We all know what time the Super Bowl starts, whether it’s here in New York City or in other, less important places, but there’s one question nobody has asked: what time does the Super Bowl start… on the moon? The answer will shock and surprise you! And also confuse you!
The answer: 46–11–27 ∇ 10:43:09, according to the helpful site Lunarclock. Haha look at those weird numbers and that triangle thing in the middle! What!
So: lunar time is much more complicated than Earth time. The moon is “tidally locked” to the Earth, meaning from our vantage point down here, we only ever see the same face. That means that its rotation, lamely, is also locked to ours (think for yourself, moon), and so to complete a rotation, it has to complete an entire revolution around the Earth. Imagine a tennis ball on a string, which you swing around yourself, while standing next to a fixed object like a car (the moon is the ball, you are the Earth, and the car is the sun.). The tennis ball isn’t rotating on its axis, but by the time you’ve spun it allllll the way around yourself, it has technically presented all 360 degrees of itself to that car, thus completing a rotation by the shittiest, technicality-laden means ever.
Okay, so, a day on the moon is equivalent to one complete circuit on the moon’s orbit around the Earth. Let’s leave the sun alone now. When you’re standing at a fixed place on Earth, the moon has completed a complete circuit when it looks the same twice — like, say, the time between a new moon and the next new moon. And the time between one new moon to the next new moon is: one month! So, a day on the moon equals a month (technically 27 days, 7 hours and 43.2 minutes) in Earth-time. Phew!
Lunarclock.org had to make up an Earth-time-like time zone (which is called Lunar Standard Time, or LST) for the moon, because nobody else had, because why would they? It’s based on Earth time: there are 12 “days” in a lunar year, because, remember, a day is the same as a month. Each “day” has 30 “cycles” of time, which would theoretically represent Earth-days, except they don’t actually have any connection to any real passage of time on the moon but are instead an arbitrary division of time to be more like Earth. Each “cycle” has 24 moon-hours, each moon-hour has 60 moon-minutes, each moon-minute has 60 moon-seconds. A moon-second is very slightly shorter than an Earth-second for reasons having to do with the moon’s orbit’s inconsistency and general pigheadedness.
Back to that weird number and triangle! Starting from the left: 46–11–27 refers to the year, the month, and the day. How do you measure years, you may ask? Year 1, day 1, “cycle” 1, etc etc etc, is the moment Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. As good a time as any, right?
The triangle thing just means “moon-time,” I guess. And the last three numbers, 10:43:09, are simple: hours, minutes, seconds. So there you go! This year’s Super Bowl will air on the moon on the 27th day of the 11th month of the 46th year, sort of, and at just after 10:43 in the morning, also sort of!
Photo by Jamie in Bytown