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Moons far side not always dark
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In the Sunday Times, Harris Blackwood wrote about the tough job of being a teacher. His article actually made some science teachers’ jobs tougher, as he promoted a misconception. I was happy that he used an analogy from the American space program, but finished it with there was a time when the spacecraft would go on the dark side of the moon.

As Mr. Blackwood wrote the article, the far side of the moon was nearly fully lighted by the sun. The moon is approaching the new moon phase, and is between the sun and earth. The close side of the moon is dark in this phase. The far side of the moon is fully lit. The moon has a near side and a far side, but does not have a dark side.

I wonder if Mr. Blackwood can explain why only 24 people have ever seen the far side of the moon. No one else on our planet has ever seen it. Many have seen pictures of the far side, but just 24 have seen the far side.

I am a teacher in residence in the physics and astronomy department at Georgia State University. My job is to recruit and work with high school physics student teachers. I take issue with Mr. Blackwood’s position that teaching is a hard job. Done right, teaching is hard fun!

Having taught physics and chemistry for 35 years, I have an extensive understanding of that hard fun. I would not be working to recruit physics teachers if teaching isn’t fun, even though it is hard fun. I hope Mr. Blackwood will do a little research when he writes about science concepts in the future, and not promote misconceptions about the workings of Mother Nature.

Frank Lock
Gainesville

 

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