One of the most enchanting sights in the night sky is a full moon. For thousands of years, the moon was vital for ancient cultures in tracking the passing of the months and helping them to decide when to plant and harvest crops. But the full moon, especially, has also inspired writers, artists and poets for centuries.
Even today, how often are we captivated by the moon? I, for one, always read the articles about a forthcoming blue moon, or a supermoon, or blood moon, or harvest moon, not to mention of course the eclipses of the moon. And how often do we tell children stories of ‘the man in the moon’?
The Museum of the Moon
On Saturday, we will have the Museum of the Moon at Bell Square. The Museum of the Moon is an artwork, an installation, by Luke Jerram. It is a huge, 7 metre diameter, replica of the moon. Its surface is based on photographs obtained during NASA space missions, so it really is an exact replica!
The far side of the moon
Wherever we are, in London or New York or Sydney, when we look at the moon, we always see the same features, the same craters and patterns. We always see the same side of the moon, the side closest to earth – what we might call the ‘near side’ of the moon. We never see the ‘far side’ of the moon, though, wherever we are in the world.
In 1968, Apollo 8, the second manned spaceflight mission in the United States’ Apollo space programme, was the first space craft to orbit the moon – and the 3 astronauts on that mission were the first humans to see the ‘far side’ of the moon directly for themselves. Fifty years on, though, most of us will still never see the ‘far side’ of the moon!
So, the Museum of the Moon, hanging over Bell Square, allows us to see not just the near side which we are familiar with – but also the far side. There will be grass on the Square and you can sit down or lie back and gaze at the moon.
You can also see a performance of Orbis in the afternoon at 3.00 pm or at night at 8.00 pm. Orbis is a visually stunning dance duet by Humanhood, a company that performed at Bell Square last year with Nomadis. This new show looks at the relationship between humankind and the moon. It is like a contemporary ritual, performed in stunning black cloaks, and revisiting the mystical place the moon holds in the history of human culture. This will surely be a rather special performance with the moon hanging directly above.
Up above in the sky, the (real) moon will be almost full. This full moon, nearest to the autumnal equinox, is the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is known for being particularly bright and early to rise.
Come and see the moon at Bell Square. Our moon will ‘rise’ at 10.00 am and remain until 9.00 pm. It is fascinating to look at in daylight, but especially beautiful to see it bright and illuminated when it gets dark. On Saturday, dusk is at 7.00 pm.