Why Doesn’t Anybody Know?

north-pole-moon2When in the process of getting my Associates degree at Cumberland U, I took a 4-hour Physical Science class. In it we studied the moon, it’s phases, and its revolutions around Mother Earth.

I was intrigued by this brief ( about 2 pages in the textbook) study. There are also so many cool things related to, associated with, and going on with ole Mr Moon: the tides (which is is study in itself),crazy things that humans supposedly do during the full moon, werewolves, eclipses, and children’s fables like the man in the moon and the moon being made of cheese. I would guess there’s way more interesting stuff about the moon than the sun.

I was and am most intrigued by the relationship between the moon, sun and the earth. This relationship, of course, causes the different phases of the moon. I also was fascinated by the fact that the moon is in the sky a lot  during daylight hours. I found that the moon rises an hour later each night, eventually rising during the day. I learned that the moon goes through it’s complete cycle every 29 1/2 days. Also, after some study, I realized that the moon and it’s phases are as reliable as clockwork, like the sun. Well, why wouldn’t it be though? God made it for that purpose.    Genesis 1:14 : “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.”

I found out that sometime the moon is 30,000 miles closer to the earth than at other times. That’s why sometime it looks so gigantic up in the sky. Finally, after closely watching the moon for a couple of months, I was struck hard by the absolute majesty and great beauty of the moon in it’s different phases and sizes, especially the full moon low on the horizon, and in daylight against a brilliant blue sky.

Of course, we all learned just about all these things in  6th grade Science? Judging by my informal surveys though, most of us weren’t paying attention. It’s hilarious what reasonably smart people say when I ask them what causes the various phases of the moon. The most prevalent, though not hilarious, is that the earth casts a shadow on the moon in different ways.

So, why does the moon appear as it does in it’s different phases? It’s all a result of the angle you observe it from (here in Nashville for instance vs being in Australia) , where the moon is in the sky as a result of it’s daily trek around the earth, and the fact that we always only see one side of the moon (remember it’s out there pretty far in the sky!). For example, if it’s between the earth and the sun, the sun would be shining on the opposite side therefore we wouldn’t see the illuminated side at all. That’s the new moon phase, when you can’t see it at all (actually  you can see it if you look really hard) In contrast, if the earth is between the sun and moon,  we see the moon’s one side fully lit, the full moon. All the other phases are simply a result of seeing different portions, pieces, or slices illuminated, but only seeing that particular portion that’s facing the sun. I guess that’s the most confusing thing, that the moon is still illuminated by the sun even when we are in darkness. Just think about every time you look at it, that the slice you see is the only part that’s getting lit  by the sun.

And that’s our science lesson for today.

OK. So, I had to reference my old science book just once.

Observe the moon for a month or two, every day and night. Learn more about this magnificent piece of God’s handiwork  that’s right there all the time, right under our noses ,that he’s given us to enjoy.

Here’s a link that has a couple of cool moon tidbits:



2 Responses to “Why Doesn’t Anybody Know?”

  1. E Bumstead Says:

    … and let’s not forget the occasional phase that we may see hanging out a car window … butt seriously!

    Good stuff bro! It is a good thing to contemplate the awesomeness of God’s creation. It is truly a blessing.

  2. schmoffly Says:

    Alright man, time to get something new rolling!

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