Leading article: Spirit in the sky

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Shakespeare called her "an arrant thief" who had snatched her pale fire from the sun. ee cummings wondered whether she was a "a balloon, coming out of a keen city in the sky, filled with pretty people". She has shaped our language. When people ask for something unattainable, she is what we accuse them of metaphorically demanding. The mentally deranged are said to howl at her.

"She" is, of course, the moon. And Earth's original satellite will be abnormally large this weekend. Tomorrow we will witness a phenomenon known as the "supermoon", whereby our planet's nearest neighbour will be closer than at any time in 18 years.

It is no wonder, given the influence the moon has always exercised over the creative parts of our brains, that bizarre theories are already circulating about what impact this will have on Earth. Science says this is nonsense. According to Jim Garvin of Nasa, "the combination of the moon being at its closest to Earth in its orbit, and being in its full moon configuration, should not affect the internal energy balance of the Earth".

So will the astrologers listen? "Three things cannot be long hidden," said the Buddha "the sun, the moon, and the truth." Alas, we fear he might have been overoptimistic. In which case, allow us to wish everyone a happy supermoon.

Comments