A degree of lunacy

The full moon a couple of days ago was the last of the ‘supermoons’ of 2014. That’s when the moon is as close as it gets to the earth, so it appears 14% bigger and up to 30% brighter. It happened to be a clear night and a very beautiful orangey Harvest Moon – in fact here’s a picture I nicked from the internet:

APTOPIX Missouri Daily LIfe

Anyway, something I read in an article in the Guardian about supermoons really got me thinking – apparently the moon originally appeared 17 x bigger in diameter than it does today. 17 x bigger? THAT’S MASSIVE! Here’s the diagram:

Screenshot 2014-09-10 18.17.40

According to scientist types that know about these things, the moon still moves away from the earth at the rate of about 3.8cms a year. That may not sound much, but think about it – even in my life time it’s moved well over a metre further away. That’s quite a lot. I can visualise that amount. It’s half the width of my desk.

To anything living 300 million years ago, the moon would have been 114,000 kilometres closer to the earth (allow for slightly dodgy maths) – so surely it must have appeared much bigger? The tides around Pangea would have been spectacular. And was it still perceptibly bigger to our distant moon gazing ancestors?

Thinking about all this (instead of writing or editing the novel of course) I realise I’m now old enough to have experienced some degree of geological time. By the time I die, the moon will be around 2 metres further away from the earth than it was when I was born. Already I feel some sense of loss. Even by the time I finish the next novel, the moon will be at least another 3.8cms away.

Guess I’d better stop faffing. Probably need to crack on before time ends and the universe falls apart…


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