With the rise in conspiracy theories, so rises your extended family’s interest and “knowledge” in all things space! During whatever family gathering is next, there may be a point between drinks three and four where someone, invariably in a Pink Floyd t-shirt, will proclaim “The moon doesn’t rotate! Otherwise we’d see the dark side!”
Congratulations! It is now your job to provide a simple but informative lesson on gravity and centripetal force! Careful though, if you cause your new pupil to get defensive about their beliefs, you could cause a decades-long rift that makes grandma’s funeral even sadder than usual. Luckily, walking that razor-thin tightrope couldn’t be easier! Simply take a deep breath and follow these simple steps.
- Stifle the Tina Fey level eye roll you have prepared. If you must, quietly utter the Lord’s name in vain.
- Find two round objects as similar to a moon and earth you can find. Warning: using non-round objects opens the door (and several windows) for other unfounded arguments about the moon.
- Mimic the rotation of the moon around the earth while taking your best Famous Scientist voice. David Attenborough tends to command the most respect, but Neil Degrasse Tyson will do in a pinch.
- After explaining the term “synchronous rotation” multiple times, reluctantly draw an X on one side of your “moon” and repeat Step 3.
- Once your relatives have grasped the concept, let any comments like “I still believe they’re hiding something up there” slide.
- Fake a migraine to avoid any further confrontation and a conversation about how Uncle Terry totally saw a ghost.
- Google a YouTube video that explains it better.