Q&A: Moonlight Over Paris

Since I am in the mood, let’s import another blog from the despicable site. This was posted Sep 22, ’10 9:02 PM.

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It’s been a while since I made a blog entry.

(Sa mga nagtataka kung bakit naka English mode ako ngayon, wala lang, trip trip.)

Since I have nothing to do (actually I have but I don’t know at the moment how to do it), let us answer the questions posed by the song “Moonlight Over Paris”.

For those who do not know, here is the link to the song’s lyrics (beware of the annoying advertisement and I recommend turning off JavaScript support in your browser when visiting this page): http://www.lyrics007.com/Paolo%20Santos%20Lyrics/Moonlight%20Over%20Paris%20Lyrics.html

What is the song about?
Well, it seems that this is (supposed to be) a love (emo?) song regarding a guy missing his (cheating) girlfriend. You know, the genre of songs that sound ridiculous when you’re not heartbroken but is a pleasure to hear over and over again when you are. You get the picture.

It seems that the song poses some (mind-numbing?) questions that is intended to be rhetorical. Nevertheless, we would answer them one by one. And here they are (they are found in the chorus section).

1. Does the moonlight shine on Paris [after the sum goes down]?
Well, it depends.

Astronomically speaking, the moon does not shine; rather, it reflects light from the sun, thereby giving the impression that it does shine. Therefore, yes, in this view, the moon does not, and cannot, shine over Paris.

However, applying Physics, especially the principles of thermodynamics, the moon does shine, even if the sun is not present (i.e., the moon will still shine even though, say, the sun cease to exist). The reason for this is the moon, like majority of the objects in the universe, contains internal heat. Yes, the internals of the moon are hot (Wikipedia says that the core is partly molten), and according to the laws of thermodynamics, this heat should be radiated out of the body (theoretically, an insulator does not radiate heat, but in reality it does, albeit not as readily as conductors do), and objects that radiate heat do shine (i.e., they make their own light in a sense (the incandescence concept)). However, do to the fact that this radiated heat is not high enough, the moon, without the sun, can only shine in the infrared range (i.e., not visible to the human eye since it does not radiate much light in the visible light range). And yes, infrared IS an electromagnetic wave, in which visible light is only a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum, so in a sense this is infrared “light”. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the moon does always shine in Paris.

The points above assume that the moon IS over Paris. However, this is not always the case, since the moon revolves around the sun (though the same “face” is seen at the Earth at all times since the moon is in synchronous orbit with the Earth). Therefore, practically speaking (i.e., in layman terms), the moon shines over Paris all the time except during the new moon, in which the moon is invisible to the naked eye. (This reasoning can also be extended to the points mentioned above.)

So, in summary, assuming that the moon is over Paris, astronomically speaking, the moon cannot shine on Paris; Physics-wise, it always does shine over Paris, and practically speaking, the moon does shine over Paris, provided it is not in the “new moon” phase. Otherwise, the moon cannot shine on Paris, either taking Astronomy, Physics, or the layman approach.

2. If the London Bridge is falling, will anybody hear a sound?
Technically, the London Bridge cannot fall. However, it can collapse, so technically speaking, you cannot hear the London Bridge fall; however, you can hear it collapse.

That aside, it all depends if you will hear the London Bridge fall. As we all know (and Physics has constantly proved), the intensity of sound decreases as distance from the source increases, a phenomenon called the Doppler effect. Also, the human ear can only perceive sound in a certain frequency range (15 or 16-20,000 Hz). So, common sense tells us that those in close proximity of the London Bridge will hear the sound of it collapsing, with the intensity of the sound decreasing as the distance from the source increases, and consequently with less people hearing the sound. At a very far distance, no one will hear it collapse, except maybe in the news.

For more details about the song “London Bridge Is Falling Down”, the Wikipedia entry provides a good article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge_Is_Falling_Down

3. If you follow the sunset, will it ever end?
This is an easy one. Since the Earth rotates around the sun, if you follow the sunset, it (the sunset event) will never end. However, you will surely see a lot of places, as you will be circumnavigate the globe (albeit slowly) in order to achieve this event.


So, there you go: three questions answered. I do hope I made my answers clear (especially in #1).

Notice any wrong answer (or inconsistencies) in the post? Feel free to point it out in the comments.

A lot of free time (and a non-functioning brain) sure can make this post a possibility.


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