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The Moon Like You Have Never Seen It Before

There are many invisible realities that lie hidden from us. Some things happen too fast for us to see. Some things are too small to see. Some things are too far away. Some things, however, are right in front of us, but we are just in the wrong position to get a clear view.

All your life you have been watching the moon track through its phases. Even if you have not been paying much attention, it's been there. But because the moon is tidally locked to Earth — meaning it spins on its axis once every orbit around Earth — you have only seen one face of its globe. Every month, it's the same "man in the moon" dark and light patches. Until the space age began, no one had ever, ever seen the moon's other face.

Now, thanks to the fact that a fraction of your very hard-earned tax dollars goes to space research, you can see more than just the moon's other face. Now, you can see what the whole universe looks like were you to hover above that "invisible" hemisphere.

Take a minute to enjoy this NASA video — and think about all the world that's out there right now, hidden from our eyes (and that science helps us see).


Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a book author and a self-described "evangelist of science." You can keep up with more of what Adam is thinking on Facebook and Twitter: @adamfrank4.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Adam Frank was a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. A professor at the University of Rochester, Frank is a theoretical/computational astrophysicist and currently heads a research group developing supercomputer code to study the formation and death of stars. Frank's research has also explored the evolution of newly born planets and the structure of clouds in the interstellar medium. Recently, he has begun work in the fields of astrobiology and network theory/data science. Frank also holds a joint appointment at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a Department of Energy fusion lab.
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