The Moon Balloons
I never knew that the moon changed size. Well, it doesn’t really; it just gets closer sometimes thanks to the moon’s orbit. And over this weekend it got pretty much the closest to Earth that it can, for the first time in over 18 years. The perigee moon, as it is officially called, can seem 30% brighter and be up to 14% bigger because it is 31,000 miles closer to Earth than it is at its most distant point.
This news fascinated me so here are seven more moon related facts.
- More babies are born on a new moon than at any other time.
- There is a lot of evidence of more strange or extreme behaviour at new moon time from organisations like the police and ambulance services. Famously, the mythical werewolves also go rock’n’roll at this time.
- People don’t know why but low moons – ones nearer the horizon – look much larger if seen through something in the foreground, like a tree.
- The earth rotates 100 times faster than the moon.
- Tides in the seas and oceans are caused by the gravitational interaction between the Earth, the sun and the moon. A perigee moon can cause higher tides, between 3 and 15cm, but no natural disasters although more people do need to get rescued by the coast guard.
- We only ever see one side of the moon and at most can only see about 60% of it.
- The darker ‘shadows’ on the moon are actually caused by craters filled with basalt, which looks darker because it is much denser.
Moon Words and Idioms
Here are some common words or idioms in English related to the moon.
- A lunatic is another word for a crazy person and comes from the Latin for moon. More informally, you might here a loon or he’s loony, which obviously come from lunatic.
- Michael Jackson popularised the moonwalk dance, which is probably called that because it seems like you are walking without gravity.
- Once in a blue moon is an idiom which means very, very rarely. It is in fact also a scientific term meaning a calendar month with two full moons.
- To be over the moon means to be very, very happy or delighted by something.
- To ask for the moon is to ask for something impossible or unreasonable. You might also hear to ask the earth
- To moon about/over something or somebody is when you are sad or dreamy because of somebody or something.
- To moony somebody is when you show somebody your naked bottom as a joke or as a sign of disapproval.