21st December One Day Blog Hop - Casting Light upon the Darkness

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Myths and Truths about the Moon

One of the things I love about writing is research. It always amazes me where an idea can take you, and what new and interesting (to me, anyway) facts, or not-so-true beliefs are out there. Of course, research, much like casting light upon the darkness*, is a chicken and egg thing – which one comes first?

The other thing about research is it’s an iceberg, or should be anyway. As much as any writer knows (or finds out) about something, only the bare minimum of that knowledge needs to find its way into the story. But enough of that, this isn't a story but myths and truths about the moon - some of which may, or may not, find their way into a story, at some point (probably in the next Spellcrackers book! *teases*) :-D

The Myths and Truths!

The Dark Side of the Moon (when we're not talking about Pink Floyd) - Myth

Like the Earth, the moon rotates on its own axis, so, like Earth it has days when it’s facing the sun, and nights when it isn’t. But, as each of the moon’s rotations take the same amount of time as it takes to orbit Earth, we on Earth only ever see the nearest to us side of the moon, making it seem as if the far side is dark. Of course, to actually see the far side, we’d have to take a trip into space (which doesn’t happen too often) so all manner of dark things could be going on up there, and we’d never know! :-D

Pic from here with thanks!
The Man in the Moon - Truth!

Eugene (Gene) Merle Shoemaker (April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997), was buried on the moon on 31st July, 1999. Gene was a geologist and co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife. His ashes were taken to the moon by the Lunar Prospector space probe, in a brass capsule, inscribed with this quotation from Romeo and Juliet:

 "And, when he shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun." 

So, truth . . .

Okay, I’m probably stretching it a bit here, since 'the Man in the Moon' is actually dead, but hey, his ghostly spirit could be having a lot of fun up there, otherwise why go all that way to get buried! *g*

The Moon is Perfectly Round - Myth

Full moons look round to us but the moon is an oblate spheroid which is more like the shape of a slightly flattened ball/crossed with a bird’s egg. Only the smaller end of the ‘bird’s egg’ is on the far side of the moon, so looking from Earth, we can’t see it. Hopefully, no large alien with a super-huge spoon comes along and has a go at cracking it! The moon has eight phases – True!

Image from here with thanks: http://space-facts.com/the-moon/ 

And I just love the word gibbous! Now I want to use it to describe a character! :-)

The dictionary definitions are:

1 a : marked by convexity or swelling
b of the moon or a planet : seen with more than half but not all of the apparent disk illuminated
2 : having a hump : humpbacked
Origin of GIBBOUS Middle English, from Late Latin gibbosus humpbacked, from Latin gibbus hump
First Known Use: 14th century

Full Moon Madness (aka Lycanthropy) - Myth!

Yes, ’tis a myth! What? Of course it is? Shapeshifters don't exist, right? Right! :-D

The full moon doesn’t cause any of the bizarre or crazy events! It’s a proven scientific fact that the moon doesn’t have any physical, gravitational pull on people, and so it’s not responsible for any upswing in violence and crime, or mild-mannered Americans turning in to werewolves. Though there are some statistics that seem to show that this does occur when there’s a full moon (Not the werewolf bit, but the excess of crazy and violent bits), but we all know about the truth of statistics*, don’t we? So, sadly, that werewolf I saw loping through my garden last full moon was just a figment of my imagination . . . *looks shifty* 

Blue Moon’s aren’t Blue – True!

A blue moon is when the werewolves get a second chance at running amok— umm, sorry *curbs imagination* *resumes* A blue moon is when we get a second full moon in a calendar month, which happens every two or three years. It’s called a blue moon because it’s a rare occurrence, hence the saying ‘once in a blue moon’. And while a blue moon isn’t named for its colour, the moon can, in fact, sometimes look blue, which is down to atmospheric conditions (volcanic eruptions/large fires). So, we now have the chicken and egg conundrum – did the saying come first, or the monika? Answers on a postcard of the moon, please! (aka in the comments) *g*

*given enough massaging of selected data, statistics can tell us exactly what we want them too. And, yes, since you ask, I can be that cynical ;p

*or is it the darkness swallowing the light ...  And hey, I got the theme in. Sort of. Right? Right! *g*

And talking about the theme, and the blog hop - check out all these fabulous blog hop posts below!

