Describing the Moon

When someone in your group points out the moon, you will impress them all if you can look up and say something profound, like, “Hmm . . . waxing gibbous.”

Or maybe not. Depends on the group. Depends on you.

You may just come off as a hopeless nerd trying to impress.

Nothing sadder than that.

Gibbous moon.

Gibbous moon.

First the shape: We all know what a crescent moon is. It’s what the cow jumped over in our nursery books, what people sat on. A gibbous moon is the opposite.  It bulges out.

Gibbous comes from Latin, meaning bulging. No surprise.

No cows, either.

Pronounced “GIB-us,” as in “Gibbous this day our daily bread . . .”

Some of your friends may be a bit gibbous around the waist, but when applied to people, “gibbous” usually means “humpbacked.”

Best to only apply “gibbous” to the moon.

You then need to know if the moon is growing or shrinking. A growing moon is waxing. A shrinking moon is waning.

Why don’t they just say growing or shrinking?  Everyone understands those words.  Maybe that’s the reason.

A waning moon is also called an old moon.

A waxing moon is not called anything else.

I think I am waning.

Don’t expect to watch it change.  The change is too slow.  You have to remember how it was a week ago.

That’s the hard part.

It’s all pretty simple, but knowing only that much will put you ahead of almost everyone in your group.

Unless they are all members of The Franklin Institute.

Then, you need to find a new group.

RWalck@Verizon.net

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About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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