March’s Windy Full Moon

Welcome March Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 3 of Volume X of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links that interest you)

INTRO

   How does this happen?! All of a sudden it’s Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere)! Yeah, I know that it doesn’t look that way necessarily everywhere. But you know? With all the awfulness going on in the world (both nature-made and man-made), life goes on and doesn’t stop the Olympics or lunar calendar Spring celebrations like Purim and Holi. Spring is a time for renewal and hope after the cold and dark of winter. (My friend in Barrow AK saw the sun for the first time since the middle of November on Jan 22, peeking over the horizon for a whole 25 minutes! Now her daylight is closing in on 9 hours!)

   So – while “windy” is the theme for this moon, we’re injecting some hope. Also some great pics from “down under”, and of last month’s eclipse.

Staircase to the Moon

   Staircase to the Moon is a natural phenomenon that occurs when a full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay, Australia. It happens 2–3 days a month between March and October. (Courtesy of strangesounds.org.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Friday March 2 at 00:51 UTC, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

   Because exact fullness will occur this time just after midnight Friday at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Thursday night/Friday morning almost everywhere on Earth. Folks just west of the International Date Line (Philippines, Australia, etc.) will get an approximately equal show Thursday and Friday nights. But note that since to an unaided eye she appears full 24-36 hours either side of technical fullness, you will be treated to apparent fullness at least two nights in a row. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones, and how to find exact fullness time in any time zone.

   And as if it wasn’t enough to have two full moons in January, we’re doing it again in March with another “blue moon” at the end of the month (and most likely another visit from the Cosmic Curmudgeon).

Moonrise over Byron Bay, Australia (SurflifeAustralia)

    This moonrise over Byron Bay in east Australia was captured as a time-lapse video by Aussie surfer/photog Luke Taylor of Surflife Australia Photography. You can see the video on his Facebook page SurflifeAustraliaPhotography, where he also has a bunch of great surfing photos. 

MOON NAMES
   Spring is coming to the North, but not without a fight from winter. March is definitely coming in like a lion. Details at Moon Names.

THE JANUARY LUNAR ECLIPSE
  A couple of cool pics of the eclipse this last full moon. Click on Eclipse.

LUNAR CALENDAR CELEBRATIONS
  The big lunar calendar holidays this month are Purim and Holi. Check ’em out at Celebrations.

ASTROLOGY
  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles continue to go deep with their very real, personal insights at this Virgo full moon. Head over to Astrology to see what they came up with.

MOON and STARS HUMOR
  We continue with the next installment in our current Calvin and Hobbes’ space adventure series. See Humor.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

March’s 1st full moon     Friday March 2 00:51 UTC; 2:51 am IST; 8:51 am AWST/PHT; 11:51 am  AEDT
(1st of two this month)  Thursday March 1 8:51 pm AST; 7:51 pm EST; 4:51 pm PST; 2:51 pm HAST

Daylight Time Begins    USA, Canada: Sunday March 11

March’s new moon          Saturday March 17 13:12 UTC; 3:12 pm IST; 9:12 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Saturday March 17 10:12 am ADT; 9:12 am EDT; 6:12 am PDT; 3:12 am HAST

.                                            Sunday March 18  12:12 am AEDT

March Equinox                Tuesday March 20  16:15 UTC
.                                           Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere

Daylight Time Begins    Israel: Friday March 23 
Daylight Time Begins    United Kingdom: Sunday March 25

March’s “Blue” Moon    Saturday March 31 12:37 UTC; 3:37 pm IDT; 8:37 pm AWST/PHT
(2nd of two full              Saturday March 31 9:37 am ADT; 8:37 am EDT; 5:37 am PDT; 2:37 am HAST
.     moons this month)  Saturday March 31 11:37 pm AEDT  (squeaked in this time, Melbourne👏)

Daylight Time Ends       East Australia: Sunday April 1

April’s new moon           Monday April 16 13:57 UTC; 10:57 am ADT; 9:57 am EDT; 6:57 am PDT
.                                          Monday April 16 3:57 am HAST; 4:57 pm IDT; 9:57 pm AWST/PHT
.                                          Tuesday April 17 11:57 pm AEST

.                                   Find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone at Moon Giant.

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MOON NAMES

Windy Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the season in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

   The prevailing names that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report for March are Worm Moon and Sap Moon; we featured these names in our March issue for 2015. Since it’s looking like March will certainly be living up to its “coming in like a lion” reputation this year, I’m choosing Windy Moon for this full moon’s name, honoring the tradition that includes Windy Moon (Cherokee), Moon of Winds (Choctaw, Celts), Wind Strong Moon (Taos), and Whispering Wind Moon (Hopi).

“A Windy Night Out West” by Paul Nuttall

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LAST MONTH’S ECLIPSE

  The eclipse of the full moon last month was captured in thousands, if not millions of photographs. Here are two of them —

Jan 2018 Lunar Eclipse at Jenner Canada by Neight Elder

   This one taken by Neight Elder and posted on his Facebook page, captured the eclipse in Jenner, Canada.  

The super blue blood moon rises over Beijing (credit: VCG/Getty)

  Found this one on LiveScience, where you can also see a video of the entire eclipse condensed into one minute.

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MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS

   Like the Chinese calendar, the Hebrew and Hindu calendars are lunisolar calendars, meaning their dates are determined by the phases of the moon, adjusted periodically to stay in sync with the seasons. The spring festival holidays of Purim and Holi are determined by this month’s full moon.

Purim

   Purim is a rabbinically decreed Jewish holiday that is celebrated on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which coincides with the current full moon. The holiday will run this year from sundown Wednesday (Feb 28) until sundown Thursday (Mar 1).

Purim Street Celebration

  This spring holiday commemorates the Jewish community’s narrow escape from collective destruction in the ancient Persian Empire, and is celebrated by merry-making, re-telling the story of Esther, and eating of traditional foods, like these preserved fruit-filled hamantaschen pastries:

Hamantaschen

   The theme of the triumph of good over evil found here is common to many rites of Spring, including Holi (below). (More on Purim can be found at Wikipedia and HolidaysCalendar.)

Holi

   Hindus follow a lunisolar calendar, which honors each full noon (purnima) with a celebration. On the day after the last full moon of the Hindu lunar month Phalguna (transliterated as Phalgun Purnima), millions of people in India, Nepal, and now almost everywhere around the world, celebrate the Hindu festival of Holi – the Spring Festival of Colors.

   Holi is a symbol of the triumph of good over evil. It marks the onset of spring and is also celebrated to give thanks for a good harvest. The festival revolves around smearing colors on each others’ faces, splashing people with water by throwing water balloons at them and heartily indulging in sweet delicacies.

   The Holi festival commemorates the victory of good over evil, brought about by the burning and destruction of the demoness named Holika. This was enabled through unwavering devotion to the Hindu god of preservation, Lord Vishnu. Holi got its name as the “Festival of Colors” from Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors. The festival marks the end of winter and the abundance of the upcoming spring harvest season.

