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Luna 3: Shedding Light on the “Dark Side” of the Moon

4 Oct 2019, 12:06 UTC
Luna 3: Shedding Light on the “Dark Side” of the Moon
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The mention of the “dark side of the Moon” as a synonym for the lunar “far side” on any online forum inevitably leads to a torrent of negative comments objecting to the term. The typical argument is that the lunar far side, which is not observable from the Earth due to the Moon’s synchronous rotation, experiences the same month-long day-night cycle as the more familiar near side and therefor is not perpetually “dark”. But this argument is specious because of a misunderstanding of the original meaning of the term “dark side of the Moon” which dates back to at least the early 19th century.
The use of the word “dark” to mean hidden, obscured or unexplored dates back to at least Shakespeare’s play, All’s Well That Ends Well. (SCETI)
Before the Space Age, the far side of the Moon was the “dark side” not because of some misconception that it was perpetually unlit, it was “dark” in the sense that it was hidden, obscured or unexplored – an alternate, figurative meaning of the word “dark” that dates back at least to Shakespeare in his play, All’s Well That Ends Well. This meaning of “dark” is implied in the common idiom ...

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