February 6, 2012

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Pole Moon

image by Thilo Schramm, Kiel, Germany

Wouldn't it be convenient if the Moon were somehow at the North Pole? A fixed telescope could point to it day or night - a telescope mount would have no moving parts. Would a polar Moon exhibit phases? No, because its position with respect to the Sun wouldn't change. Would we see both near and far sides? If it continued to rotate all sides would be visible to us, but would the Moon be oriented with its north pole pointing to the north so that we would only see the southern lunar hemisphere? If the Moon's distance remained the same as now, there would be a daily libration effect as our observing position changed by the hour. A polar Moon would be orbitally impossible, for neither a geosynchronous nor any other orbit could keep it there. And my friends in the southern hemisphere would miss it; perhaps that hemisphere would become the home for giant observatories observing faint objects, always with a black, Moonless sky. And perhaps people in the northern hemisphere would develop paranoia with big brother always, always watching them. Actually, I like the Moon's present near-equatorial orbit. It is a deep pleasure to watch Sunrises and Sunsets, and I like to see the Moon progress across the sky each 24 hours. I like the phases and the changing shadows that reveal the landscape. And I like the mystery of the unseen side, including the tantalizing peeks around the edges.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
January, 31. 2012. Canon 20 Da camera + 200 mm lens. 91 Exposures at 8 min each.

Yesterday's LPOD: The Best Ever

Tomorrow's LPOD: The Missing Hook Mystery


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