Mama Vicky Asks … Why does the moon follow me when I drive?


I want to thank Blogelina again for hosting the Comment-a-Thon that just ended this month. I have never participated in one before, actually had never heard of it. Thank goodness I have a GM who knows about this stuff. I am glad I got to participate. Yes, I’ll admit, it was nice to have visitors come to our site. I really enjoyed all the comments that I received and it was very nice to get the exposure. But even more than that, I really enjoyed visiting all the sites of the other bloggers who participated too.

There was such a variety of topics and designs and articles. I was really impressed. There are a lot of talented people out there with a boat load of knowledge and experience. Thank you to each and every one who ran the sites I got to visit. It was totally enjoyable and eye opening. I admired the creativity and the writing styles.

I hope we get to do it all again sometime. That was a lot of fun!

And in honor of my offering during the Comment-a-Thon on imponderables, I have another one I would like to share with everyone. Now this is something I personally have wondered about ever since I was a little child. I don’t know about you, but I have always been fascinated by how the moon always followed me when I was going for a ride or driving myself around. Aren’t you just dying to know?

Here’s the imponderable. When you are driving your car at night and look up at the sky, why does it seem that the moon is following you around? Figured that one out yet, hmmm? I honestly didn’t know till now and I am willing to share.

The answer: When you are driving on the highway, objects closer to your car go whizzing by. You can see individual houses or trees by the side of the road, but if you are going fast, they move quickly by. Trying to stare at them can give you some eye strain. But distant trees and houses move by much more slowly, even if you are driving at the same speed. Distant mountains seem monstrous in size. But as you continue far enough down the highway, you will pass the mountains and they will appear smaller, right? Right.

If you think the mountain range off the highway is large and/or far away, think about the moon that is 240,000 miles away and more than 2100 miles in diameter. You already know that your eyes are playing tricks on you with your ideas on how big and far away the moon is. You would have to move an awfully long distance to make the moon appear to move at all. An astronomy expert said that since we don’t have reference points to judge by we have the illusion that the moon is near and because of its size it makes the moon appear to follow us wherever we go. This phenomenon actually has a name – the parallax. This term is used in physics and astronomy to explain how the apparent change in the position of a heavenly body is influenced by the changing position of the observer. This distance can actually be measured with the use of the parallax effect. So you are the one moving, obviously, and the moon is taking its usual sweet time to circle the earth.

I am a science-loving person, but this explanation took all the magic out of the moon following me as I go on my way. I really do prefer in this case not to have the answer. Magic is much more fun, isn’t it? Please don’t tell your children. It will take all the fun out the phenomenon. Maybe next time I’ll go for something simple and basic like why cheddar cheese is orange!


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