Dark side of the moon
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Dark side of the moon

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What and where is the dark side of the moon?

Have you noticed that when you look up at the moon, you always see the same features? You can see craters and patches of different colors. With a pair of binoculars or a telescope, you can make out even more detail. But no matter how you look at the moon, you’re always seeing the same landscape. What’s on the other side of the moon?

Many people use the phrase «the dark side of the moon» to describe something mysterious and unknown. The dark side of the moon is supposed to be the side we never see, the side that faces away from Earth. This side of the moon faces the cold, black expanse of space. What could be on this side of the moon? What are conditions like there? Is it really always dark?

Some astronomers grimace or roll their eyes when they hear someone talk about the dark side of the moon (unless they’re also Pink Floyd fans). The popularity of the phrase means that there’s ample opportunity for people to jump to the wrong conclusion. Part of the problem is the fact that we always see the same side of the moon. Another part concerns a general misunderstanding regarding the cause of the phases of the moon. But mostly, it’s a problem with terminology.

This isn’t a hard problem to fix, though. We just need to take a closer look at how the moon moves through space. But first, let’s deal with the terminology. There are several terms we can use instead of the dark side of the moon that are much less confusing.

So what exactly is the dark side of the moon, and why is it a misleading phrase? Find out i­n the next section.

Fly Me to the Moon

Just because we can’t see the far side of the moon from Earth doesn’t mean we don’t know what it looks like. We have several photos sent back from lunar missions. In 1968, astronauts aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft were the first humans to set eyes on the far side in person as they orbited the moon. The moon’s bulk blocked all communications to and from the spacecraft. Once the spacecraft cleared the moon, they restored communications with ground control. So what does the far side look like? Take a look for yourself!

  1. The Power of the Dark Side
  2. Far Sides and Moon Phases

The Power of the Dark Side

The descriptor «dark side» is problematic. It seems to suggest that shadows perpetually cloak the surface of one side of the moon. It’s easy to imagine a dividing line between the light side and the dark, and that by crossing this line you pass into the side of the moon we never get to see from Earth. But that’s simply not true.

While it’s true that some part of the moon is dark at any particular time, it’s not always the same part. That’s because, like Earth, the moon has a daytime and a nighttime. So if you were to set up camp on the moon and stay put, you would eventually see the sun rise and fall. You’d experience both day and night.

Since the dark side of the moon shifts as the lunar day progresses, it’s more accurate to say that the moon has a day side and a night side, just like the Earth. The day side is the side currently receiving sunlight, while the night side faces away from the sun. What does this have to do with the side we see when we look at the moon from Earth? That’s where things can get confusing. The side of the moon we see is sometimes the day side, and sometimes the night side. It all depends on when during the lunar day we look at the moon.

A more accurate term to describe the side of the moon we see is the near side. The side opposite the near side is the far side. The near side will always face toward us, and the far side will always face away. This is true even on the opposite side of the Earth. If you were to fly from America to Australia just to get a look at the moon down there, you’d see the same features you’re familiar with back home.

Both the near side and the far side of the moon have a day and a night. Both receive sunlight at certain points of the moon’s orbit around the Earth. We just can’t see the far side of the moon, even when the sun is shining on it, because the far side always faces away from us.

So why do we only see one side of the moon from Earth, and what do the phases of the moon have to do with it? Keep reading to find out.

The Moon According to Pink Floyd

If we accept the words of Pink Floyd as fact, there is no dark side of the moon — it’s all dark. In a manner of speaking, this is right. The moon doesn’t generate its own light. It reflects light from the sun. And it’s not even particularly reflective. Although the moon’s surface doesn’t reflect a lot of light, the moon itself is so large that it still appears bright to us when it’s full on a dark night with a full moon.

Far Sides and Moon Phases

2008 HowStuffWorks

It takes about 29 days for the moon to make one complete orbit around the Earth. That’s also how long it takes the moon to make one rotation around its axis. Because the moon’s rotation and orbit take the same amount of time, we always see the same face of the moon no matter when we look at it. It sounds a bit confusing, but the following animation should help clear things up.

If the moon didn’t rotate, we would be able to see all sides of its surface. Likewise, if the moon’s rotation were faster or slower, we’d eventually get a glimpse of the entire moon. So why does the moon rotate only once each time it orbits the Earth?

The short answer is gravity. The pull on the moon from the Earth has slowed the moon’s rotation down to its current speed. Its rotation is locked with the time it takes to orbit the Earth.

Interestingly, the moon is doing the same thing to the Earth. Ever feel like the days are getting longer? They are. But the change is so gradual you’d never notice it. Still, in a few billion years, the Earth’s rotation will match the time it takes the moon to orbit the Earth. By that time, the moon and Earth will have drifted apart from each other a bit, which means it will take a little longer for the moon to travel around the Earth — to the tune of about 40 days or so. That means that in the future, one Earth day will equal 40 of our current Earth days, or about 960 hours [source: Space.com].

Once the Earth’s rotation matches the time it takes for the moon to orbit the Earth, the same side of Earth will face the moon all the time. Does that mean that if you were to travel through time to the future, travel to the right spot on Earth and stare up at the sky you’d always be able to see the moon? The answer is no, and it has to do with the phases of the moon.

