The first weekend of each month is beautifully introduced by a full moon shining bright in the sky, displaying the friendly face of the “man in the moon” that lights up our late-night festivities. Despite its brightness in the night sky, the moon is actually quite dull, with an appearance as dark as an asphalt road surface. The surface of the moon reflects only one-tenth of the sunlight that touches it. In comparison, the earth reflects three times more light whereas Enceladus, Saturn’s icy moon, reflects almost 100% of the incoming light. If our moon were as shiny as Enceladus, we would witness a moon that is ten times brighter than what we currently observe in the night sky.
In Western culture, the moon is often identified with the goddess of hunting, Diana, known for her beauty and chastity. However, in many other parts of the world, the moon is considered a male deity. For instance, in Hindu mythology, the moon is identified as the god, Soma. He travels through the sky in a chariot drawn by a team of white horses.