   Holi is always officially celebrated beginning on the evening of the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna and continuing through the day following; thus it is celebrated this year on March 1 and 2. However, Holi celebrations in various places are beginning before then, while others are scheduled for later in the month. Similar to the Spring rituals of many cultures, like Purim (above), this major Hindu holiday celebrates new life and hope, accentuating the joy with colors (everywhere and on everyone!) that reflect the colors of the flowers blooming all around. (See more at tripsavvy.)

Holi Face Colors

   The holiday also has deep cultural, mythological  and religious roots.  For lots more details about Holi, visit this Wikipedia article and Holi Festival.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. Unlike the Earth — which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the zodiac — the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign.

   Opposition. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. Last year’s February Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Zodiac Constellations

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna will enter Virgo on Thursday (3/1) at 05:57. She will leave Virgo the next day (3/2) at 23:50, thus becoming void for 8 1/2 hours, after which she will enter the next sign, Libra on 3/3 at 08:20.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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Virgo Full Moon (Lisa Mooncat)

Cristina ~    

Full Moon in Virgo
“Accuracy”

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and compassionate understanding, and her love of words and art. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   If this issue had a subtitle, it would be “Order from Chaos”. You’ll understand why when you check out Cristina’s installment for this full moon.

   In the interest of time (which I am painfully short of this month), I give you here a juicy teaser excerpt:

[…] perfection is not an endgoal. Perfection is the present moment, with all its tortuous, complex dynamics, its edges, its learning curves, its way of mirroring our own nature back at us. Perfection is us being in the here and now, engaging fully with our experience, accepting that life will always be a work in progress, and that in itself is the pinnacle of humanness. To keep on adjusting, rearranging ourselves, learning, adapting.

   Hopefully this intrigued you enough to click over to her site for the full monty atFull Moon in Virgo “Accuracy”.  I think you know it will definitely be worth it.

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Dana~     

Mooncircles

   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Mooncircles:
Virgo Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some (very) brief teasers for their offerings at this full moon in Virgo:

  Virgo Full Moon: The Best Truth
.                 by April Elliott Kent
“With Mars transiting Sagittarius and my first house in recent weeks, I’ve managed to antagonize a few people close to me without even trying.”[ . . . ]

  Virgo Full Moon: Let’s Lighten Up
.                 by Jessica Shepherd
“Enlightenment literally translates to “lightening up”, which today means taking things less seriously. Not so long ago, a funny moment earned a dry snort. Now, watching a bulldog walk its owner, I double over in giggles, tears streaming down my face. This is success.”[ . . . ]

  When the Moment Becomes a Movement
                by Dana Gerhardt
“Eclipses occur twice a year, six months apart, in different pairs of signs each year. In my experience, the energy is usually a little buzzy and wobbly, vibrating the atmosphere from a mild irritation to the occasional higher voltage “snap” zone. If something needs to change in your life, this energetic quivering makes it easier to do what’s right.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual for Virgo/Pisces Full Moon
.                 
by Dana Gerhardt
“Drawing down the moon… Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit.” [ . . . ]

   Beautiful, reflective, honest, practical, applicable! These talented women bring stargazing down to Earth. Each has her own unique ability to connect her personal and practical situation with the larger energies moving through all of us at this time. You can access each article by clicking on its link or thumbnail. Or access all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles!

Virgo Full Moon

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes

“A Bumpy Ride”
(fifth in our Perambulant Pair’s “interplanetary” series that we began in November . . .)

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   If you especially liked something you saw here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the second (“blue”) full moon in March,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of re-awakening and lightening up.

Moonlight to all!
~Marty

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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MY PERSONAL TAKE ON ASTROLOGY

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or known. If there is content appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the item in question, and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

Posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January’s Super Eclipsed Full Moon

Welcome January Super Eclipsed Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 2 of Volume X of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links that interest you)

INTRO

   In issue #1 for this year I named the full moon New Year’s Moon. Well, that new year was according to the “solar” calendar currently in use in most parts of the modern world. The new moon coming up the middle of the month ushers in another new year ~ this one according to the lunar (or “luni-solar”) calendar observed ~ for holidays, birthdays, etc. ~ in many Asian cultures. See the Celebrations section.

   This full moon will be the third “super” moon in the current triad; the first was this past December and the second one at the beginning of this month. More interesting (I think) is the eclipse. See the Skywatch-Eclipse section for details. As for all the hullabaloo about a “blue” moon ~ see my Cosmic Curmudgeon section for a splash of cold water.

Once In A Blue Moon by Bryant Arnold

    

February Snow Moon

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Wednesday January 31 at 13:26 UTC, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

  Because technical fullness at the Prime Meridian will occur this time around midday – as it did last June – the cusp will again fall around Iceland’s meridian, and thus Ms. Luna will appear there equally full both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Further west to the International Date Line will see closer to maximum fullness on Tuesday night, while Wednesday night will favor folks east of the cusp. But note that since to an unaided eye she appears full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, you will be treated to apparent fullness at least two nights in a row. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones, and how to find exact fullness time in any time zone.

MOON NAMES
   As winter in the North is beginning to loose its grip, I chose a cheerful name that many native peoples used. Details at Moon Names.

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February full moon (©Tanaaz) 

SUPER MOON
  The last of the “super” full moons of 2018. Check out the Skywatch-SuperMoon section for the details.

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE
  The first total lunar eclipse since 2015. Click on Eclipse for details.

BLUE MOON
  The whole thing with Blue Moons these days stemmed from a little/big mistake. See the Cosmic Curmudgeon’s take on it all.

LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
  The biggest holiday on the Chinese lunar calendar. Check out the Year of the Dog at Celebrations.

ASTROLOGY
  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles really knock it outta the park this time with their very real, personal insights at this Leo full moon. Zip over to Astrology to see what they came up with.

MOON and STARS HUMOR
  We continue with the next installment in our current Calvin and Hobbes’ space adventure series. See Humor.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

January’s “Blue” Moon    Wednesday January 31 13:26 UTC; 3:26 pm IST; 9:26 pm AWST/PHT
(2nd of two full                 Wednesday January 31 9:26 am AST; 8:26 am EST; 5:26 am PST; 3:26 am HAST
.     moons this month)    Thursday February 1 12:26 am AEDT  (sorry, Melbourne – not “Blue” for you🙁)

No full moon in February (except for places hugging the western side of the International Date Line, such as eastern Australia, New Zealand, and far eastern Russia, where the moon will become technically full just after midnight on Feb 1).

February’s new moon     Wednesday February 15 21:06 UTC; 5:06 pm AST; 4:06 pm EST; 1:06 pm PST
.                                           Wednesday February 15 11:06 am HAST; 11:06 pm IST
.                                           Thursday February 16 5:06 am AWST/PHT; 8:06 am AEDT

March’s full moon          Friday March 2 00:51 UTC; 2:51 am IST; 8:51 am AWST/PHT; 11:51 am  AEDT
(1st of two this month)  Thursday March 1 8:51 pm AST; 7:51 pm EST; 4:51 pm PST; 2:51 pm HAST

Daylight Time Begins    USA, Canada: Sunday March 11

March’s new moon          Saturday March 17 13:12 UTC; 3:12 pm IST; 9:12 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Saturday March 17 10:12 am ADT; 9:12 am EDT; 6:12 am PDT; 3:12 am HAST

.                                            Sunday March 18  12:12 am AEDT

.                                   Find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone at Moon Giant.

