Old St. Andrews



The Men in the Moon



Sept 17, 1835
The Men in the Moon
We wonder how it escaped the notice of the lively author of the late fiction on Herschel’s discoveries [see previous edition] that a wonderful source of pleasure and instruction to the lunar inhabitants may exist in the fact that one hemisphere of the Moon is never presented to the Earth. That Satellite makes exactly one revolution on her axis whilst she completes her orbit round the Earth, so that she always keeps the same hemisphere turned towards us, and her day and night taken together are just the length of our lunar month. One half of her has no darkness, being enlightened at all times either by the sun or by us, and the other half has a fortnight’s total darkness and a fortnight’s solar light. It is demonstrated by astronomy that our earth is a moon to the moon; but that to one half of the Moon, we are never visible, while to middle of the other half we appear always over head, turning round nearly thirty times quicker than she does. To a lunar spectator, the Earth seems the largest and most glorious body in the universe, appearing thirteen times as large as the Moon does to us. Ferguson says “as the earth turns round its axis, the several continents, seas, and islands appear to the moon’s inhabitants like so many spots, of different forms and brightness, moving over its surface but much fainter at some times than others, as our clouds cover them or leave them. By these spots the lunarians can obtain the time of the Earth’s diurnal motion, just as we do the motion of the Sun; and perhaps they measure their time by the motion of the earth’s spots, for they cannot have a truer dial.”
            Admitting that there are intelligent beings on the Moon, as well as every sphere which the Creator has launched into the void of space, what an amazing treat it must be for those lunarians who, inhabit what we would call the farthest side, to take a journey to her hither side and behold our terrestrial globe shedding forth is brilliant rays under the various forms o a crescent waxing into a full glowing circle, and then gradually waning and disappearing at he change. Even supposing that the inhabitants of her opposite hemisphere were physically adapted to their peculiarities of light and heat, yet from the circumstance of her western limb being turned a little more to the Earth at one period of a lunation than at another, while the eastern limb undergoes the same operation at another period, we may conclude that the links which we find connecting all the modes of existence in our mundane abode, are not wanting in the chain which connects the various classes that inhabit other spheres. It may therefore be fairly supposed that those intelligences who inhabit the region of libration in the Moon are the intermediates between the semper enlightened lunarians on the side next us, and those on the other side who have only thirteen days and thirteen nights in our year. The lunar atmosphere, which is not denied to exist, may extend this intermedial property, and modify the perception of light to the opposite inhabitants in a greater degree than climate is experienced by a traveler to the different regions of our Earth.


Nov 17, 1875
Communication with the Moon
Ridiculous as the problem may appear at first sight, that communication could be established wit the inhabitants of the moon (if it has any), nevertheless on examination, there is really nothing so very improbably in the supposition, granting those dwelling on that satellite possess alike with ourselves the sense of sight and optical instruments of high power. Years ago, some philosopher projected a plan for attracting the attention of the “man in the moon,” as follows. He proposed selecting the most elevated portion of the earth’s surface, and on it constructing a lofty tower, to which and from which signals could be made. This, considering that our larger telescopes readily distinguish on object on the moon’s surface of from fifty to a hundred feet in diameter, allowing the inhabitants of the moon possessed instruments of like power,—was not in reality so extremely chimerical. This scheme, however, was abandoned, from the fact that science clearly demonstrated the impossibility of that portion of the moon turned towards us being inhabited, at least by organisms requiring the presence of atmospheric air.
            At Pamlatesks, one of the highest peaks of the Milalya range, the Russian Government has for many years maintained an astronomical observatory from which a remarkable discovery has been made, realizing to a certain extent the dream of the old philosopher. We quote as follows:
            For several months a peculiar bright spot had been discovered, shining from the extreme edge of the moon’s disk at a point where no mountains break the continuity of its perimeter. The light suddenly disappeared and reMained invisible for nearly twelve months. It has lately reappeared in greater brilliancy than ever, and the immense power of the telescope attached to the above observatory, so well known in the scientific world, has developed the fact that the light proceeds from some huge burnished substance, acting as a mirror, which must be at least 100 feet in diameter. The most astonishing thing in the matter is the almost complete proof that this is actually a mirror of artificial construction, and the theory of the savant at Pamlateska is, that it erected for observation of a scientific character, principally to observe the phases of the earth’s surface.
            It is well known that the immense height of that portion of the moon which is turned toward the earth, not only through the well known laws of gravitation, keeps that portion of her surface presented towards us, but also render sit uninhabitable. It is supposed that the side turned from us may have an atmosphere suitable for an animal life, and that intelligent beings, observing the halo of light shed around its horizon by reflections from the earth, may have taken this means to ascertain the cause. Some ingenious device to place the mirror at bight where animal life could be sustained was the result. It is to be hoped that this discovery may lead to others in regard to our interesting satellite.