We’ve been all about the moon here at TPG headquarters in preparation for Helena’s upcoming piece. But at some point we realized that none us really understood what’s going on up there. A couple hours of internet research revealed that the heyday for earth/moon animations was the mid 80s.

This animation was useful because it has the view of the moon from earth coupled with the relative positions of the earth and moon in relation to the sun. It also drives home the difference in speeds between the earth’s rotation and the rotation of the moon around the earth.

Another fact that was new to me was that the same side of the moon is always facing us. It’s sort of like what would happen if you put a coffee cup on a lazy susan with its handle facing out. As you spun the lazy susan, the handle would remain pointing out. That means that the “Dark side of the moon” is always changing, but the “far side of the moon” is always the same. And technically the “far side of the moon” gets more total sunlight than the side of the moon we see.

And then there’s my personal favorite: this incredibly infectious educational hip hop video for remembering the moon phase terminology. “Quarter moon’s a half moon. Half moon’s a quarter moon”

If anyone comes across any useful descriptions or videos we’d love to hear about them.