The Moon

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The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon May 02, 2011 4:56 pm

Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight by James Attlee – review

A rationalist tries to pin down the moon's lure but finds himself succumbing to its mysterious charm

Bella Bathurst The Observer, Sunday 1 May 2011


An almost full moon rises behind the Tijerflue mountain in Arosa, Switzerland. Photograph: Alessandro Della Bella/EPA

When the astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he realised that if he raised his hand to within a few inches of his face and looked out into the velvet depths, he could blot out the Earth with his thumb. "Did that make you feel big?" asked an interviewer afterwards. "No," Armstrong replied, "it made me feel really, really small."


Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight by James Attlee

All the men who made the journey from Earth to moon came back altered. Some went mad, some vanished, some got God, some got art, most got divorced and some simply accepted that everything in their lives from then on would be a pale shade of that incandescent experience. It was not life on Earth which shone for them any more, it was moonlight's "pale fire".

James Attlee has gone in search of that same light, although publishing budgets being what they are, his quest takes him not to the lunar surface itself but to Japan, Naples and Las Vegas. "If you asked what it was that inspired me to write about moonlight," he writes at the beginning, "I would tell you that it was not the moon at all but an absence of moon."

The moon always seems passive; it has no light of its own and no apparent strength to resist our nightly blitzkriegs of striplights and neon. But fear of its supernatural-seeming qualities has touched mankind's history since the beginning. Nor has that superstition entirely died out. Benito Mussolini so feared sleeping in places where moonbeams could fall on his face that he kept the blinds drawn even during the hottest Roman summers.

His ideological compatriot, Rudolf Hess, spent much of his 21 years in Spandau dreaming of the moon and corresponding with Nasa, which appears to have indulged his astronomical passions as much as it did those of Wernher von Braun, architect both of the murderous V2 rocket programme and of the Apollo space programme.

Attlee moves on, first to Kyoto and then up Vesuvius, searching for clarity in the works of Goethe and Picasso. But it is when he reaches America that the book really lifts off. Lit like Christmas every day of the year, Las Vegas no longer bothers with irritating environmental design faults such as night and day. It's built to offer a completely fake space, a windless, rainless, changeless place far beyond reach of the human body clock.

Forced by the sheer sod-you chutzpah of the city's artificiality into a kind of grudging delight, Attlee moves on to Tucson's Interstellar Light Collector, a giant moonbeam-scoop reputed to help heal everything from asthma to short-sightedness. Thwarted by clouds, Attlee has to make do with the reports of others, who inform him unhelpfully that standing in concentrated moonlight is "like drinking five hundred cups of coffee, but without the jitters" or "like a wind that is not blowing".

Attlee is generally a good-natured guide, at once open-eyed and sceptical, but once in a while his equilibrium vanishes. Anything he perceives as hippie nonsense, such as astrology or wind chimes, really gets him going – "What is it with human beings and sound? Why aren't we ever content to just shut the fuck up?" Most of the time, his outbursts are just funny, but as the book progresses an increasing friction builds between his chosen subject and his lifelong views.

The trouble is that there is almost no way of writing about moonlight without being drawn towards the old mysteries. Does a full moon really alter our behaviour? Is it possible that moonlight can heal? Did people see the word "Love" printed on the moon's surface? Is the moon really just a hole in space through which the radiance of other worlds can shine?

Attlee's conflict is that he's chosen to write a rationalist's guide to a thoroughly irrational subject. Too temperate to ignore the more exotic theories but too squeamish to embrace them, he ends up stuck in theoretical orbit, never quite making contact with his true goal. It seems a little obtuse, for instance, to write a whole book about moonlight and its magical drag on humanity while dismissing the possibility that any other planet might have an effect on us. Still, it's a measure of his extreme skill as a writer and his devotion to his subject that he manages to turn the frustration of such an approach into an asset.

There's something wistful in Attlee's mission, a lost-boy desire to return to a darker state of grace before street-lights or wind chimes stripped away the night's beguilements, leaving us, "condemned to simmer in our own electronic bouillabaisse".

Nocturne is a lovely, thoughtful, limpid work and if Attlee never quite gets to the point of illumination, then his particular space flight is still definitely worth the ride.

Bella Bathurst's The Bicycle Book is published by HarperPress

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon May 02, 2011 5:00 pm

"Is lunacy caused by gravity?" thread from the old ATU site: see below.



