Column: Worth reading

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] “The Moon and René Magritte”

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] “The hunt of the antlion at the full moon”

»The Moon has been arising« …

matthias-claudius_198x198… this line from the poem »Evening Song« from 1778, by the poet Matthias Claudius (1740–1815), belongs to the best-known poems in German literature, not least of all because it was set to music many times; hence, it does not only remain in one’s memory because of its lyrics, but also because of its melody. Especially as a lullaby, everyone has surely heard it before or even sang it to the children:
[read more] “»The Moon has been arising« …”

»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] “»Wau Bulan« – the moon-kite of Malaysia”

The »Void Of Course« Moon (VOC)

void-of-course-moon_198x198The terminology »void of course« Moon (VOC), refers to a specific duration of time in astrology, during the Moon’s passage through the signs of the zodiac. To this, the basic conditions are created by the so called »aspects« of the Moon, which refers to its connection to other planets in the sky. For example, when the Moon and another planet are opposite to each other, it is called »opposition«. Further important aspects are »conjunctions« (next to each other), »square« (angular distance 90°), »trine« (120°) and »sextile« (60°). So when the Moon passes through a zodiac, various of these aspects surface. After approximately 2.5 days, the Moon changes into the next zodiacal sign, to create new aspects again. The phase between the last aspect in the current zodiac and the transition to the next zodiac is called »void of course / VOC«. The length of this void of course can take anything from two minutes up to two days. [read more] “The »Void Of Course« Moon (VOC)”

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] “The Moon and Mark Twain”

James Bond and the full moon

james-bond_198x198Ian Fleming’s fictitious secret agent 007, of the British Secret Service MI6, has been fighting the villains of this world on screen for over 50 years, accompanied by technical knick-knacks, all sorts of explosions and always beautiful women. There are many night scenes and one should assume that the Moon should be included quite frequently … far from it! We were only able to spot one Bond flic where the full moon can be seen: MOONRAKER from 1979 – and only at the beginning and the end of the movie. [read more] “James Bond and the full moon”

The biblical Moon

moon-bible_198x198We have already searched and found the word »full moon« in the Bible, but only in two places in the Old Testament (Psalm 81:3–4 and Proverb 7:18–20). This is surprising, because the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples must have taken place during the full moon, and hence, should have been mentioned in the New Testament.

We have extended our research and have looked for the word »moon« in the Bible. Here too, most passages can be found in the Prophetic books and Psalms of the Old Testament. However, there are also two places in the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke and Mark. [read more] “The biblical Moon”


seismograph_198x198By analogy with earthquakes on the Earth, there are so called »moonquakes« on the Moon. By that, we are referring to tremors on the Moon. The astronauts of the five Apollo missions in 1969 to 1972, left seismographs on the Moon, to measure these seismic waves. Afterwards, all data had been sent back to Earth until 1977 and analyzed. [read more] “Moonquakes”

»Moondance« by Van Morrison

moondance_198x198It is time again to write about a song on the theme of the Moon: »Moondance« by Van Morrison. Released in February of 1970, on the album with the same title, by the musician from Northern Ireland, belongs to the classics amongst the moon songs. It hovers stylistically between rhythm & blues and country rock, but also jazz influences can be recognized. »Moondance« was placed in the English and American Charts. It was never a smash hit, but still today belongs to the concert repertoire of ›Van the Man‹ and can be heard time and again on the radio.   [read more] “»Moondance« by Van Morrison”

Moon trees

moon-tree_198x198Even though the idea would be wonderful: this is not about trees that grow on the Moon, but about trees on Earth that grew from seeds, which orbited the Moon exactly 34 times, in a small canister, during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. For this joint project by NASA and USFS (US Forest Service), the astronaut Stuart Rosa took hundreds of tree seeds with him on this journey. Seeds of five different species of tree had been chosen: loblolly pine, sycamore, sweetgum, redwood and douglas fir. The seeds survived the weightlessness and also when the canister that contained the seeds, got destroyed in the vacuum of the decontamination chamber. The seeds had to be picked up individually after this incident. [read more] “Moon trees”

