When The Luna Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie: Naming The Moon

Mercury and Venus are the only two planets in our solar system that have no satellites, no moons. Neptune has thirteen moons with names like Triton and Nalad to remind of Greek gods. Uranus, the favorite planetary body of snickering school children, has twenty seven. The names of the moons of Uranus are borrowed from the works of William Shakespeare. The names include Ophelia, Cordelia, Puck and Prospero. Saturn is not satisfied with rings alone. It has sixty-one moons in its possession. Again these moons have the names of Greek gods. Titan, Atlas and Pan to name a few. Next comes Jupiter with sixty-three, again named from the mythology of the Greeks. Even the lowly, decommissioned, space-rock-Pluto has three, Chardon, Nix and Hydra, the serpent water beast.

The only moon in the sky that isn’t named is ours. The Moon orbiting the Earth. Some will claim our moon is named Luna. But Luna isn’t a name it is a label. It has no meaning beyond its definition. It is a simple place holder like the Latin inscriptions under pinned butterflies. No one calls the Earth Terra or the Moon Luna. No one does things but the Light Of The Silvery Luna. No one goes out to look at the full Luna. The cow didn’t jump over the Luna and there is no Harvest Luna, large and low in the autumn sky.

Originally the Earth was thought to be the center of the universe. The sun, the moon, and all the heavens revolved around the Earth while the Earth stood majestically stationary in the sky. Could this be part of the reason our Moon is simply labeled and goes un-named? Is it based on a conceit? Is it because it is the closest to us and the first heavenly body to be closely observed? Is it because we thought of it as the one and only? Then why did we bother to name the first man and woman? Why not just Man and Woman?

We have a Man-In-The-Moon, is his name Luna? Is that his first or last name? I think our Moon deserves more than a label, it deserves a name. Should it be heavenly, of the gods? Should it be magical, befitting the controller of the tides. Should it be philosophical, befitting its influence over human behavior, its ability to cause lunacy? If, according to Olde Shakespeare, Juliet is the sun does that suggest a name? Can you suggest one?

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One Response to When The Luna Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie: Naming The Moon

  1. Fantastic views on that!

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