A common misconception about the moon is that a new moon occurs when the Earth blocks light from the sun, casting the moon into shadow. In fact, during a new moon the moon is between the sun and the Earth. Imagine that you’re in a room that has only one light source shining into it from one side. Someone walks between you and the light source. You wouldn’t be able to make out any details, but you could see the person in silhouette. That’s exactly what a new moon is.

A full moon is when the Earth is between the moon and the sun. Going back to our example, imagine that you have your back to a light source and someone is standing in front of you. You’d be able to see that person clearly. That’s the same as a full moon.

Whether it’s a full moon or a new moon, you’re still looking at the same side of the moon — the near side. During a new moon, you’re looking at the near side during lunar nighttime. With a full moon, it’s the near side’s version of noon.

So there’s no permanent dark side of the moon, but there is a far side that’s still mostly a mystery to us. Because the moon’s bulk would block radio signals to and from the Earth, it may be years before engineers come up with a way to explore the far side to a greater extent. We might even start to see NASA and other organizations erect radio relay towers on the moon’s surface to make such exploration possible. Until then, we’ll have to go loony over the side that faces us.

Want to learn more about the moon and related topics? Moonwalk over to the links on the next page.

The Dark Side of the Moon

The Dark Side of the Moon is a little like puberty: Feel how you want about it, but you’re gonna have to encounter it one way or another. Developed as a suite-like journey through the nature of human experience, the album not only set a new bar for rock music’s ambitions, but it also proved that suite-like journeys through the nature of human experience could actually make their way to the marketplace—a turn that helped reshape our understanding of what commercial music was and could be. If pop—even in the post-Beatles era—tended toward lightness and salability, Dark Side was dense and boldfaced; if pop was telescoped into bite sizes, Dark Side was shaped more like a novel or an opera, each track flowing into the next, bookended by that most nature-of-human-experience sounds, the heartbeat. Even compared to other rock albums of the time, Dark Side was a shift, forgoing the boozy extroversion of stuff like The Rolling Stones for something more interior, private, less fun but arguably more significant. In other words, if Led Zeppelin IV was something you could take out, Dark Side was strictly for going in. That the sound was even bigger and more dramatic than Zeppelin’s only bolstered the band’s philosophical point: What topography could be bigger and more dramatic than the human spirit? As much as the album marked a breakthrough, it was also part of a progression in which Floyd managed to join their shaggiest, most experimental phase (Atom Heart Mother, Meddle) with an emerging sense of clarity and critical edge, exploring big themes—greed (“Money”), madness (“Brain Damage,” “Eclipse”), war, and societal fraction (“Us and Them”)—with a concision that made the message easy to understand no matter how far out the music got. Drummer Nick Mason later noted that it was the first time they’d felt good enough about their lyrics—written this time entirely by Roger Waters—to print them on the album sleeve. For one of the most prominent albums in rock history, Dark Side is interestingly light on rocking. The cool jazz of Rick Wright’s electric piano, the well-documented collages of synthesizer and spoken word, the tactility of ambient music and dub—even when the band opened up and let it rip (say, “Any Colour You Like” or the ecstatic wail of “The Great Gig in the Sky”), the emphasis was more on texture and feel than the alchemy of musicians in a room. Yes, the album set a precedent for arty, post-psychedelic voyagers like OK Computer-era Radiohead and Tame Impala, but it also marked a moment when rock music fused fully with electronic sound, a hybrid still vibrant more than five decades on. The journey here was ancient, but the sound was from the future.

March 1, 1973 10 Songs, 42 minutes ℗ 2016 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Pink Floyd Music Ltd., marketed and distributed by Sony Music Entertainment

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The 1973 Pink Floyd song went viral, and she’s a big reason why.
Side 1: Strombo celebrates 50 years of Pink Floyd’s album.
Side 2: Strombo continues his exploration of the iconic record.

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The Dark Side of The Moon

一些曲目来自于平克·弗洛伊德过去录制的和未完成的曲目,当中的一些则来自于乐队成员先前已经完成曲目的多音轨混音。《 Us and Them 》来自于乐队为现实主义电影《 扎布里斯基角 》所做的配乐,最初的名字是《The Violence Sequence》;《Breathe》来自于罗格·沃特斯与Ron Geesin为医学纪录片《胴体》所谱写的乐曲,罗格·沃特斯在原曲的基础上重新撰写,于是诞生了《Breathe》 [1] 。

《The Great Gig in the Sky》由乐队键盘手 理查德·怀特 作曲,女声部分由克莱尔·托里负责。录音师艾伦·帕森斯认为该曲需要一个女孩在那尖叫,而他之前和克莱尔·托里有过合作,于是便找来了她。克莱尔·托里只花了几个小时就完成了工作 [4] 。

专辑的录制工作于1972年6月至1973年1月在英国伦敦的艾比路工作室完成,平克·弗洛伊德在该专辑中进行了多项的技术尝试,比如多轨录音及模拟合成器 [5] 。
专辑封套由英国设计团队Hipgnosis和英国设计师乔治·哈迪设计 [6] 。封面上,一束白光被三棱镜分解为6种颜色;而背面的封套上6种颜色的光束又被棱镜融为一束白光 [1] 。