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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon May 02, 2011 5:03 pm

What remains of the "Tonight sees the biggest Moon since 1992" thread from the old ATU site:

LINK EXPIRED


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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:22 pm

^

"Is lunacy caused by gravity?" thread replicated below in the event of link expiry:

******************************************************************

Clock this:



The Full Moon, as observed from the Earth.



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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:24 pm

Eddie wrote:

think I've mentioned Patrick here before, a psychiatrist I once met on a writing course who worked in a mental hospital.

I was intrigued to learn from Patrick's experience that around the period of the Full Moon it became necessary to increase the medication of the increasingly distressed patients.

Night Club bouncers, Accident & Emergency nurses, Police officers and, yes, Transport workers have similar stories to tell.

Why should this be?

A tentative syllogism:

1. The Moon has a powerful gravitational effect on bodies of water- cf. the tides.
2. Our own bodies largely consist of water.
3. ERGO: the Moon has a powerful effect on us.

Lunatic derives from Luna. Werewolf lore. Horticulturalists plant seeds according to the lunar cycle. Animals howl at it. Fishermen net eels by it.

A vulnerable, suffering person is going to be particularly affected by the Moon's gravity, n'est-ce pas?

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:25 pm

John McLaughlin wrote:

Mirrors also. Your syllogism was totally accepted in ancient and medieval times. It's only since the Enlightenment that people have pooh-poohed it. People unaffected by the moon's pull, that is.

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:31 pm

Eddie wrote:

John McLaughlin wrote:
Mirrors also.


Huh?
scratch

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:33 pm

Eddie wrote:

PMT (Pre-Moon Tension), anyone? I dunno, ask Hecate- or, better still, Wiki:

The word "menstruation" is etymologically related to "moon". The terms "menstruation" and "menses" are derived from the Latin mensis (month), which in turn relates to the Greek mene (moon) and to the roots of the English words month and moon— reflecting the fact that the moon's period of revolution around the earth (27.32 days) is similar to that of the human menstrual cycle. The synodical lunar month, the period between two new moons (or full moons), is 29.53 days long.

Some authors believe women in traditional societies without nightlighting ovulated with the full moon and menstruated with the new moon. A few studies in both humans and animals have found that artificial light at night does influence the menstrual cycle in humans and the estrus cycle in mice (cycles are more regular in the absence of artificial light at night), though none have demonstrated the synchronization of women's menstrual cycles with the lunar cycle. It has also been suggested that bright light exposure in the morning promotes more regular cycles. One author has suggested that sensitivity of women's cycles to nightlighting is caused by nutritional deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals.

Other animals' menstrual cycles may be greatly different from lunar cycles: while the average cycle length in orangutans is the same as in humans—28 days—the average for chimpanzees is 35 days. Some take this as evidence that the average length of humans' cycle is most likely a coincidence.


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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:40 pm


The Phases of the Moon, as seen from the northern hemisphere.

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:42 pm

Eddie wrote:

The date of the Christian feast-day of Easter is determined by the lunar cycle; Easter is a "moveable feast".

I asked around at work but nobody could tell me why a crescent moon appears on mosques.

What I'm driving at here is a possible misinterpretation by religious folk of their energised feelings of renewal on such feast days. Could it all be down to the phase of the Moon, as the Pagans maintain?


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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:43 pm

Eddie wrote:

Here's a link to an explication of WB Yeats' poetry volume "The Phases of the Moon":

http://www.yeatsvision.com/Phases.html

Mr & Mrs Yeats, both keen atrologers, were members of the esoteric society "The Order of the Golden Dawn"


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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:46 pm

John McLaughlin wrote:

Eddie wrote:
John McLaughlin wrote:
Mirrors also.


Huh?


I threw that in to throw you off, but lunatics were kept away from mirrors in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, esp at the full moon. (That's the medical advice I have my Physician give the friend of the wounded Knight in "THe Gypsy Knights," to avoid his going insane over his maimed appearance - even tho ladies didn't mind a rugged scar or two as evidence of manliness - hence German dueling scars. But I digress. How is the moon tonight in Australia, Cathy?)

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:48 pm

Goat Smith wrote:

Quote:
1. The Moon has a powerful gravitational effect on bodies of water- cf. the tides.



Which is always present no matter the phase. Gravity hasn't much to do with it.

But just think if the moon were closer or a little bigger. How full can a full moon get? Hell, we can only take so much reflection.

