Column: Worth seeing

The full moon in »The Fearless Vampire Killers«

the-fearless-vampire-killers1_198x198The comedy horror film »The Fearless Vampire Killers«, directed by Roman Polański in 1967, is a classic of the genre. The film tells the story of the vampire scientist Professor  Abronsius and his assistant Alfred (played by Roman Polański), who go on a vampire hunt in the snowy mountains of Transylvania and encounter various bizarre figures, and of course the beautiful daughter of the inn keeper Sarah (played by Sharon Tate, whom Polański married in 1968). The film entrances with its absurd and simultaneously funny atmosphere, created by the skillful interactions between light, music, scenery and actors. Thereby, satirical elements resonate as well, when the rotten aristocracy is represented in the form of the undead. [read more]

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Lunar lava tubes

lava-cave-moon_198x198When inviscid lava flows out of the volcano, it is possible that cavities are created inside the conduits, due to the different speeds of flow and temperatures. It is like a roof being formed above the flow of lava, which continues to flow inside. After cooling of the rocks, tubular cavities remain.

This phenomenon exists on Earth when volcanoes erupt, and scientists assume that those tubes and cavities could also be  prevalent on the Moon, dating from a time when vulcanoes were still active there. The lesser gravity benefited the formation of the tubes and might have also contributed to the fact that there could be kilometer-sized cavities underneath the Moon’s surface.   [read more]

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»The Moonlit Night« by Joseph von Eichendorff

eichendorff_198x198The German poet and novelist Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788–1857) counts among the foremost representatives of Romanticism. Many of his poems had been set to music and were sung.

Von Eichendorff, born in Ratibor (today Racibórz in Poland), studied originally law and worked in a variety of administrative civil service positions, up until he retired. Simultaneously, he devoted his time to his writing and publishing skills, until he died from pneumonia in 1857. [read more]

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Luna 2 – the first space probe on the Moon

luna2_198x198Luna 2 was a Soviet space probe that impacted the Moon on  13th/14th September 1959. Space probes are unmanned flying objects that are used for exploration. In this case, it was about exploring the Moon, with the goal to fly a human to the Moon and have them return safely. History shows that this did not become possible until ten years later, with the moon landing of Neil Armstrong within the framework of the Apollo 11 mission, in July 1969. [read more]

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The tarot card »The Moon«

tarot-moon_198x198The tarot is a pack of playing cards that is used for mystical interpretations. It has a long tradition, possibly dating back to the ancient Egyptian time. Playing cards started to circulate in Europe at around the 14th and 15th century, among them also the so called »tarock« (in Italian »tarocchi«), which is considered to be the predecessor of what is now known as tarot, and still today established independently as a game of cards.

Over time, the symbolism and interpretation begins to move to the forefront and the cards become a popular tool for mystics and fortune tellers. [read more]

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»Fishing Party« by Fitz Hugh Lane

fitz-hugh-lane_198x198Inspired by his trip to the coast of Maine, USA, the American artist and lithographer Fitz Hugh Lane (1804–1865) – aka Fitz Henry Lane – created the full moon painting »Fishing Party«, in 1855. He was a representative of the American luminism, a painting style characterized by a specific form of light-flooded landscapes in the 19th century (lumen = lat. light). [read more]

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Sonoma Valley – »Valley of the Moon«

sonoma-valley_198x198The Sonoma Valley is a valley in California, close to San Francisco Bay and is also referred to as »Valley of the Moon«. The original Native American Indians who inhabited this valley, called it »sonoma«, which means »Valley of the Moon« in their language. The Miwok and Pomps were Native American tribes that spread in the northern part of California and also settled in this valley. In a legend of the Miwok tribe, it says that the Moon rose from the Sonoma Valley and is there in complete harmony with nature. [read more]

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»Rupes Recta« – a line on the Moon

rupes-recta_198x198»Rupes Recta« is the name for a long line, which is visible on the Moon’s surface. The name derives from Latin and means »straight fault«, but due to its prominent shape, it is also called »Sword of the Moon«.

Rupes Recta is located at the edge of the lunar mare Mare Nubium and is one of the best known escarpments of the Moon. It is more than 60 miles long, with a width of 1–2 miles and a height of around 800 feet. [read more]

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The Roman Lunula Amulet

lunula-amulet_198x198In the Ancient Roman Empire, lunula amulets were often worn as a lucky charm, but also as protection against evil forces and demons. Special crescent-shaped jewelry pieces were made for girls, to grant them the protection of the goddess Diana. Diana is the goddess of the Moon and also of hunting in Roman mythology. Artemis is the equivalent among the Greek Gods. [read more]

