The Other Side of the Moon

Listen 53:22

In honor of Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, we’ve been talking a lot about getting to the moon, and the science of understanding its origins. This episode is more of a tribute to the moon itself, and our relationship with this bright, beautiful object in the sky.

The moon lights up our nights, influences the oceans’ tides, stabilizes the earth’s tilt — which is responsible for our seasons. Without the moon, our lives here on Earth would be very, very different. On this episode of The Pulse, we pay homage to all the moon does — and delve into our relationship with the moon.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Annette Lee — who is Native American, and a professor of astronomy and physics — talks about how these two perspectives align and differ in understanding the moon.
  • Eclipses — lunar and especially solar — tend to inspire wonder and awe, but for ancient people, they could also seem scary or threatening. Jonathan Seitz, a history professor at Drexel University, studies ancient cultures. He tells us how ancient civilizations were able to keep track of and predict solar and lunar eclipses without modern technology, and the meaning behind an eclipse.
  • We separate fact from fiction about when and why wolves howl, and what a howl might actually mean.
  • Biodynamic farming isn’t just about avoiding pesticides and growing organic. It also takes into account the moon’s gravitational pull and planting by the phases of the moon. We visit a biodynamic vineyard in California’s wine country to hear more about their farming methods.
  • The Lunar Society in England derived its name from the moon — and used its light to help members get to meetings. It was a gathering of influential scientists who hatched big plans on moonlit nights. David Warmflash writes about this in his new book “Moon: An Illustrated History.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.