The full moon on Japanese woodblock prints

moon_woodblok-prints_198x198Japanese woodblock prints have a centuries-long tradition and stand for high quality craftsmanship and artistic expressiveness. In particular, when realizing that this printing technique has been practiced since the 8th century (when letterpress printing in Europe was still a distant prospect), it becomes clear what kind of cultural achievements can be associated with this. A woodblock print works just like a stamp that has been carved into a block of wood. Then the color is applied onto the wood and printed onto paper. If you want to print a variety of colors on top of each other, you need a separate woodblock per each color and hence receive the characteristic depth effect. [read more] “The full moon on Japanese woodblock prints”

Sharks and the full moon

fullmoon-shark_198x198Our article “Fishing during a full moon” has already indicated the discussion about whether moonlight might influence the behavior of fish. Now we have found a study, which was conducted by Australian scientists in 2013, who have examined the diving behavior of 39 gray reef sharks in Palau (an island country in the Pacific Ocean), namely with regards to environmental influences, like water temperature and also lunar happenings, in particular the full moon and the new moon. They tagged the sharks with transmitters and thus were able to measure where and how deep they dived during certain times. [read more] “Sharks and the full moon”

Is the Moon round?

moon-orange_198x198When looking up to the full moon, you see a sphere and there is no doubt: the Moon has to be round. And we assume quite simply that a sphere is orbiting our Earth. This is correct indeed, if taking a lax approach in the definition of a sphere. The Moon is spherical, but differs considerably from the perfect shape. On the one hand it is flattened at the North Pole and South Pole, and on the other hand, its reverse side, which is turned away from the Earth, is convexed outwardly. [read more] “Is the Moon round?”

A bath at the full moon

full-moon-bath_198x198Bathing at the full moon or in the full moon light, is a fascinating experience, which one or the other has surely made. Two ways to interpret this is either bathing in the water at the full moon (outdoors or in the bath tub), or bathing directly in the moonlight (when the light of the Moon shines onto your skin, just like sunbathing). [read more] “A bath at the full moon”

Tsunami at the full moon?

tsunami_198x198Repeated attempts have been made creating a connection between lunar phases and natural disasters. To our knowledge, it has not been possible so far, to establish nor prove a causal link. Of particular note is the well known earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, which happened at the full moon. Was this a coincidence? Were there other tsunamis that occurred during a full moon? [read more] “Tsunami at the full moon?”

The full moon in »Frozen«

frozen_198x198This animation of 2013 is the most successful movie by the Disney Animation Studios yet, and supersedes the previous hit »The Lion King«. Not only in the US and Japan, but this production also received many awards in Germany (amongst other things the Oscar 2014 for ›Best Animated Feature‹ and ›Best Original Song‹) and was a box office hit. [read more] “The full moon in »Frozen«”

Water on the Moon

shackleton_198x198The exploration of foreign celestial bodies is particularly interesting for science, when there is the possibility of life could exist. An important condition for this provides the evidence of water (mostly in frozen form, because it contains oxygen).   One may simply say that where water exists, life could develop, or is already present. [read more] “Water on the Moon”

The Moon Child in »The Neverending Story«

moonchild_198x198When the German author Michael Ende wrote »The Neverending Story« from 1977 to 1979, he created a milestone amongst the fantasy children and youth literature. The story about the shy boy Bastian Balthasar Bux on his adventure trip through the world of Fantastica, fascinated millions of readers of all age groups and has been translated into 40 languages up to date.   [read more] “The Moon Child in »The Neverending Story«”

The Moon and Salvador Dalí

dali_198x198The Spanish artist Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) was the most important advocate of surrealism in paintings. His pictures show fantastic and dreamlike scenes, which remain in your memory due to their expression and originality. We also asked ourselves, whether we would be able to discover the Moon in Dalí as well, just like in other paintings (e.g. by Marc Chagal, Paul Klee, Caspar David Friedrich, William Turner, Adam Elsheimer or Petrus van Schendel)? And after a little bit of searching, we managed to find something. [read more] “The Moon and Salvador Dalí”