There are arguably more myths and misconceptions about astronomy, and space in general, than about any other scientific discipline today, and much of it is due to the distortions and special effects produced by Hollywood.
The movie industry will always find a way to mess up the science behind anything, which does nothing to promote astronomy as a legitimate field of study.
However, other media, of the social kind, is often just as much to blame, and in many instances, the stories that make their way onto social media platforms are shockingly inaccurate, but hey, it’s on Facebook, and NASA said it so it must be accurate, right?
Wrong. In many cases, it is not what NASA said at all, and the issue with Earth’s twin, dubbed “Earth V2”, is a case in point. Virtually nothing is known of the planet that was passed off as “almost eerily earth-like”, but there are other, more persistent myths and misconceptions out there. In fact, there are thousands of them, and while we cannot debunk all of them here, we can throw a little light on five of the more persistent ones over the coming weeks.
But to whet your appetite, lets start with the myth that the Moon has a dark side.
This is again only true up to a point. The only time the side of the moon facing away from is completely dark is when the side facing us is fully illuminated by the sun, as is the case during a full moon, because the far side of the moon is facing away from the sun. At all other times, the far side of the moon is illuminated by the sun to varying degrees, and an observer looking at the moon from the far side would sometimes see the full side of the moon facing away from earth fully illuminated.
Catch more myth debunking over the forthcoming weeks…