We still like watching the night sky down here and ask ourselves the odd question. Everybody knows about the phases of the moon, and its moving in the sky in an arch like the sun does it — an illusion caused by the rotation of the earth. But have you ever noticed that the full moon, whilst remaining a circle throughout the night, it appears slightly different towards the end of its stroll, when it nears the horizon where it sets?
Most people see the moon when it first rises, and with a little imagination it looks like a face — some big craters look like eyes making the whole thing resemble a head. But only insomniacs would bother looking at it for long enough to realize that the face actually rotates as it moves in the heavens. How can that be?
The other day, the moon was in its waning phase, so it was quite big yet visible early in the morning and I was showing it to Vanessa (age 4), when I finally decided I must find an answer to this "rolling eyes" moon effect. With the help of the junior astronomer, we put together a mathematical model of the moon and used it to simulate the lunar orbit. And sure enough if you hold the drawing above your head, it looks like a proper face, but as you move it in a circle down towards the horizon, it appears to rotate like the moon does it. QED
So there you have it, all is not lost of that glorious ancient Greek spirit <g>. It's not about what other people (claim) they know, its about what one can figure out and understand for oneself. Thanks Socrates!