  1. Helen Hollick : A little light relief concerning those dark reviews! Plus a Giveaway Prize
  2. Prue Batten : Casting Light....
  3. Alison Morton  : Shedding light on the Roman dusk  - Plus a Giveaway Prize! 
  4. Anna Belfrage  : Let there be light!
  5. Beth Elliott : Steering by the Stars. Stratford Canning in Constantinople, 1810/12
  6. Melanie Spiller : Lux Aeterna, the chant of eternal light
  7. Janet Reedman   The Winter Solstice Monuments
  8. Petrea Burchard  : Darkness - how did people of the past cope with the dark? Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  9. Richard Denning The Darkest Years of the Dark Ages: what do we really know? Plus a Giveaway Prize! 
  10. Pauline Barclay  : Shedding Light on a Traditional Pie
  11. David Ebsworth : Propaganda in the Spanish Civil War
  12. David Pilling  :  Greek Fire -  Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  13. Debbie Young : Fear of the Dark
  14. Derek Birks  : Lies, Damned Lies and … Chronicles
  15. Mark Patton : Casting Light on Saturnalia
  16. Tim Hodkinson : Soltice@Newgrange
  17. Wendy Percival  : Ancestors in the Spotlight
  18. Judy Ridgley : Santa and his elves  Plus a Giveaway Prize
  19. Katherine Bone   : Admiral Nelson, A Light in Dark Times
  20. Christina Courtenay : The Darkest Night of the Year
  21. Edward James  : The secret life of Christopher Columbus; Which Way to Paradise?
  22. Janis Pegrum Smith  : Into The Light - A Short Story
  23. Julian Stockwin  : Ghost Ships - Plus a Giveaway Present
  24. Manda Scott : Dark into Light - Mithras, and the older gods
  25. Pat Bracewell Anglo-Saxon Art: Splendor in the Dark
  26. Lucienne Boyce : We will have a fire - 18th Century protests against enclosure
  27. Nicole Evelina What Lurks Beneath Glastonbury Abbey? 
  28. Sky Purington  :  How the Celts Cast Light on Current American Christmas Traditions
  29. Stuart MacAllister (Sir Read A Lot) : The Darkness of Depression
Thank you for visiting - wishing you light and laughter for the Winter Solstice!


    Blodeuedd said...

    It sure is dark now here in Finland :/

    Suzanne McLeod said...

    We used to live in Scotland, and the days always were awful short this time of year - must be even shorter for you. {hugs} x

    Debbie Young said...

    Gotta love a gibbous moon -great phrase. Handy chart, too - I shall now remember waxing and waning the right way round by thinking of wane and wax appearing in alphabetical order from left to right. Excellent!

    Debbie Young said...

    Gibbous moon - great phrase! Handy chart, too - and now I think I will remember which is waxing and which is waning by thinking of them in alphabetical order, from left to right to match the bit of the moon that's showing. Excellent!

    Beth Elliott said...

    A nice bunch of ideas to set the imagination working and I agree that 'gibbous' is wonderfully evocative. It could describe my cat's middle section after he's finished his supper.

    Suzanne McLeod said...

    Glad you enjoyed, Debbie! (And sorry about the comment moderation/captcha; it shouldn't have been on. I've changed it now, thanks for letting me know :-)

    Suzanne McLeod said...

    Glad you enjoyed, Beth! And yes! I can picture your cat, and his supper-filled middle! *g*

    Lucienne Boyce said...

    Thanks Suzanne for explaining all about the moon – though I have to say I love a good myth (where did you see the werewolf?).

    Suzanne McLeod said...

    Glad you enjoyed, Lucienne! And the 'werewolf' was passing through under the nearly full moon, or so the Hound told me ... *g*

    Anonymous said...

    Very nice - even if I would prefer believing shape-shifting can happen;)or maybe not... I actually have a friend who insists she is affected by the full moon. Me, I merely enjoy it.

    David Ebsworth said...

    Thanks Suzanne. I had no idea about the Gene Shoemaker story. I'll save that one for the next family quiz!

    Suzanne McLeod said...

    Annabelfrage, our old dog used to be affected by the full moon; we were pretty sure she thought she was a werewolf in disguise as she was much more fractious *g* So maybe you're friend is right, and it does affect her ;-D

    Suzanne McLeod said...

    David: Good idea! *steals it* And glad you enjoyed :-)

    Pat Bracewell said...

    Loved this post! Thank you so much for the visual info on the moon's 8 phases (still working on getting those right), and especially for the story about Gene Shoemaker. I knew somebody was up there; thought it was Ray Bradbury so I'm happy to be enlightened.

    Petrea Burchard said...

    So much fun. Really? Someone's ashes buried on the moon? I want to do that. Or maybe Mars.

    Helen Hollick said...

    over the moon with this Suzanne - fascinating!

    Anonymous said...

    Great post! Love the information about the guy buried on the moon.

    Christina Courtenay said...

    Great to find out more about the moon - I love looking at it, especially a harvest moon!

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