Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dark side of the Moon

A silly letter to the editor says:
Column gets moon fact wrong

In Nick Thomas' Sept. 16 column, "Neil Armstrong goes home," he writes, "If you haven't heard that Neil Armstrong passed away ... you've probably been living on the dark side of the moon." I'd just like to point out that, in spite of the Pink Floyd album by the same name, there is no dark side of the moon. There is a far side, which is not visible from Earth, but it receives just as much sunlight as the near side. I think Mr. Thomas does Neil Armstrong a disservice by propagating this common misconception about our celestial neighbor.

Ken Grunstra, Santa Cruz
The Far side of the Moon is indeed the dark side to the Earth. The word "dark" here also means hidden, obscure, unknown, or cut off from Earth communications. If Armstrong had landed on the dark side, then he would not have been able to send video images to Earth. We also have phrases like the Dark Ages, which means a period in the Middle Ages where we have lousy historical records compared to early Roman times and later times. The Dark Ages are not called dark because of a misconception about how much the Sun was shining.

The famous Bad Astronomer also complains about the Dark Side. It is just a simple idiom.

No comments: