Read the passage below carefully and answer the questions that follow.
If, once in a lifetime, you see a blue moon, don’t think your eyes are playing tricks on you. It’s caused by dust in our upper atmosphere; ice crystals are what make you see rings round the moon.
Over the centuries, magical powers have been attributed to the moon. It has been said to bring on lunacy, affect the growth of plants, eyes of cats, spots of panthers, functions of women and activities of ghosts. France once had a law against cutting timber except during a waning moon. The moon, and toa lesser degree the sun, does cause the ocean tides because of their gravitational pull. But a common mistake of primitive people is to think that everything timed in the same rhythm as the moon is caused by it.
All the moon gazing, probing and measuring has never solved the big problem: its origin. One theory is that it began as a planet, got too near the more massive earth, was ‘captured’ and turned into a satellite. Another is that the latter theory is true, scientists say, there would be two clues: the moon would consist of lighter material than the earth, and the earth would be left with a scar. As a matter of fact, the moon does weigh less. And the Pacific Ocean does have a scarlike bottom of basaltic rocks instead of the granite rocks usually found near the earth’s surface.
But the assumption that, if man can get to the moon, he’ll find the answer is unfounded. Man has been on the earth hundreds of thousands of years without determining the earth’s origin. Scientists, of course, will never give up either quest.
Indeed, for thousands of years the moon has worked a spell of fascination over all the people on its near neighbour, the earth. The ancient worshipped this lamp in the sky and speculated about it endlessly. Modern astronomers continue to explore its mysteries almost every night of the year, and with reason.
Ages ago, before artificial light was known, it was important as illumination at night. As everyone knows, the moon has no light of its own; it shines with the cold reflection of the distant sun, but actually the moon is a poor satellite with ‘earth light’ sixty times as bright as the best moonlight. That’s why we sometimes see the whole moon faintly when the sun is lighting up only a narrow crescent.
1. The phrase near neighbour, as used in the passage, shows that