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Over the Moon

November 6, 2013

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Take a trip over the Moon with the newest edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids! We have some facts, folklore, and fun all about the Moon. No, it isn’t made of cheese!


The Moon in View

• We see the same side, or hemisphere, of the Moon all the time because Earth’s gravity has slowed the Moon’s rotation; now one Moon rotation and one Moon revolution around Earth take the same amount of time.
• The surface of the Moon may appear to be silvery gray, white, or pale yellow, but it is primarily charcoal gray. The presence of iron oxide creates reds, and titanium oxide introduces shades of blue. A full Moon may appear orange because Earth’s atmosphere acts as a filter, minimizing the blues.
• Moondust, also called lunar regolith, is retroreflective. Like a road sign, it reflects light back to the source (the Sun). Some sunlight rays bounce off the Moon and travel to Earth. During a full Moon, Earth is roughly in the same direction as the Sun, so it receives more reflected sunlight than at other times.

Did You Know?

• Moonlight: a term that refers to holding a second job, usually at night.
• Moonflower: A member of the morning glory family, it blooms in the evening and usually closes by morning.
• Moon jellyfish: Found in abundance in the mid–Atlantic Ocean, it has an 18-inch-diameter umbrella, or disc, that resembles a flying saucer.

The Moon’s Full Name

• The English word “moon” comes from the Old English mona.
• In Italian, Latin, and Spanish, the orb is called luna, for the Roman Moon goddess.
• In French, the word for moon is lune.
• Germans use mond.

Lunar Lore

Myths and legends about the Moon abound. While they are not scientific, they have a long and colorful history. Here are a few:
• Build a fence when the Moon is setting, and the bottom rail will be buried in 3 years.
• Plant corn when the Moon is rising, and you will have a very tall stalk with the ear hanging straight down the stalk so that no water can enter.
• Plant potatoes when the Moon is setting, or the crop will be shallow and every potato will be badly sunburned.
• Nails and hair grow faster if cut by the light of the Moon.

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