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MOON NAMES

Opening Buds Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the season in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

   Even though the moon becomes full while it’s still January in most places, it will be February 1 in some places. And since there will be no other full moon in February, I’m using a February name for this full moon.

   The prevailing names that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report for February are Snow Moon and Hunger Moon; we treated these names in our February issues for 2011, 2012 and 2013. Many other fascinating names for February’s moon remain to be explored. This time I’ve chosen Opening Buds Moon which the sources I’ve found attribute to “Native Americans”, though none names any specific tribe or tribes.

Red fox and forsythia in snow. (Mother-Daughter Press)

   I like Opening Buds because it gives people in the Northern Hemisphere hope. Yes, it’s been unseasonably warm in some lower parts of the USA, prompting many plants and trees to begin sprouting early. But even some parts of the frozen north are beginning to thaw. In the Chicago area where I grew up the forsythia bush in the back yard was the first plant to bloom, heralding winter’s end (though we never had a visit from a red fox . . .).

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SKYWATCH
SECOND OF TWO SUPER MOONS THIS YEAR

  This full moon will be the second of the two “super” moons this year; the third in the current troika of super full moons that began with the December 2017 full moon. Super moons often happen in threes, with the one in the middle being the “super-est”. This is due to the elliptical shape of the Moon’s orbit, swinging closer in, then further out. In fact, there are some sources that claim this will not be a “super” moon, because it won’t be close enough to Earth at the moment of fullness. It just depends on whose definition of “super” you are using.

   We went into some detail on supermoons in last moonth’s issue. Click over to the New Year’s Moon Skywatch section for more.

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TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE

   As you have no doubt heard, the Moon will go into total eclipse while it is passing through Earth’s shadow. This will be the first total lunar eclipse since 2015. There will be one more this year (tho not visible in North America), one in 2019 (this one prime for both North and South America), and then not again until 2021.

   Folks in the middle and western parts of the U.S. can observe this one if you get up before dawn on Wednesday and have a clear view of the setting moon in the sky to the west. Check this TimeandDate page for visibility and times at your location.

   And yes, like all total lunar eclipses, the moon will have a reddish cast, thus prompting the moniker “Blood Moon”. The red color comes from sunlight passing through and being focused by Earth’s atmosphere. (See my September 2015 issue for some interesting pics and diagrams.)

Super Blood Moon Eclipse Sequence (©Mike Taylor Photography) 

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THE COSMIC CURMUDGEON
“BLUE” MOON??

   Will this full moon actually have a blue hue?  No.  (Warning — rant ahead . . .)

   The term “blue moon” is strictly a folklore term whose meaning has been weakened over the decades and yes, even centuries. “Once in a blue moon” means “rarely”. It originally meant “really rarely.” Then Maine farmers, who actually used the monthly names of moons to keep track of seasons (just as other peoples did, as we describe in our monthly Moon Names section), inserted the name “Blue Moon” for the extra moon in years that had 13 full moons, so as not to mess up the sequence of the other 12 names. They actually keyed it to the seasons, and called the third full moon in a four-moon season the “blue” one, so that the fourth and last full moon of that season would retain its usual name. This was all documented in painstaking detail in the Maine Farmers’ Almanac.


.   Well! Wouldn’t you know it! In 1946 an amateur astronomer and frequent contributor to Sky and Telescope magazine submitted an article he titled “Once in a Blue Moon”. In said article he misinterpreted the Maine Farmers’ Almanac and invented his own definition of Blue Moon: “the second full moon in a calendar month” ~ the definition that just about everyone uses nowadays. Now Sky and Telescope is highly respected by amateur astronomers everywhere, so when the magazine’s editor let this bogus definition slip by, the genie was out of the bottle and now has no chance of ever getting put back in.

   Note that because the Maine Farmers’ definition is keyed to the seasons, it is actually astronomy-based, while Sky and Telescope’s, being purely dependent on a human-invented calendar, has nothing to do with actual astronomy. (Is this a good example of irony?) And further — with this definition, blue moons occur more frequently, so the original meaning of “rarely” has been diluted. Thus my grumpy attitude.

   To their credit, Sky and Telescope has an extensive article on this blunder, with way more detail than you are probably interested in. But if you skip over the minutiae, you can still grab the gist of the story. Wikipedia also has a somewhat briefer accounting in their article Blue Moon.

   At the end of the Sky and Telescope article, the authors quote their founding editor, Charles A. Federer Jr.: “Even if the calendrical meaning is new, I don’t see any harm in it. It’s something fun to talk about, and it helps attract people to astronomy.” Okay, I’m not feeling quite so grumpy now.

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MOON CELEBRATIONS

Lunar New Year

   The Chinese (or Lunar) New Year, officially known as the ‘Spring Festival‘, is the most important (and at 15 days, the longest) of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is observed by Chinese and other Asian communities worldwide.

Chinese New Year Dragon (Wikimedia)

   The Spring Festival, marking the end of the winter season (analogous to the Western Carnival), begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. This is always on a new moon – usually the second new moon after the Winter Solstice (as it is this year). Sometimes it is on the third new moon after the Winter Solstice. Noting that the Winter Solstice (a solar event, not a lunar event) plays a role here, you can see why the modern Chinese calendar is not a pure lunar calendar, but a lunisolar calendar, having an extra month added every two or three years as needed in order to keep in sync with the seasons.

   This year the Chinese New Year (year 4716 according to the Huángdì era) will begin on the new moon Friday, February 16 on the (Western) Gregorian calendar, and will end  15 days later with the Lantern Festival on the full moon (Friday, March 2). The Lantern Festival has been commercialized in Hong Kong as Chinese Valentine’s Day.

   According to the Chinese Zodiac, this year will be the Year of the (Yang) Brown Earth Dog

   Note that the astrological reckoning for determining the animal year uses a traditional counting system that is not determined by the lunar calendar. Thus the Chinese astrological new year, considered by Chinese astrologers as the Start of Spring, begins on February 4 in China, when it will still be February 3 most places east of the International Date Line.  (Someday I hope to understand these details of the Chinese calendars. Perhaps by next year at this time. . .)

The two-week Spring Festival ends with the Lantern Festival, which occurs on the night of the first full moon of the lunisolar New Year, the 15th day of the lunar month.

   The Lantern Festival will be celebrated in many countries this year on Friday, March 2. (Refs: Wikipedia~Chinese New Year, Wikipedia~Chinese zodiac, Chinese Fortune Calendar)

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. Unlike the Earth — which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the zodiac — the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign.

   Opposition. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. Last February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Zodiac Constellations

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna will begin exiting Cancer — thus becoming VoC — on Tuesday (30th) at 16:40, remaining void for just over two hours. She will then enter Leo at 18:53, remaining there for a day and a half until Thursday, Feb 1, at 10:58, when she will again become void.  Eight-and-a-half hours later she will enter the next sign, Virgo, at 19:13.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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Full Moon in Leo

Cristina ~    

Full Moon in Leo
Glow Like Dat

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and compassionate understanding, and her love of words and art. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   In this installment, Cristina links all the aspects of this full moon, even tying into the solar eclipse of last August.

   As is her style, Cristina provides expansive depth and richness in her take on this full moon. Rather than presenting excerpts of her content verbatim this time, I give you here my condensed paraphrase:

> Like every full moon, this one shines a bright beam on whatever is coming full-circle in our life.
This particular full moon exposes whatever lies hidden in our hearts, Leo’s domain. > This eclipse amplifies the intensity, shaking us out of our comfort zone of inertia and complacency.
> This Full Moon wakes up our hearts that are begging to be set free, to follow our bliss, and to leave behind the psychic vampires and bullshit that drain our life energy.
> Our relationships and our perception of them are going to play a major role during this cosmic turning point.

   Oooh – be dat juicy or what?! (That “bullshit” wasn’t my paraphrase — she actually used it.) Hopefully this intrigued you enough to click over to her site for the full monty atFull Moon in Leo “Glow Like Dat”.  I think you know it will definitely be worth it.

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Dana~     

Mooncircles

   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Mooncircles:
Leo Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some (very) brief teasers for their offerings at this full moon in Leo:

  Leo Lunar Eclipse: Make Your Own Kind of Music
.                 by April Elliott Kent
“When I was younger, I knew women who would only date artists or musicians – even when their creative gifts came bundled with drug use, financial irresponsibility, or infidelity. [They] were really missing out on something special: the thrill, validation, and power that come from being a creator and performer. “[ . . . ]

  Leo Full Moon Eclipse: The HI Life
.                 by Jessica Shepherd
“Eclipse season is a magical time. Eclipse energy feels big, it’s exaggerating the message for a reason. Go inside your self, listen to your heart. Because, as crazy as it sounds, there’s nothing stopping you from following it.”[ . . . ]

  Mastering Your Guilt, Self Doubt, and Fear
                by Dana Gerhardt
“Saturn in Capricorn [is] on everyone’s mind these days. He’s in your fresh desire to be more focused, organized, and effective. He’s the newly fierce cultural call for accountability in positions of power. Saturn-in-Capricorn is inspiring the dreams of hopefully better future leaders.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual for Leo/Aquarius Moon
.                 
by Dana Gerhardt
“Drawing down the moon… Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit.” [ . . . ]

   I have to admit — while April and Jessica and Dana always come through, this “moonth” I think/feel they knocked it outta the park. Each of them has their own unique ability to connect their personal and practical situation with the larger energies moving through all of us at this time. You can access each article by clicking on its link or thumbnail. Or access all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles!

Full Moon in Leo

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes

“The Wondering Wanderers”
(fourth in our Perambulant Pair’s “interplanetary” series that we began in November . . .)

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   If you especially liked something you saw here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the full moon in March,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of freedom and living true to ourselves.

~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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MY PERSONAL TAKE ON ASTROLOGY

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or known. If there is content appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the item in question, and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

Posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January’s Super New Year’s Moon

Welcome January Super New Year’s Moon!

Welcome to Issue 1 of Volume X of Earth, Moon and Stars!

 

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links that interest you)

INTRO

   Only every 19 years (or so) is the moon full on New Year’s Day. Thus my name for this one. It’s also a “super” moon – the second in the current triad..

   The day the new year begins depends on which calendar one is using, so while New Year’s Day hasn’t always been January 1 (and isn’t everywhere even today), the beginning of a new trip around the Sun is universally met with much celebration and hope. Given the tragedies that we experience — whether natural or anthropogenic — the human spirit needs to be able to look forward to a brighter tomorrow.

   The moon’s cycle does that for most people, too. So having a full moon on New Year’s day is doubly auspicious! I wish for you and yours a year full of happiness, inner peace, and love!

Winter Moon by David Paul (2011) [FineArtAmerica]

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Tuesday, January 2 at 02:24 UTC, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

    Because fullness at the Prime Meridian will occur this time just a couple of hours after midnight Tuesday, people most places on the globe will see closest to a full moon Monday night January 1 (and thus the reason for my name for her this time). Folks in the Far East (Hanoi, Perth and places east to the International Date line) are on the cusp and will see about equal fullness Monday and Tuesday nights. But as we like to point out, since to an unaided eye she appears full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, you will be treated to apparent fullness at least two nights in a row. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   I did it again and made up my own name for this somewhat special full moon. Details at Moon Names.

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SUPER MOON
  The first of two “super” full moons of 2018. (The second one coming at the end of this month.) Check out the Skywatch-SuperMoon section for the details.

MOON POETRY
  I always like it when I find some kind of creative expression that involves the moon. This poem by Chinese poet Shiwu was a serendipitous find. Click on Poetry for the poem and story.

MOON PHOTOGRAPHIC ART
  Featured for the first time here in EM&S last September, we bring photographer Jasman Mander back for a winter reprise. (And a little skywatch quiz to tickle your thinker.) Click on Art to jump to the photo.

ASTROLOGY
  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles have more personal insights for you at this Cancer full moon. Drop in at Astrology to see what inspiration awaits you.

MOON and STARS HUMOR
  We continue with the third installment in our current Calvin and Hobbes’ space adventure series. See Humor.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

January’s full moon        Tuesday January 2 02:24 UTC; 4:24 am IST; 10:24 am AWST/PHT; 1:24 pm  AEDT
(1st of two this month)  Monday January 1 10:24 pm AST; 9:24 pm EST; 6:24 pm PST; 4:24 pm HAST

January’s new moon       Wednesday January 17 02:17 UTC; 4:17 am IST; 10:17 am AWST/PHT; 1:17 pm AEDT
.                                            Tuesday January 16 10:17 pm AST; 9:17 pm EST; 6:17 pm PST; 4:17 pm HAST

January’s “Blue” Moon    Wednesday January 31 13:26 UTC; 3:26 pm IST; 9:26 pm AWST/PHT
(2nd of two full                 Wednesday January 31 9:26 am AST; 8:26 am EST; 5:26 am PST; 3:26 am HAST
.     moons this month)    Thursday February 1 12:26 am AEDT  (sorry, Melbourne – not “Blue” for you🙁)

No full moon in February (except for places hugging the western side of the International Date Line, such as eastern Australia, New Zealand, and far eastern Russia, where the moon will become technically full just after midnight on Feb 1).

February’s new moon     Wednesday February 15 21:06 UTC; 5:06 pm AST; 4:06 pm EST; 1:06 pm PST
.                                           Wednesday February 15 11:06 am HAST; 11:06 pm IST
.                                           Thursday February 16 5:06 am AWST/PHT; 8:06 am AEDT

.                                   Find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone at Moon Giant.

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MOON NAMES

“New Year’s Moon”

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the season in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

   The prevailing names that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report for January are Wolf Moon and Old Moon; we treated these names in our January issues for 2011 and 2012. In 2013 we featured the Rowan Tree, while also mentioning Ice, Avunniviayuk, and Cooking moons. In 2014 we echoed Wolf, adding Joyful and Holiday. 2016 featured Old Moon again, while 2017 introduced the Quiet Moon.

Moon New Year by Emily W. Martin (The Black Apple)

.   With many more names waiting to be explored, I had to put them on hold for this one: I mean, how often do we have a full moon on New Year’s Day? Like any question involving the world calendar, it’s not that simple, primarily because, except for an infinitesimal instant, it is never the same day everywhere on Earth. A tantalizing subject that we’ll look into more when we do another piece on world time.

   For now, a look at the dates/times in the Seasonal Calendar above reveals that at the moment Ms. Luna is technically full, it will be January 1 only west of Time Zone UTC-2 (for example, eastern Brazil) to the International Date Line; everywhere east it will already be January 2. Regardless, I’m taking blogger’s license and naming this full moon:
New Year’s Moon!

   I looked up when the moon was last full on January 2 at the Prime Meridian (and thus January 1 west of UTC-2) and when it will be again:
1999  02:51 UTC
2018  02:24 UTC
2037  02:38 UTC

   The curious among you will note that the last time was 19 years ago, and the next time will be 19 years from now. And most likely you will be scratching your respective heads and going “hmmm”. Let’s just say for now: it’s no accident; we’ll discuss the Moon’s Metonic cycle in a future issue.

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SKYWATCH
THE FIRST OF TWO SUPER MOONS THIS YEAR

  This full moon will be the first of two “super” moons this year; the second in the current troika of super full moons that began with the December 2017 full moon. Super moons often happen in threes, with the one in the middle (this one!) being the “super-est”.

So What Exactly is a “Supermoon”?
   Because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical in shape, its distance from Earth fluctuates throughout each month. Its closest approach is called perigee (“closest to Earth”). Quite regularly, perigee occurs near the time of a full moon, causing the moon to appear slightly larger and brighter than usual. On slightly rarer occasions, perigee and fullness occur within less than two hours of each other. That was the case in November 2016, which saw the closest full moon perigee since 1948, and won’t be again (at fullness) until November 25, 2034.

   Last month (December) times of perigee and fullness were separated by almost 17 hours. This first full moon in January will be separated from perigee by only 4.5 hours, making it the closest, biggest, and brightest of 2018.

   Astronomers have for a long time referred to the confluence of perigee and fullness as a “perigee full moon”. Then in 1979, astrologer Richard Nolle made up the term “super” moon, arbitrarily defining it as any full or new moon that is within 90% of perigee. That casts a fairly wide net, as you can surmise.

What to Look for This Full Moon
   Though with an unaided eye you won’t be able to distinguish this supermoon from other supermoons, you will be able to tell that it’s larger and brighter than when it’s an average full moon, and especially than when it’s a tiny, further-away “micromoon”.

Supermoon vs. Average Moon

The supermoon of March 19, 2011 (right), compared to an average moon of December 20, 2010 (left). Image via Marco Langbroek, the Netherlands, via Wikimedia Commons.

  And as with any full moon – super or not – your best bet to be impressed by bigness will be when Ms. Luna is near the horizon. Check Seasonal Calendar, above, or TimeandDate for technical fullness times in your time zone. For moonrise and moonset times in your location, go to this TimeandDate page. (Remember that at the full moon, the moon rises as the sun sets, and sets as the sun rises.)

   While this supermoon will be closer to Earth than it was last month, the difference in size and brightness will be so small you won’t be able to tell the difference without a visual reference for comparison. But it will be large and bright and beautiful, so if clouds cooperate, go outside and take a moon bath!

  For lots more on the where/when/how/why of this phenomenon, plus some informative photos and videos, check out these web pages:
EarthSky   |   Newsweek   |   Space(1)   Space(2) |   NASA


COMING ATTRACTION: SUPER ECLIPSED BLUE BLOOD MOON!

   The next full moon after this one will also be in January (in almost all parts of the world). The Jan 31 moon will not only be full and super, it will also be “blue” and eclipsed!! So fasten your seatbelt and tune in for the next issue of Earth Moon and Stars for the skinny!

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MOON POETRY

Stripped of conditions, my mind is at rest
Emptied of existence my nature is at peace
How often at night have my windows turned white
as the moon and stream passed by my door

Shiwu (Stonehouse)

   Shiwu (his nom de plume) was a Chinese Chan poet and hermit who lived in the 13th/14th centuries during the Yuan Dynasty. I found this poem displayed on a wall while walking through Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts early last month. Caught my attention not only because of the moon imagery, but also the depth of feeling in it.

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MOON PHOTOGRAPHIC ART
Jasman Lion Mander

Star Trails over Moonlit Crater Lake by Jasman Mander

   Here is how the photographer describes this photo:

                      Star Trails over the famous Caldera at Crater Lake National Park
Star trails are photographed from the rim of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon on a freezing night. The moon had just risen while it illuminated the white snow around the majestic caldera.

   So that’s moonlight lighting up the snow and lake! And the star trails show how the stars appear to move. This was obviously a time exposure, so his camera had to be firmly planted so it wouldn’t move.

Skywatch quiz:
Q1: Can you figure/guess what direction Jasman had his camera pointed?
Q2: Judging from the star trails, how long do you think he had his shutter open?

   I discovered Jasman Mander after the “big eclipse” last August and included a composite eclipse photo he made in my September issue. Since then he has given me permission to feature any of his work that may fit in my theme. If you like this photo, you will find many more – plus original artwork – at his website manderstudio.com.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign.

   Opposition. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. Last February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Zodiac Constellations

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna began exiting Gemini — thus becoming VoC — on Sunday (31st) at 23:38, remaining void for just under nine hours. The next day (Monday, Jan 1) she entered Cancer at 08:10, remaining there until the next day (Tuesday, Jan 2) at 22:46, when she will again become void.  Eight-and-a-half hours later she will enter the next sign, Leo.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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Full Moon in Cancer

Cristina ~    

Full Moon in Cancer
Howl

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   At this moon, Cristina wades — no, dives — into the feminine versus masculine divide, creatively using the Moon Tarot card as her entrée into the subject.

Feminine versus masculine. Intuition versus strength. Imagination versus logic. We’re left with this gap to mend, with this personal and collective wound to heal, these gender stereotypes to smash, as we try to regain our primal wholeness, beyond all cultural constructs.

   She continues with cogent wisdom:

Regardless of what we identify with, we can be both tender and fierce. Assertive and protective. Emotional and commonsensical. Strong and vulnerable. We can midwife ourselves.

   If this piques your interest, just click over to her full article: Full Moon in Cancer “Howl”. As always, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Dana~     

Mooncircles

   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Mooncircles:
Cancer Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some brief teasers for their offerings at this full moon in Cancer:

  Cancer Full Moon: Taproot
.                 by April Elliott Kent
“I’m not a sound sleeper. The question each night is not whether I’ll wake up, but whether I’ll be able to get back to sleep once I do.  . . .  Embarking on a new year as the Sun travels arm-in-arm with Saturn in Capricorn, it’s time to make serious resolutions and confront our nighttime phantoms.”[ . . . ]

  Cancer Full Moon: Clear-Hearted
.                 by Jessica Shepherd
“Holidays generally leave me feeling over-extended, irritable and in need of alone time. It’s the enforced socialization that puts me over the top.”[ . . . ]

  Make New Year’s Full Moon Magic
                by Dana Gerhardt
“We don’t have local Moon temples anymore. Yet it’s still possible to cultivate a deep practice in the lunar mysteries. An auspicious way to begin 2018 is to connect with the Super Full Moon on the first night of this New Year. All it takes is you, the Moon, and a simple prayer.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual for Cancer/Capricorn Moon
.                 
by Dana Gerhardt
“Drawing down the moon… Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit.” [ . . . ]

   An inspiring collection — very appropriate for the new year. You can access each article by clicking on its link or thumbnail. Or access all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Full moon in Cancer

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes

“Lost in Space”
(third in the “interplanetary” series that we began in November . . .)

