Teens and young adults are getting moon mania thanks to Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” novels and movies.
“New Moon,” the sequel to “Twilight,” hit theaters at midnight Friday. Rock group Death Cab for Cutie penned a song for the movie titled “Meet Me On The Equinox.” “Eclipse” is the name of Meyer’s third novel in the saga.
But York College earth sciences professor Bill Kreiger said lunar lore is nothing new.
“Man always looked up at the moon and wondered about it,” he said.
Ancient man saw the dark spots on the moon and named these dark areas maria — Latin for seas. The dark craters, also responsible for “the man on the moon” myth, were caused by frozen lava after ancient volcanic eruptions.
York County Astronomical Society member Todd Ullery said the organization often photographs the moon, even though it’s surface has remained largely unchanged during it’s 4.6 billion-year existence.
“It’s man’s best opportunity to see extraterrestrial terrain,” he said.
Over time science debunked myths about Earth’s only natural satellite. Terms like eclipse and equinox were introduced to explain the moon’s relationship to the sun and Earth. Interest in the moon has waxed and waned, but these days most people don’t even notice the moon, Kreiger said.
“The moon is out as much in the day as it is at night,” he said.
But it’s usually only visible against the dark sky. It’s lit by the sun as it travels around the Earth during the 29-and-a-half-day lunar cycle. This creates the four phases: new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter. Each lasts about seven days.
The new moon used to be associated with rebirth, Kreiger said. He added that the lunar cycle was used by early man to determine when to plant crops and predict the weather. People believed that when the moon was growing, or waxing, it was a good time to plant crops. They gave each full moon a name. September is the harvest moon. May is the planting moon.
“Folklore is important because you understand what ancestors knew and how they understood things,” Kreiger said. “(People) were looking at nature and trying to explain things.”
The moon was also used to tell time. The words “month” and “Monday” come from the word moon, Kreiger said.
What an interesting article. The moon has always been a mystery to many and its effects upon some of the supernatural characters can make conversations endless. Interesting how Stephenie Meyer’s books are some how related to the moon. What are you thoughts about this? Did you know about some of the explanitions given here?