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Crazy pursuit.

Yes, trying to pin an actual date and time of the day to van Gogh's painting is an intellectual exercise, but no one should believe this is possible ("Timing a Moonrise: Van Gogh painting put on the calendar," SN: 7/5/03, p. 6). An artist plays with what's seen. One only need look at van Gogh's painting. Does the sky really have white streaks in it? No. So what makes the group who relied on this picture so positive that the moon is in exactly the right position? More likely than not, van Gogh painted something that gave the scene feeling and depth, but it's hardly scientifically accurate.

KIRK RYAN, EAST WINDSOR, N.J.

Van Gogh's own letters say that he painted what he saw around him.--R. COWEN
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Ryan, Kirk
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Aug 30, 2003
Words:130
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