Did you know....? Full Moon

 

The skies have been pretty cloudy here in Paris lately, but hopefully the clouds will part on Thursday evening in time to see the full moon!

But what is a full moon?

Let's start with the basics: we often hear people saying things like 'ooh, the moon is bright tonight', or books that describe how 'the lovers kissed in the moonlight', but the moon doesn't actually create any light; it's just a big lump of rock that reflects light from the sun. I could have spent ages finding a really snazzy diagram, but this one is:

a) from a Geocities site. Remember Geocities?!

b) clearly mostly made using MS Paint. Remember Paint?! I LOVE the use of the spray can function! Hyper-realistic sun rays, woohoo!

 
 
 Image credit: http://www.geocities.ws/ms_lam6/rinaldo-science-moonphases.html

Image credit: http://www.geocities.ws/ms_lam6/rinaldo-science-moonphases.html

 
 

In short, the moon is just cheating, and reflects light from the sun rather than creating light itself. A bit like my pasty white legs in the summer!

A 'full moon' occurs when the Earth is directly between the moon and the sun, as demonstrated by a fancier diagram by the helpful folks at HyperPhysics:

 
 
 Image credit: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Solar/moonphase.html

Image credit: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Solar/moonphase.html

 
 

A full moon occurs once every ~29 days, which is why it's not on the same day every month. Bizarrely, the time it takes for the moon to rotate on its axis is exactly the same time it takes for the moon to orbit the earth. This means that we only ever see one side of the moon, because the far side is always facing away from us. The far side of the moon has long been rumoured to host alien bases, but photographs taken in the 1950s have shown that, in fact, the only thing on the far side of the moon is....more moon!

 

What's that you say? Where can you find some awesomely accurate lunar jewellery to aid you when you're explaining all these facts to your friends and family? Look no further, I have you covered: