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The Moon - Importance of the Moon

One result of the tidal effects of the Earth on the Moon is synchronous rotation. You may have noticed already that the Moon always keeps one face to us - that we never see the Dark Side of the Moon (that famous double-platinum rock album by Pink Floyd not withstanding).

Time is a result of our lunar observations.

Be careful in assuming the Moon does not rotate. On the contrary, rotation of the moon is the same period of orbit of the Moon - 29 and a half days. This time looks pretty familiar - 1 month on the "lunar" calendar. A standard month is based on one complete lifecycle of the Moon. There are variations:

  • A Blue Moon
  • A Harvest Moon

Specifically, a Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs around September 23:

  • This represents the autumnal equinox
  • Also occurs in the Southern Hemisphere, but around March 21
  • Orbit of the Moon is lowest at this time so the full Moon appears to rise quicker
  • Because of the low orbit, the full Moon appears to rise the same time for the next few successive days

A Blue Moon does not describe its color, but the rare event of two full moons occurring in one month - hence the phrase "once in a blue moon." A typical month is 30 to 31 days while a lunar month is about 29.5 days. One can see why this is a pretty rare event.

Life is a result of the tidal forces of the Moon.

Isaac Asimov wrote in his "Tragedy of the Moon" 1972, that life evolved in the sea did not want to move to land. There was no reason to, no movements to force the life forms to the surface.

One look at tide pools and one can understand the purpose of this statement - that we do life in a unique environment:

This site is not designed to argue the existence of life only on Earth or other matters of divine influence - that is best left to the forums. What we do have is proof that life did begin in the sea, by the most early fossils of life on Earth, and it can be argued that tidal forces swept up this life onto the land. The image of the tide pool above shows a short-lived Universe in and of itself.

One thing is certain - tide pools like this one will not exist without Lunar influence.

For a more detailed look at the process of tidal forces, be sure to take a look at the Science section, under Physics.

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