Into the Wormhole with Goodnight Moon’s “#1 Bestseller in Children’s Rabbit Books” (I did not make that up)

What do parents think about when they’re reading Goodnight Moon for the millionth time? If you’re awake enough to be alert, you might consider Freudian implications of the story (as a professor I once TA’d for used to do to a packed lecture hall). Or if you’re a data-driven sleuth, like the proprietor of the website Burrito Justice, you interrogate the space-time implications of the book.

Maybe the bunny and the old lady are actually in a space elevator, getting closer to the moon as he gets into bed? Or as suggested by @transitmaps, the bunny can bend space and time? I do not have a good answer to this conundrum, but that is what the comments are for.

After performing more calculations, a shocking conclusion is reached:

Working from our previous assumption that the Goodnight Moon is 10 times closer than our moon, the magic of arctan tells us that with the increase in its apparent size from 4 to 5 degrees in the space of in an hour, the moon has moved rather closer to the bunny’s room, from 49,000 km to 39,000 km.

Hey, no big deal, the Moon is just moving towards us at 10,000 km per hour, or five-sixth of the Earth’s diameter in an hour, BRB.

So if the Moon is moving towards the Earth, the little bunny has about three hours sleep before the moon is torn apart by the Roche limit, and four hours before another extinction event. But on the other hand, perhaps the bunny is in a spaceship with an awesome window and is moving *towards* the Moon.

So which is it? About to be destroyed by the moon or traveling in a spaceship with an awesome window? I won’t spoil the ending. You should check out the entire post: the mathematical calculations (and many other interesting observations along the way) are something of a tour-de-force.

And maybe, just maybe there’s a simpler explanation here? Not the “fantasy in all of us” cop-out or the “suspend your disbelief” canard, but something rational and dreamy both…


Our man Borges would approve.

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