Moon and Aldebaran

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Moon and Aldebaran

The bull keeps a close eye on the Moon tonight. That’s because Aldebaran, the star that marks the eye of Taurus, will be quite close to the Moon throughout the night. They’ll be high in the sky at nightfall, and will set in the wee hours of the morning.

The name “Moon” comes from words in old English that mean “measures time.” They indicate that ancient cultures used the Moon’s phases as a calendar. The period of those phases — almost 30 days — was named for the Moon: a month.

Other languages, of course, have used other names. Several use “Luna,” from the Latin name for our satellite world. And several words have evolved from that, such as lunatic — an indication that people who acted “crazy” were considered to be under the influence of the Moon.

According to some sources, “Luna” has become a popular name for pets. Companies that insure pets or manage networks of pet sitters release annual lists of the most popular names for cats and dogs. And Luna has been on several of them. A 2019 list, for example, said it was the second-most-popular name for female dogs, and the most popular for cats. And the name seems to be just about as common in Australia and the United Kingdom as in the U.S.

It’s not just popular for pets, though. A 2018 ranking said Luna was the 31st most popular name for baby girls in the U.S. And in 2019, it climbed to 16th — a name shared with the brightest light in the night sky.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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