Back to Course

Select Readings – Intermediate

0% Complete
0/0 Steps
  1. Chapter 1: Answering 6 common interview questions
    Before You Read
  2. Working With Reading
  3. After You Read
    2 Practices
  4. Building Vocabulary
    2 Practices
  5. Reading Skill
    2 Practices
  6. Discussion And Writing
  7. Chapter 2: Young Women Changing the world
    Before You Read
  8. Work With Reading
  9. After You Read
  10. Building Vocabulary
  11. Reading Skill
  12. Discussion And Writing
  13. Chapter 3: Students Learning teams
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  14. Working With Reading
  15. After You Read
  16. Building Vocabulary
  17. Reading Skill
  18. Discussion And Writing
  19. Chapter 4: Learning to Speak
    Before You Read
  20. Working With Reading
  21. After You Read
  22. Building Vocabulary
  23. Reading Skill
  24. Discussion And Writing
  25. Chapter 5: The Man in the Moon Has Company
    Before You Read
  26. Working With Reading
  27. After You Read
  28. Building Vocabulary
  29. Reading Skill
  30. Discussion And Writing
  31. Chapter 6: Culture Shock
    Before You Read
  32. Working With Reading
  33. After You Read
  34. Building Vocabulary
  35. Reading Skill
  36. Discussion And Writing
  37. Chapter 7: Private Lives
    Before You Read
  38. Working With Reading
  39. After You Read
  40. Building Vocabulary
  41. Reading Skill
  42. Discussion And Writing
  43. Chapter 8: A Young Blind Whiz
    Before You Read
  44. Working With Reading
  45. After You Read
  46. Building Vocabulary
  47. Reading SKill
  48. Discussion And Writing
  49. Chapter 9: How to Make a Speech
    Before You Read
  50. Working With Reading
  51. After You Read
  52. Building Vocabulary
  53. Reading Skill
  54. Discussion And Writing
  55. Chapter 10: Conversational Ball Games
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  56. Working With Reading
  57. After You Read
  58. Building Vocabulary
  59. Reading Skill
  60. Discussion And Writing
  61. Chapter 11: Letters of Application
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  62. Working With Reading
  63. After You Read
  64. Vocabulary Building
  65. Reading Skill
  66. Discussion And Writing
  67. Chapter 12: Out to Lunch
    Before You Read
  68. Working With Reading
  69. After You Read
  70. Vocabulary Skill
  71. Reading Skill
  72. Discussion And Writing
  73. Chapter 13: Public Attitudes Toward Science
    Before You Read
  74. Working With Reading
  75. After You Read
  76. Vocabulary Skill
  77. Reading Skill
  78. Discussion And Writing
  79. Chapter 14: The Art of Genius
    Before You Read
  80. Working With Reading
  81. After You Read
  82. Vocabulary Skill
  83. Reading Skill
  84. Discussion And Writing
Lesson 25 of 84
In Progress

Before You Read

Kunthea May 4, 2021

Chapter Focus:

  • What you can see when you look at the moon
  • Using context clues
  • Learning synonyms

Have you ever really looked at the moon? Really looked? You might be
surprised at how much you can see.

The moon is the only world beyond the Earth whose landscape is
laid out for view with the naked eye. If your eyesight is normal (or well-
corrected by glasses), you can make out a great many features on the
moons face—plains, mountainous regions, and the marks of meteorite
impacts. The most obvious markings are dark gray patches. These are flat
plains of lava, but 17th century astronomers using the newly invented
telescope assumed they were water. They named each spot as if it were
10 a sea, mare in Latin (pronounced mah-ray).

The accompanying diagram identifies the largest “seas.” Mare
Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility, is famous as the site where
Neil Armstrong first set foot in 1969. To its upper left is Mare
Serenitatis, the Sea of Serenity, and Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rains.

15 All three are roughly circular, the result of lavas flooding gigantic
craters left by meteorite impacts when the moon was young. To their
 left is the larger, more formless Oceanus Procellarum, the Ocean of
Storms, with Mare Humorum (Sea of Moisture) and Mare Numbium
(Sea of Clouds) below it. The large bright areas are mountainous,

20 cratered terrain made of lighter colored rock. Tiny bright patches in
Oceanus Procellarum are splashes of bright-colored rock kicked up
by the formation of individual craters.

With a little imagination, the gray seas suggest a face, the familiar man
in the moon with his lopsided[3] smile and weepy eyes. We are born with
25 a brain that tries to find meaning everywhere, even in the most random,
meaningless patterns—and human faces are what we are programmed to
recognize most readily of all. So most people have no trouble seeing the
man in the moon, with his enigmatic, clownish grin.

Other cultures have seen other shapes in this celestial Rorschach test.
30 A surprisingly wide variety of peoples saw a rabbit in the moon.

According to the Aztecs, the moon was pure white until one of their gods
flung a rabbit against it. In India, the story goes that a rabbit leaped into a
fire to sacrifice himself to feed a starving beggar. The beggar turned out to
be the god Indra in disguise. He put the rabbit on the moon so all could
35 remember its act of generosity. In ancient China, the rabbit was carried
there by the moon goddess Heng O, who was fleeing her angry husband.
The Chinese also saw a toad in the moon. Others have seen an old man
carrying sticks, a beetle, and a woman reading a book.

The ancient Greeks weren’t satisfied with this sort of fantasy. Some
40 wanted to know what the spots actually were. One idea was that they were
reflections of the Earths continents and seas. But others showed that this
was not possible. Pluto of Chaeronea, a Romanized Greek who lived from
about 46 to 120 CE, wrote a book titled On the Face of the Disk of the
Moon. He reported a wide variety of opinions about the moon and gave
45 arguments for and against each. He refuted some of those theories, such
as the one that the markings were illusions in the eye of the beholder.
  Instead he suggested, rightly, that the light and dark areas are composed
of different materials. He demonstrated that the moons phases prove it to
be a solid, opaque sphere with a rough surface lit by sunlight, an object
50 very much like the Earth. Extending this analogy, he declared that the
moon was covered with mountains and valleys. This very correct idea
may have been suggested by the small irregularities that can be seen in the
moon’s straight edge near its quarter phases. They are indeed shadows cast
by lunar mountains.

55 Plutarch recorded some even more remarkable ancient findings. He
quotes Aristarchus as determining the moon to be between 0.31 and
40 the size of the Earth (close enough; the true value is 0.27). He cites
an unidentified philosopher who measured the moons distance to be,
in modern units, about 215,000 miles (the true value averages 240,000).
60 All this was done with nothing but the naked eye, probably some crude
sighting tools, and an excellent knowledge of geometry by people who
had outgrown tales about faces and rabbits.

Today we’re spoiled by technology. People think they can’t see anything
in the sky without a telescope, much less figure out what it is. But a good
65 eye and brain can go a long way.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.