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   If you especially liked something you saw here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the second “blue” full moon in January,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of clarity, calm, and bright hope.

~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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MY PERSONAL TAKE ON ASTROLOGY

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or known. If there is content appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the item in question, and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

Posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

December’s Super Full Moon

Welcome December Super Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 12 of Volume IX of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links that interest you)

INTRO

   I think we’ve all noticed this world is definitely going through ch-ch-changes. Both the planet and the inhabitants of its biosphere.

   But hasn’t that been going on, like just about forever? We try so hard to make a safe, predictable life, but stuff always seems to happen. Whether on a micro or macro scale, this seems to be the rule for this particular universe we find ourselves in: animals eat other animals, the Earth rips up/burns/swallows indiscriminately whatever happens to be in its way. Elsewhere, comets crash into planets, stars explode, black holes swallow, and neutron stars engulf each other.

   That’s one reason why I post to this blog every “moonth” — in hopes that drawing your attention to the moon and stars will lift your awareness to something a bit more constant and calming.

Yosemite Christmas Night (by Wally Pachoika ~ AstroPics.com)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Sunday December 3 at 15:47 UTC, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

   Because technical fullness will occur in mid-afternoon at the Prime Meridian, the cusp this time will fall around Greenland’s meridian, and thus Ms. Luna will appear in the vicinity of this longitude equally full both Saturday and Sunday nights. Further west to the International Date Line will see closer to maximum fullness on Saturday night, while Sunday night will favor folks east of the cusp. But since to an unaided eye she appears full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, you will be treated to apparent fullness at least two nights in a row. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   In looking for a name I hadn’t featured in past Decembers, I found two animals honored in moon names for this season. Details at Moon Names.

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SUPER MOON
  The only “super” moon of 2017. (Two more coming in January.) Check out the Skywatch-SuperMoon section for the details.

GEMINID METEORS
  Washed out last year by a bright moon, we’re lucking out this year with this amazing sky display of bright meteors in an almost moonless sky. See the Skywatch-Meteors section for the details.

MOON ART
  Newly discovered (by moi), I have become enraptured by the beautiful moon-inspired paintings by British artist Amanda Clark. The first one appeared in last month’s issue; look for more in future issues. Click on Art to jump to her painting.

ASTROLOGY
  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles have more personal insights for you at this Gemini full moon. Drop in at Astrology to see what inspiration awaits you.

MOON and STARS HUMOR
  We continue with the second installment in our current Calvin and Hobbes’ space adventure series. See Humor.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

December’s full moon     Sunday December 3 15:47 UTC; 5:47 pm IST; 11:47 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Sunday December 3 11:47 am AST; 10:47 am EST; 7:47 am PST; 5:47 am HAST
.                                            Monday December 4 2:47 am  AEDT

December’s new moon    Monday December 18 06:30 UTC; 2:30 am AST; 1:30 am EST
.                                            Monday December 18 6:30 am IST; 2:30 pm AWST/PHT; 5:30 pm AEDT
.                                            Sunday December 17 10:30 pm PST; 8:30 pm HAST

December Solstice           Thursday December 21 16:27 UTC; 12:27 pm AST; 11:27 am EST; 8:27 am PST
.                                           Thursday December 21 6:27 am HAST; 6:27 pm IST
.                                           Friday December 22 12:27 am AWST/PHT; 3:27 am AEDT

January’s full moon        Tuesday January 2 02:24 UTC; 4:24 am IST; 10:24 am AWST/PHT; 1:24 pm  AEDT
(1st of two this month)  Monday January 1 10:24 pm AST; 9:24 pm EST; 6:24 pm PST; 4:24 pm HAST

January’s new moon         Wednesday January 17 02:17 UTC; 4:17 am IST; 10:17 am AWST/PHT; 1:17 pm AEDT
.                                             Tuesday January 16 10:17 pm AST; 9:17 pm EST; 6:17 pm PST; 4:17 pm HAST

January’s “Blue” Moon    Wednesday January 31 13:26 UTC; 3:26 pm IST; 9:26 pm AWST/PHT
(2nd of two this month)  Wednesday January 31 9:26 am AST; 8:26 am EST; 5:26 am PST; 3:26 am HAST
.                                            Thursday February 1 12:26 am AEDT  (sorry, Melbourne – not “Blue” for you🙁)

.                                   Find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone at Moon Giant.

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SEASONINGS

Solstice Time Again

   Thursday (21st) or Friday (22nd), depending on your time zone (see exact times above), will mark the December solstice — the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.  This is the time when the sun “stops” in its apparent movement southward and begins moving north again. (Remember – solstice means “sol=sun stice=standing still”.) Daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere have been waning ever since the June solstice. We in the North have paid our dues — it’s time for the return of the light!

   We did a rather extensive treatment of the solstice in the Seasonings section of our December 2014 issue. Click there if you’re curious for some diagrams and more details.

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MOON NAMES

Bears and Seals

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the season in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

   The prevailing names that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report for December are Cold Moon and Long Nights Moon, neither of which needs explanation. We treated these names in our December issues for 2011 and 2013, while in 2014 we ventured away from the popular with Popping Trees. In 2015 fullness occurred on Dec 25, so I took the liberty of naming it Christmas Moon. Last year it was the more traditional Moon of Respect.

.   Two more alternative names for this moon that caught my eye this time were Big Bear’s Moon (Winnebago of the Great Lakes region), and Unborn Seals Are Getting Hair (Tlingit of the Pacific Northwest Coast).

   I wish I had the time right now to research what’s behind these names. All I can tell you right now is the Winnebago name for November’s moon was Little Bear’s Moon, so there’s some kind of sequence there. While I admit that the bears the Winnebago named this moon after were probably not polar bears, once I saw the above photo, I couldn’t not include it.

   And it sharpened my sadness at the declining population of polar bears due to the shrinking of the Arctic polar ice. According to this Live Science article: “. . . the polar ice cap is predicted to completely melt within the next 100 years. This will leave polar bears without a home.” A hundred years?! I’m getting real motivated to add a section soon with focus on climate change. (Did you know we’re still at the tail end of the most recent Ice Age? More on this soon.)   I guess if you’re going to live where it’s real cold, you’re going to have to start on your fur coat before you’re born.  Seals will be affected by loss of polar ice, too. The seal fur trade is a whole other story.

