Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Sky at Night Book of the Moon, by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

BBC Books (who, I should declare, publish stuff by me) sent me this fun new volume from TV's Dr Maggie, which she herself describes as, "a voyage that has explored the physical, mental and emotional impact of the Moon on all of us."

Much of the collected material is familiar from her BBC Two documentary, Do We Really Need the Moon?, detailing the history of our relationship with the Moon and how it benefits us. For example, its relatively large size stabilises Earth's orbit; it has slowed the spin of the Earth to the 24-hour cycle we're used to; the tides it creates may have played an essential role in the development of the very first life.

There's a lot more science, too - including updates on the latest efforts to return humans to the Moon - but also a selection of favourite Moon-related poetry, art and stories, and an exploration of the oldest Moon-related artefacts. I was captivated by the entry on "En-hedu-ana: Astronomer Princess of the Moon Goodess (c. 2354), who is,
"the first female name recorded in history and the first poet known by name too." (p. 65) 
On the next page, we're told that at least one of the numerous depictions labelled as En-hedu-ana shows her with a "substantial beard."

I read the book as research for a potential project, and now I have another one...

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