointed away.

    The Dark Side is the name that gets slapped on Far Side all the time (Pink Floyd's fault?) but it's wrong. At any given time (except for a lunar eclipse) one half of the moon is always in darkness - but it's not the same half. The Moon does rotate so all parts of it pass from daylight into night and out again. (Not counting the areas in craters at the poles that are so deep, they're always in shadow.)

    We don't think of a Dark Side of the Earth - at least in terms of geography - because we're used to the sun setting and rising as night follows day. The same thing happens on the Moon - but more slowly. The lunar day and night last the time it takes the Moon to go around the Earth once in its orbit.

    There's a great animation of it here. While the Moon 'wobbles' a bit in its orbit, you can see it keeps pretty much the same face pointed at us as the shadow of night sweeps around it

    Enough words. This video shows it very clearly.

    Sorry for ranting about this, but you have no idea how it hurts real estate values on the Moon every time someone makes it sound like the far side of the Moon is always in darkness.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:19:24 AM PST

    •  Xaxnar, I borrowed the book from the library (0+ / 0-)

      ... and turned it in weeks ago, so can't easily check whether the author called it the dark side or if it was just me misremembering. I certainly apologize to Reynolds if he correctly called it the far side. I agree with you that it's important to correct the error.

      One error I didn't get into was how Reynolds had his characters traveling to and working on moons and planets with greatly different gravitational pulls while suffering no apparent ill effects. We know enough now to know this will be a very big issue ... if, that is, we ever venture out again.

      •  No problem - and thanks for responding. (1+ / 0-)
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        mythatsme

        Here's a quote attributed to Neil deGrasse Tyson:

        Astro-educators remain busy undoing damage caused by 1973 hit album "Dark Side of the Moon." Nope. All sides get sunlight.
        Much longer explanation by Tyson here.

        As to jumping back and forth between gravitational fields of different strengths, a human, an android, and a belt-ape ride a mag-lev tube train on Mars* with differing results.

        * the locals call it Huoxing. Guess whose space program got people there first.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:52:50 PM PST

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