Everyone else in the universe who bothers to look at our Moon can see it as it appears in the above video. It’s rotating. But for humans who know only life on Earth and who see things from that limited vantage point, the Moon’s rotation is not immediately apparent. Nor is the Earth’s, but that’s a different story.
Because we learned to write millennia before we learned to do science, our earliest speculations about the world and the universe were unscientific, but they were written down, and those writings were regarded as wisdom.
Although now known to be woefully — albeit understandably — defective, those ancient writings with all their misconceptions are still out there, cherished not only because their antiquity and cultural information, but by much of the world’s population they are still consulted for information about the world. As a result of this misplaced veneration, ancient misconceptions have been amazingly difficult to correct. The “science” of the Babylonian empire not only persists, it is passionately defended by large numbers of people.
NASA first posted this video of the Moon’s rotation on 16 September — a week ago. You can see that here: Astronomy Picture of the Day, along with NASA’s brief explanation. This video is so unusual that newspapers around the world are picking up the story. Good for them. This is NASA’s explanation of the video:
No one, presently, sees the Moon rotate like this. That’s because the Earth’s moon is tidally locked to the Earth, showing us only one side. Given modern digital technology, however, combined with many detailed images returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a high resolution virtual Moon rotation movie has now been composed. The above time-lapse video starts with the standard Earth view of the Moon. Quickly, though, Mare Orientale, a large crater with a dark center that is difficult to see from the Earth, rotates into view just below the equator. From an entire lunar month condensed into 24 seconds, the video clearly shows that the Earth side of the Moon contains an abundance of dark lunar maria, while the lunar far side is dominated by bright lunar highlands.
The only thing we can add is our suggestion that this should be shown in every school in every grade. That way it will be seen by creationists, and it may give them a clue that there’s more to the world than an ancient tribe’s limited view of things.
In some cases it might play out like those occasional episodes of Star Trek where the crew of the Enterprise encounters a species that knows nothing beyond their world, and the plot requires that one of the natives gets accidentally beamed aboard and is shown a view of his little world from space. The reaction of creationists to this video could be something like that.
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