专辑曲目

《Speak to Me》
罗格·沃特斯、大卫·吉尔摩、理查德·怀特
《On the Run》
罗格·沃特斯、大卫·吉尔摩
罗格·沃特斯、大卫·吉尔摩、理查德·怀特、尼克·马森
大卫·吉尔摩、理查德·怀特
《The Great Gig in the Sky》
理查德·怀特、克莱尔·托里
《Us and Them》
罗格·沃特斯、理查德·怀特
《Any Colour You Like》
大卫·吉尔摩、尼克·马森、理查德·怀特
《Brain Damage》

专辑鉴赏

30周年纪念版专辑封面

《The Dark Side of The Moon》采用不停顿的方式连续演绎,给人一气呵成的感觉 [1] 。它听起来既精致干净,又充满了摇滚能量。专辑中既有构思巧妙的音效,又有丰富的器乐编排,之间相辅相成,让这张唱片听起来严肃有趣 [4] 。

整部专辑被看成一首完整的曲目而不是专辑里所有歌曲的简单集合。它似乎是主要针对转瞬即逝且充满罪恶的人类生命,这也是摇滚乐中最常见的主题素材 [1] 。

在《Money》中,迪克·帕里那极富煽情的萨克斯即兴演奏表现出了那种宽阔而粗旷的风格,该曲鞭策了金钱至上的思想。《Us And Them》是全碟旋律最优美的一首歌,歌词虽简单但内涵却很深奥,其深刻地提出了反战宣言,歌曲中迪克·帕里的萨克斯演奏迷人且令人窒息 [1] 。

《Brain Damage》通过讲述一个“精神病患者”与众不同的行为,讽刺了那些所谓的“正常人”。实际清醒的人为世俗所不容,只能在“月之背影”才能看见他,这是整张唱片的精神所在。最后的结束曲《Eclipse》在罗列了一大堆普通人经历过的事情后却在结尾说到“每件事情在太阳下谐和一致,但太阳却被月亮遮蔽了”,表达出一种苍凉的哀愁和无奈 [1] 。

该专辑不足在于,大卫·吉尔摩的嗓音经常表现出软弱而缺乏光泽 [1] 。《The Great Gig In The Sky》的结束显得有些仓促,似乎有些人为缩短的痕迹。但这些丝毫不会影响整部专辑的质量 [1] 。

《Dark Side of The Moon》完整地解释了现代社会人际关系淡漠等等严肃的话题,却没有落入俗套。几十分钟的长度恰如其分,一次听完感觉十分饱满。以现代的眼光来看,当年许多的前卫摇滚专辑听起来不免显得十分幼稚,但该专辑却依然表现着严整的气势,非常了不起,它在演奏、录音、主题表达上的表现依然是超越时代的 [4] 。

Pink Floyd — Dark Side of the Moon Lyrics

Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don’t be afraid to care.
Leave but don’t leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.

On The Run
(Gilmour, Waters) 3: 32

«Live for today, gone tomorrow, that’s me, HaHaHaaaaaa!»

Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour) 7: 06
The Dark Side of The Moon

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Breathe (reprise)
7: 06

Home, home again.
I like to be here when I can.
When I come home cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire.
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

The Great Gig in the Sky
(Wright) 4: 44

«And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I
don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying?
There’s no reason for it, you’ve gotta go sometime.»

«If you can hear this whispering you are dying.»

«I never said I was frightened of dying.»

Money
(Waters) 6: 32

Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay.
Money, it’s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team.

Money, get back.
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it’s a hit.
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.

Money, it’s a crime.
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise that they’re
giving none away.

«HuHuh! I was in the right!»
«Yes, absolutely in the right!»
«I certainly was in the right!»
«You was definitely in the right. That geezer was cruising for a
bruising!»
«Yeah!»
«Why does anyone do anything?»
«I don’t know, I was really drunk at the time!»
«I was just telling him, he couldn’t get into number 2. He was asking
why he wasn’t coming up on freely, after I was yelling and
screaming and telling him why he wasn’t coming up on freely.
It came as a heavy blow, but we sorted the matter out»

Us and Them
(Waters, Wright) 7: 40

Us, and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men.
Me, and you.
God only knows it’s noz what we would choose to do.
Forward he cried from the rear
and the front rank died.
And the general sat and the lines on the map
moved from side to side. By
Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it’s only round and round.
Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside.

«I mean, they’re not gunna kill ya, so if you give ’em a quick short,
sharp, shock, they won’t do it again. Dig it? I mean he get off
lightly, ‘cos I would’ve given him a thrashing — I only hit him once!
It was only a difference of opinion, but really. I mean good manners
don’t cost nothing do they, eh?»

Down and out
It can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?
Out of the way, it’s a busy day
I’ve got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died.

Brain Damage
(Waters) 3: 50

The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

The lunatic is in my head.
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane.
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

«I can’t think of anything to say except.
I think it’s marvelous! HaHaHa!»

Eclipse
(Waters) 2: 04

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

«There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.»

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