- When I was a young girl !…..
Since I can remember, the moon has always fascinated me. I grew up in a small village in Hertfordshire, England in the Northern Hemisphere. I would spend most nights gazing up at the sky, mesmerized by this huge, Irredecant ball of light. Within the ball I could make out the shape of a face. I asked my mother, is their a man in the moon? Yes she replied, he lives their.With not another explanation, just matter of fact, I was led to believe that a man really did live in the moon
As I grew older I was constantly drawn to the mystical beauty of the moon and have since solved the mystery of, what is the Man in the Moon?
The Formation of the Moon
There are several theories as to how the moon was formed, one of these being the “Giant Impact Theory.” Around 4.5 billion years ago this theory suggests that the earth collided with another planet, with left over debris from the earths’ crust being flung into space, were gravity bound the particles together to form the moon.
In 2017,researchers in Israel suggested the “Multiple Impact Scenario”, were a rain of small debris fell on earth to create the moon.
Then their is the” Co- Formation Theory”, which states that Moons form at the same time as their parent planet. This meaning two objects colliding together, then re-colliding to form the earth with a disk of material around it, that combined to form the moon.
The Earths pull on the Moon
It is believed that soon after the moon was formed, the pull of the earths’ gravity created a bulge near the moons’ equator. Gravity kept pulling the bulge towards earth, slowing the moons’ rotation until it was perfectly in sync with the moons’ orbit around earth, thus meaning that only one side of the moon will ever face the earth. This perfect synchronization of the moon with earth is known as “Tidal Locking”.
Most moons’ are tidally locked with their parent planet.
What do we see on the Moon
In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the illusion of a man in the moon, whereas in the southern Hemisphere this is upside down and seen as a rabbit.
This illusion is created by the ” lunar seas” and the “lighter highlands” of the moons’ surface, which were created billions of years ago by asteroid impacts.
The Scientific Theory
Most people who look at the Full moon see an image of a persons face. In fact though, the images that we can see are random shapes.
This is a phenomenon known as Pareidolia, were we see the image of a face were it does not exist.
Scientists conducted studies which showed a group of volunteers, a series of random black and white blobs, whilst looking at their brains in an MRI scan. Before seeing the images, the volunteers were told that half of the images contained faces or letters.
When the volunteers were then asked what they saw, they said that they saw faces and letters almost a third of the time. The MRI scans showed the researchers that the same part of the brain that lights up when we see real faces also lit up in the participants who saw the made up, non-existent faces in the study. This concluded that the brain is tuned to recognize human likeness, even when it is not present.
Scientist Carl Sagon, theorized that seeing faces were they don’t exist may go back to our ancestors, who needed to be able to quickly identify people they knew to warn of potential threat.
Legend has it …….
There are many legends which explain how the man came to be in the moon.
Chinese legend says that the Godess Chang, was stranded on the moon having consumed a double dose of an immortality potion, which was ground by pestle and mortar by the rabbit.
In Norse legend, the moon kidnaps two children and makes them fetch water, this becoming the fairy tale of Jack and Jill.
Vietnamese mythology call him Chu Cuoi, The Moon Man. Chu Cuoi was a woodcutter who found a baby tiger cub in the woods and decided to keep him. The cubs mother came into the forest scaring Chu Cuoi, who quickly climbed a tree. He dropped the cub who fell to his death. The mother tiger ripped some leaves from a nearby tree and rubbed them on her cubs broken head. The baby cub came back to life. So Chu Cuoi decided to dig up the magical tree and take it home. He told his wife to water the tree every day in clean water. She forgot one day and used unclean water, which greatlly upset the tree. The woodcutter, Chu Cuoi then saw his tree take off towards the skies, so he grabbed the roots and was carried off into the sky all the way to the moon, were his image still sits holding the roots of his tree.
German folklore, claims that their went one Sunday morning an old man into the woods to hew some sticks. He cut a faggot and slung it over his shoulder and began to trudge home. On his way he met a man in a suit on his way to church. The man in the suit stopped the old man and said,” Do you know that this is a Sunday on earth, when all must rest from labors?”
“Sunday on earth or Monday in heaven, is all the same to me, laughed the old man.
” Then bear your bundle forever as you value not Sunday on earth, you shall be a perpetual Moon-day in heaven and you shall stand for an eternity in the moon.”
Thereupon, the man in the suit vanished and the old man with his stock and faggot, were caught up into the moon were he still stands today.
I hope that you enjoyed reading about the Man in the Moon as much as I enjoyed writing about him. Feel free to leave your comments or any childhood stories of the man in the moon, you would like to share, below.