The Moon: Changes

ambience: Chinese first moon ceremony

We’re listening to the sounds of a Chinese first Moon ceremony… just one of the ancient rituals the world over celebrating our human fascination with the moon. Those of us who spend our evenings under electric lights may have lost sight of the moon and her many faces. Maybe it’s time to get reacquainted. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“If you stop a person in the street and say what’s the moon look like right now, they don’t have clue. But it’s something which is a great way to sort of enter into the world of amateur astronomy and stargazing and skywatching.”

If you want to do a little moongazing, Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory says take a minute to look at the sky on these January nights and you’ll be reminded that from hour to hour, and night to night, the moon is never quite the same.

“The moon goes through a series of changes on a nightly basis. It’s appearance goes from a crescent moon to a half moon, which is technically known as first quarter, then it goes to a kind of fatter moon which is called a gibbous moon, up to full moon and then those phases reverse themselves in the morning sky and finally a thin crescent disappears around the time of the new moon and the cycle begins again. The second way the moon’s appearance changes is its apparent location in the sky. Now an evening crescent moon is always located in the Northern Hemisphere, in the Southwestern part of the sky, and as the moon’s phase increases, its position shifts further towards the east from night to night. There is also a seasonal change, which affects the altitude of the moon. Most people notice that the full moon is highest in the sky in the wintertime and it’s lowest in the sky in the summer.”

We’ll hear more on the winter moon, in our next program. If you’d like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.

The Moon: Changes

From appearance to position in the night sky, the moon goes through changes that are especially noticeable during these winter months.
Air Date:01/08/2001
Scientist:
Transcript:


ambience: Chinese first moon ceremony

We're listening to the sounds of a Chinese first Moon ceremony... just one of the ancient rituals the world over celebrating our human fascination with the moon. Those of us who spend our evenings under electric lights may have lost sight of the moon and her many faces. Maybe it's time to get reacquainted. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"If you stop a person in the street and say what’s the moon look like right now, they don’t have clue. But it's something which is a great way to sort of enter into the world of amateur astronomy and stargazing and skywatching."

If you want to do a little moongazing, Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory says take a minute to look at the sky on these January nights and you'll be reminded that from hour to hour, and night to night, the moon is never quite the same.

"The moon goes through a series of changes on a nightly basis. It’s appearance goes from a crescent moon to a half moon, which is technically known as first quarter, then it goes to a kind of fatter moon which is called a gibbous moon, up to full moon and then those phases reverse themselves in the morning sky and finally a thin crescent disappears around the time of the new moon and the cycle begins again. The second way the moon’s appearance changes is its apparent location in the sky. Now an evening crescent moon is always located in the Northern Hemisphere, in the Southwestern part of the sky, and as the moon’s phase increases, its position shifts further towards the east from night to night. There is also a seasonal change, which affects the altitude of the moon. Most people notice that the full moon is highest in the sky in the wintertime and it’s lowest in the sky in the summer."

We'll hear more on the winter moon, in our next program. If you'd like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.