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SKYWATCH ~ THE ONLY SUPER MOON THIS YEAR

  The full moon this month will be the first “super” moon in the current trifecta of super full moons; the two full moons in January will also be “super”. Super moons often happen in threes, with the one in the middle being the “super-est”.

So What Exactly is a “Supermoon”?
   Because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical in shape, its distance from Earth fluctuates throughout each month. Its closest approach is called perigee (“closest to Earth”). Quite regularly, perigee occurs near the time of a full moon, causing the moon to appear slightly larger and brighter than usual. On slightly rarer occasions, perigee and fullness occur within less than two hours of each other. That was the case last year in November, which saw the closest full moon perigee since 1948, and won’t be again (at fullness) until November 25, 2034. This time perigee and fullness will be separated by almost 17 hours. The first full moon in January will be separated from perigee by only 4.5 hours, making it the closest, biggest, and brightest of 2018.

   Astronomers have for a long time referred to the confluence of perigee and fullness as a “perigee full moon”. Then in 1979, astrologer Richard Nolle made up the term “super” moon, arbitrarily defining it as any full or new moon that is within 90% of perigee. That casts a fairly wide net, as you can surmise.

What to Look for This Full Moon
   Though you won’t be able to distinguish this supermoon from other supermoons, you will be able to tell that it’s larger and brighter than when it’s an average full moon, and especially than when it’s a tiny, further-away “micromoon”.

Supermoon vs. Average Moon

The supermoon of March 19, 2011 (right), compared to an average moon of December 20, 2010 (left). Image via Marco Langbroek, the Netherlands, via Wikimedia Commons.

  And as with any full moon, super or not, your best bet to be impressed by bigness will be when Ms. Luna is near the horizon. Check Seasonal Calendar, above, or TimeandDate for technical fullness times in your time zone. For moonrise and moonset times in your location, go to this TimeandDate page. (Remember that at the full moon, the moon rises as the sun sets, and sets as the sun rises.)

   While this supermoon won’t be quite as close to Earth as it will be next month, the difference in size and brightness will be so small you won’t be able to tell the difference without a visual reference for comparison. But it will be large and bright and beautiful, so if clouds cooperate, go outside and take a moon bath!

  For lots more on the where/when/how/why of this phenomenon, plus some informative photos and videos, check out these web pages:
EarthSky   |   Newsweek   |   Space(1)   Space(2) |   NASA

   Note that January will see two full moons: Jan 2 and Jan 31. The Jan 31 moon will not only be full and super, it will also be “blue” and eclipsed!! So fasten your seatbelt and tune in for the next two issues of Earth Moon and Stars for the skinny!

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SKYWATCH ~ THE GEMINIDS ARE BA-A-CK

  Quoting space.com: “After being washed out by the 2016 December supermoon, the Geminids will come roaring back in 2017. The famous and bright meteor shower will peak on the night of Dec. 13 and morning of Dec. 14.”

   The Geminids are considered one of the best annual meteor showers, both because of their individual brightness and the fact that they can rain down as many as two meteors per minute. (The only downside is that in the Northern Hemisphere it’s c-c-cold outside in December in the early morning before dawn, which is the best time to watch.) This year the Geminids will peak on the night of Dec. 13 (Wednesday) and early morning of Dec. 14 (Thursday).

Meteor in the desert

  Lots more detail at the following websites:
EarthSky   |   Newsweek   |   Space  | TimeandDate

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MOON ART
Amanda Clark

   I discovered British artist Amanda Clark when I included her ethereal piece “Shaman Light” in last month’s Astrology section. Little did I realize at the time what a prolific artist she is, and how many of her beautiful pieces have the moon in them! (It doesn’t hurt that she often includes owls – my personal totem…) So now I’m bringing my Art section out of hibernation by featuring her here this month. Hopefully by next month I will have acquired her permission to feature her here regularly. In the meantime, you can see more of her work on her website Amanda Clark artist and her Facebook page.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign.

   Opposition. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Zodiac Constellations

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna will begin exiting Taurus — thus becoming VoC — on Saturday (2nd) at 01:53, remaining void for almost 20 hours. She will then enter Gemini at 21:21 and remain there until Monday (4th) at 19:12, when she will again become void.  84 minutes later she will enter the next sign, Cancer.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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Gemini Full Moon

Cristina ~    

Full Moon in Gemini
Voices

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   Cristina says she’s a bit wary at this full moon, using words such as transient, unsteady, nebulous, and paradoxical. Here’s some more . . .

. . . given the dual, fleeing nature of Gemini, and the changeable, wobbly climate surrounding [this] last Full Moon for 2017, the results of [reaching fullness] leave much more room for improvement and evolution than usual. 

   There’s a pageful more waiting for you that fleshes this theme out. If you’re curious, just click over to her full article: Full Moon in Gemini “Voices”. As always, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Dana~     

Mooncircles

   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Mooncircles:
Gemini Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some brief teasers for their offerings at this full moon in Gemini:

  Gemini Full Moon: The Gift of Listening
.                 by April Elliott Kent
“When my friend’s son was small, he talked incessantly. Born with Venus in loquacious Gemini, he jabbered constantly about stories he’d read or what he’d seen on television that morning.”[ . . . ]

  Gemini Full Moon: Remember Your Spiritual Tools
.                 by Jessica Shepherd
“We’re selling our 85 year old house, moving from California to Hawaii in January. There’s a lot to coordinate, and with many details…”[ . . . ]

  It’s the Jinn Moon–Watch Out!
                by Dana Gerhardt
“Lies! Fake News! Slander and Gossip! High Ideals! Truth! A Gemini Moon opposite a Sagittarius Sun is a highly chaotic and stimulating energy.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual for Gemini/Sagittarius Moon
.                 
by Dana Gerhardt
“Drawing down the moon… Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit.” [ . . . ]

   Another fabulous collection, in time for the holidays. You can access each article by clicking on its link or thumbnail. Or access all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Full moon in Gemini

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes

“Lookin’ for a Better Home”
(second in the “interplanetary” series that we began last month . . .)

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   If you especially liked something you saw here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the (first of two) full moon in January,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of peace, kindness, and warmth.

~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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MY PERSONAL TAKE ON ASTROLOGY

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or known. If there is content appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the item in question, and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

Posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November’s Snowy Morning Mountains Full Moon

Welcome November Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 11 of Volume IX of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links that interest you)

INTRO

   I’m always happy when I find/make the time to post in advance of the full moon – I’m getting better at getting it out ahead of time, so you might be inspired to go outside and take a full moon bath! I hope you enjoy this issue and take some peace and tranquility from it. And please don’t be shy about expressing your sentiments in the Comment section. Let me know what you like, and what you’d like to see covered in future issues. (Your comments won’t be made public if you ask me to keep them private.)

   And even tho it’s just the beginning of November . . . and much of the lower United States is still trying to shake off summer . . . to the north and into Canada winter has been real for quite some time: in Banff, Alberta, it’s below freezing and snowy. This photo is over Moraine Lake, with snow-frosted mountains in the distance and the Milky Way behind them in the sky.

