The Dark Side of the Moon

Did Pink Floyd invent the phrase “Dark Side of the Moon”? Or were people already confused about that before they used the idea?

Huh? Astronomers were already well aware of the Moon’s lack of rotation on it’s axis, hence it’s constant dark side. For the Floyd, it was a euphemism.

It’s a very old phrase, findable in the 19th century and early 20th century, as in this cite from 1916.

As in that quote, the usage was mostly astronomical and the meaning was the unlit side rather than the side facing away from Earth. A few cites can also be found for “far side of the moon” meaning the side that never gets lit and therefore was never observed by astronomers.

It seems to have mostly dropped out of common use by the time Pink Floyd used it.

Here’s an earlier thread arguing about what the phrase means. (I thought we had just done this, but I didn’t find it.)

In defence of astronomers, I hope you meant they were aware of the rotation of the Moon on its axis. Whence the pretty phases.

ETA the hard-to-observe side is so because of tidal locking, not because it’s always dark there.

ETA2 for “whence the pretty phases” substitute “and the pretty phases”. Anyway, I see the astronomical meaning of the phrase has been adequately addressed.

Just for the sake of clarity, The moon*** does rotate on its axis (but it does so at the same rate it orbits the earth) and all faces*** of the moon get sunlight ( but we on the earth don’t get to see all faces when lit by the sun)

I’m not sure why you think there was any “confusion”. “Dark” in this case means “obscured” or “hidden”. Other instances of this are “Dark Energy”, “Dark Matter”, and “Deepest Darkest Africa” although the last two can also imply things other than obscurity.

I think it might have just gotten a bit more breezy in here…

I assumed that the OP was asking whether Dark Side of the Moon was an existing metaphor for “on the other side of crazy” - I don’t know but I only heard it via the album

I assumed the metaphor came about because the dark side of the moon was long-known thing that Waters seized upon.

Not really, whether the post I replied to was joking or not I don’t know as it isn’t possible to tell from the post itself, hence my use of the words “for the sake of clarity’”

Astronomers knew that? I think they knew something different.

  1. The moon *does *rotate on its axis, at an angular rate that equals the rate of revolution of its orbit around Earth due to tidal locking. That’s why it always keeps the same side facing Earth. Since the moon’s orbit is slightly elliptical, there’s a slight apparent “wobble” that lets just a bit over 50% of the surface be visible from earth.

  2. The far side gets as much sunlight as the near side. The side that’s dark is the side that happens to be facing away from the Sun at any given moment. You can see the edge of the shadow on most nights.

In any event, I don’t see how the Pink Floyd song could contribute to any confusion about the actual physical moon. There really isn’t any meaningful astronomical content to the song.

You mean everything under the Sun isn’t in tune?

Is that a thing you read? I always thought it was just a vaguely existential image that could be death, madness, alienation, the good stuff.

Followup question: Is the Dark Side of The Moon the same side as the Bad Side Of The Moon?

Album, not song.

I believe we’re saying the same thing: living your life with that existential dread, the good stuff, always present. Living in a place that is constant in its dark, cold, alienation.

No, but it is in chune.

The confusion between the dark side and the far side of the moon apparently goes back to at least 1810, as this blog attests.