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The gravity on the Moon

gravity-moon_198x198Gravity is the force of attraction of bodies. Its intensity depends on the mass: the more mass, the higher the gravity.  This is the reason why the gravitational pull is greater on Earth than on the Moon, because Earth is considerably larger and heavier than the Moon. The gravitational acceleration on Earth is with approx. 9.8 m/s² six times as strong as on the Moon with approx. 1.6 m/s². This is why astronauts are able to jump higher on the Moon than on Earth and objects fall to the ground at a lower speed. [read more]

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The glowing of scorpions

scorpion_198x198Scorpions have the quality that they are fluorescent and glow when in contact with UV radiation. This becomes clearly visible, when they are directly exposed to UV light. However, the UV components, which are contained in the sunlight and the moonlight, are hardly sufficient to produce this glow to an extent that it is visible to humans. Still, scorpions appear to detect the UV components and hence react to moonlight. [read more]

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The moon paintings by Lovis Corinth

lovis-corinth_198x198The German painter Lovis Corinth (1858–1925) is considered one of the most important representatives of German Impressionism, in his late work also Expressionism. In 1919, his wife built a house for him at the Lake Walchen, south of Munich in the Bavarian Alps. The following years, he spent a lot of time there and derived his inspiration from the landscape and lighting atmosphere for numerous paintings, which often show Lake Walchen. [read more]

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The song »Fly Me To The Moon«

frank-sinatra_198x198The jazz classic »Fly Me To The Moon«, originally written by Bart Howard in 1954, gained worldwide fame through Frank Sinatra (1915–1998). His version from 1964 accompanied the space mission Apollo 10 to the Moon in May of 1969, and was played when the spaceship orbited the Moon. Further, it was the first song ever that was played on the Moon, when Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon with a portable cassette player during the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. [read more]

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»The Woman of the Apocalypse« and the Moon

woman-of-the-apocalypse_198x198»The Woman of the Apocalypse« is a depiction of a Virgin Mary that is surrounded by sunrays (hence she is also called sun-crowned Madonna), and shows a moon crescent underneath her feet. Quite often stars can also be seen around her head. This portrait goes back to the biblical text »The Woman and the Dragon« in the Revelation of John, chapter 12. This describes the fight of heaven against the red dragon that embodies the evil in the world. [read more]

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»Tsukimi«: Moon-viewing in Japan

japan_198x198Japan has a custom, which is called »Tsukimi« or also »Otsukimi« that literally means »moon-viewing« (tsuki = jap. Moon). This tradition dates back to the Heian period (794–1192) where Japanese culture and the arts were refined to a high degree. At that time, elements of the Chinese »Mid-Autumn Moon Festival« were introduced in Japan, and festivals and rituals were held in the eighth sun month (which corresponds to September in our current calendar). [read more]

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The moonlight in »How to Train Your Dragon«

train-your-dragon_198x198The film is based on the book of the same title by Cressida Cowell (2003), was released in 2010 in movie theaters and became one of the most successful animations and earned nearly $500 million. Next to its impressive technical quality of the animation, it is most of all about the story of Hickup, a son of a Viking, who flies directly into the hearts of the audience, with his ability to tame dragons, which was a hostile skill to have up until then. [read more]

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The Moon and René Magritte

rene-magritte_198x198The Belgium painter René Magritte (1898–1967) was next to Salvador Dalí, one of the most influential painters of surrealism. This denotes a style in art (and in other areas), which has tried to use dreamlike, fantastical and absurd elements as techniques of expression for a new superior reality, since the 1920s. [read more]

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The hunt of the antlion at the full moon

antlion_198x198The antlion is the larva of the myrmeleon, which belongs to the net-winged insects. This insect grows to be 0.6 inches and predominantly stands out because of its large jaw pincers, which let you anticipate its predatory disposition. The antlion is famous for its sophisticated method catching prey. It digs funnels in the sand that function like a trap for other insects (i.e., ants or spiders). When prey steps on the edge of the funnel, the antlion begins to throw sand on the animal from the bottom of the funnel. The thereby created movements, activate the slipping of the funnel walls and transport the prey directly into the fangs of the antlion, who then kills them with its poison. [read more]

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»Wau Bulan« – the moon-kite of Malaysia

wau-bulan_198x198As already mentioned before, the Moon assumes a special status in Asia as well. There are a few important festivals, which are closely connected to the Moon, like for example the Moon Festival and the Lantern Festival in China, or many celebrations in Buddhism and Hinduism.

In Malaysia, in South East Asia, there is a traditional kite called  »wau bulan«, whereas »wau« stands for kite and »bulan« for the Moon. The kite got its name because of its moon crescent-shaped lower part. When you fly this kite, it supposed to remind of the rising Moon. [read more]

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The Moon and Mark Twain

mark-twain_198x198There is a famous quote by the American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910), taken from his satirical travel guide »A Tramp Abroad«, published in 1880: »Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.« He alludes to the astronomical fact that the Moon only turns one side towards the Earth, due to its synchronous rotation. The reverse side of the Moon remains hidden to us when observed from Earth. [read more]

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