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:49 pm

John McLaughlin wrote: You obviously know nothing about tides.

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:51 pm

Goat Smith wrote:

The tides have nothing to do with the phases of the moon. They come and they go. It doesn't matter how much of the moon is shiny.
I'm not suprised that you think it does though. Cheerio


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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:53 pm

John McLaughlin wrote:

Yes, I imagine you are. This might be helpful for you; OTOH, I'm sure you have a rebuttal to its statements, and I'd be interested to see you display the extent of your knowledge of the matter:

http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moontides/

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:56 pm

Pinhedz wrote:

Maybe this will help:
-- the tides come in and go out daily;
-- the full moon comes once a month.
There's no correlation between the two.

Did that help? No?

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Re: The Moon

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:58 pm

John McLaughlin wrote:

Another ignoramus from the peanut gallery. You've never been to sea, I take it, on a ship that has to get into a harbor too shallow except at the highest of tides for the draft of your vessel or must anchor out in the roads - whatever those are, right? Keep talking. This is unintentionally enlightening.

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Re: The Moon

Post  pinhedz on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:17 pm

We need the explanation of neap tides and spring tides that was on page 2.

You see, when the sun, the earth and the moon are all in a straight line, the effects of the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon reinforce each other ...

More on that tomorrow. study

[Anyway, when the moon is full, the tides are exactly the same as when the moon is dark]

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Re: The Moon

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:26 am

We are having an eclipse of the moon tonight, around 9 p.m. UK time. Apparently, it will turn the moon red? In London it is very cloudy, so I may not see it?

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Re: The Moon

Post  pinhedz on Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:43 am

Nah Ville Sky Chick wrote:We are having an eclipse of the moon tonight, around 9 p.m. UK time. Apparently, it will turn the moon red? In London it is very cloudy, so I may not see it?
During an eclipse, you know that the sun, the moon, and the earth are all in a straight line, so the pull of the sun and the pull of the moon will be in the same direction, so the tides will be at their maximum. geek

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Re: The Moon

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:51 am

Apparently there was a lunar eclipse a few days ago...


http://www.boston.com/bigpicture (great site)

Lunar eclipse of December 10, 2011
The longest lunar eclipse in over ten years animated the night sky on December 10. The red hue resulted from the sun's light passing through the earth's atmosphere. Viewers in Asia had the best view of the total eclipse, while those watching in Europe saw part of it at moonrise, and North Americans caught part of it as the moon set. It was not visible in South America or Antarctica. The next total eclipse will occur in 2014. -- Lane Turner


The moon casts a reddish hue over Lake Pend Oreille during a lunar eclipse as it begins to set behind the Selkirk Mountain Range near Sandpoint, Idaho on December 10, 2011. (Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters)


A composite of 12 pictures shows a full lunar eclipse over the skies in Hefei, China on December 10, 2011. The moon turns red as the shadow falls on it during the eclipse. (Stringer/Reuters)


A lunar eclipse is seen in the sky beside a statue of Buddha in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka on December 10, 2011. (Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

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Re: The Moon

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:52 am


A partial lunar eclipse is seen from the Roman pillars of the Temple of Hercules in Amman December 2011. (Ali Jarekji/Reuters)


The earth's shadow falls on the moon as it undergoes a total lunar eclipse viewed through the arch supports of the Sydney Harbor Bridge December 11, 2011. (Tim Wimborne/Reuters)


The earth's shadow falls on the moon as it emerges from a total lunar eclipse above the entrance to a theme park in Sydney on December 11, 2011. (Tim Wimborne/Reuters)

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Re: The Moon

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:52 am


A partial lunar eclipse rises above the Tokyo Tower on December 10, 2011. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)


The Earth casts its shadow across the moon during the lunar eclipse in New Delhi on December 10, 2011. (Saurabh Das/AP)


A full moon lunar eclipse passes over Karachi on December 10, 2011. (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images)

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Re: The Moon

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:53 am


Israelis look at the full lunar eclipse appearing above the Judean desert from Mount Scopus in Jerusalem on December 10, 2011. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)


People view the lunar eclipse as it shines above the Hollywood sign at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles December 10, 2011. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)


A shooting star darts across the sky during a lunar eclipse over the entrance to Hawkeye Ranch near Geyserville, Calif. on December 10, 2011. (Santa Rosa Press Democrat/AP)

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