Milky Way above Moraine Lake (Banff) by Bun Lee (Popular Photography)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Saturday November 4 at 05:23 UTC, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

   Because technical fullness will occur just before sunrise at the Prime Meridian, the cusp this time will be approximately in the +2 time zone (Eastern Europe, South Africa). Thus the entire Western Hemisphere along with Western Europe will see closest to a full moon Friday night, while Saturday night will be more favorable east of the cusp to the International Date Line. But since to an unaided eye she appears full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, you will be treated to apparent fullness at least two nights in a row. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   In looking for a name I hadn’t treated in past Novembers, I came across an uncommon one that called to me lyrically: Snowy Morning Mountains Moon. Details, plus some colorful photos — and a little test of your (graphical) detective skills — all at Moon Names.

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Full Moon Over Frozen River

ASTROLOGY
  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles have more personal insights for you at this Taurus full moon. Drop in at Astrology to see what inspiration awaits you.

MOON and STARS HUMOR
  Calvin and Hobbes find a silver lining in the not-so-kind way people are treating Mother Earth. (This also kicks off a space adventure series.) See Humor.

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MOON NAMES

It Actually Is Snowing Somewhere

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the season in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

   The prevailing name that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report for November is Beaver Moon.

I included Beaver in the names for my Nov 2011 and Nov 2012 issues. 

Snowy Morning Mountains Moon

.   Other names for this moon besides Beaver include Frosty, Freezing Rivers and Tiger Shark. This time I came across Snowy Morning Mountains Moon, which called to me lyrically. This name was reportedly given by the Wishram peoples — Chinook Native Americans from the Columbia River basin in Oregon.

Full Moon Over Snowy Mountains (Darrell Bush)

   So I have a little quiz for you to see how sharp your detective skills are. In peering at the pictures above and below, what do you notice that doesn’t seem quite natural? You can post your responses in Comments, if you like.

   Come back here after the full moon and see my answers.

What’s un-natural about this picture?

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

November’s full moon     Sat November 4 05:23 UTC; 7:23 am IST; 1:23 pm AWST/PHT; 4:23 pm AEDT
.                                            Sat November 4 2:23 am ADT; 1:23 am EDT
.                                            Friday November 3 10:23 pm  PDT; 7:23 pm HAST

Daylight Time Ends (USA)        Sunday November 5 2 am (local time)

November’s new moon   Saturday November 18 11:42 UTC; 7:42 am AST; 6:42 am EST; 3:42 am PST
.                                            Saturday November 18 1:42 am HAST; 1:42 pm IST
.                                            Saturday November 18 7:42 pm AWST/PHT; 10:42 pm AEDT

December’s full moon     Sunday December 3 15:47 UTC; 5:47 pm IST; 11:47 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Sunday December 3 11:47 am AST; 10:47 am EST; 7:47 am PST; 5:47 am HAST
.                                            Monday December 4 2:47 am  AEDT

December’s new moon    Monday December 18 06:30 UTC; 2:30 am AST; 1:30 am EST
.                                            Monday December 18 6:30 am IST; 2:30 pm AWST/PHT; 5:30 pm AEDT
.                                            Sunday December 17 10:30 pm PST; 8:30 pm HAST

December Solstice           Thursday December 21 16:27 UTC; 12:27 pm AST; 11:27 am EST; 8:27 am PST
.                                           Thursday December 21 6:27 am HAST; 6:27 pm IST
.                                           Friday December 22 12:27 am AWST/PHT; 3:27 am AEDT

.                                   Find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone at Moon Giant.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign.

   Opposition. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Zodiac Constellations

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna entered the sign of Aries on Wednesday (1st) at 06:42. She will begin exiting Aries — thus becoming VoC — on Friday (3rd) at 03:03, remaining void for just under seven hours. She will then enter Taurus at 09:46 and remain there until Sunday at 09:28, when she will again become void.  58 minutes later she will enter the next sign, Gemini.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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Taurus Full Moon

Cristina ~  

Full Moon in Taurus
Here and Now

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   Cristina wastes no time at this full moon, wading into the spirit of this season of Samhain . . .

. . . when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest. We seek for a higher guidance, strength and inspiration from the other side through divination, witchcraft, magick, and – to some extent – astrology. 

   After developing this thesis in some depth, Cristina brings in La Luna . . .

Samhain might be around the corner, but with the Moon on her way to fullness […], the realness of our material plane is equally vibrant and palpable as that of the Spirit world.

   Hopefully that’s enough to tempt you to click over to her full article: Full Moon in Taurus “Here and Now”. As always, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Shaman Light ©Amanda Clark

Dana~     

Mooncircles

   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Mooncircles:
Taurus Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some brief teasers for their offerings at this full moon in Taurus:

  Taurus Full Moon: How I Broke Up with Cheez-its by April Elliott Kent
“My husband recently decided to make a significant change to his diet. Since we eat most of our dinners together, I figured I would jump aboard and try it myself. “[ . . . ]

  Taurus Full Moon: Come to Your Senses by Jessica Shepherd
“Seeking relief, I decide to go shopping but my stress-relieving trip proves more stressful. The mall is crowded with people wearing sour looks. “[ . . . ]

  It’s Green Fire Ritual Time! by Dana Gerhardt
“The Green Fire ritual is a powerful way to signal to your subconscious that you’re ready, willing, and eager to release the past and move on.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual by Dana Gerhardt
“Drawing down the moon… Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit.” [ . . . ]

   You can access each article by clicking on its link/thumbnail. Or access all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Full Moon in Taurus

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes
 “The Indignant Philosopher”

   This panel is actually the beginning a series that last month’s turned out to be part of (and thus out of sequence, because I didn’t know about the series at the time).
Watch this space” as our heroes begin a daring journey . . .

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   If you especially liked something you saw here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the full moon in December,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of groundedness, focus, and family.

~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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MY PERSONAL TAKE ON ASTROLOGY

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or known. If there is content appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the item in question, and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

Posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October’s Falling Leaves Full Moon

Welcome October Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 10 of Volume IX of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links that interest you)

INTRO

   Abbreviated issue this month; most of my recent time has been dedicated to preparing for highly anticipated visit by my daughters this coming weekend. But I still managed to find some neat pics for your enjoyment. Of course, our two fab astrologers Cristina and Dana. And we certainly couldn’t close without another visit from Calvin and Hobbes.

   With all the troubles in the world, I hope you will make some time —  even if just a few minutes — bathing in La Luna’s calming light. It just came to me that she’s like a filter – or perhaps a transmogrifier – that absorbs the Sun’s fiery, sometimes angry, outbursts and converts them into soothing, peaceful waves. May you find tranquility . . .

   These cats have the right idea. And they aren’t forgetting that Halloween is coming . . .

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Thursday October 5 at 18:40 UTC, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

   Because technical fullness will occur just after sunset at the Prime Meridian, almost all places on the globe will see closest to a full moon Thursday night. But since to an unaided eye she appears full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, you will be convinced that she is full on Wednesday and Friday nights, as well. That gives you extra odds if you are dealing with potentially cloudy skies. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   Looking for a name I hadn’t treated in past Octobers, I realized I hadn’t yet featured the second most common name for October, Falling Leaves moon. Details on this and the late Harvest Moon, plus some colorful photos — all in Moon Names.

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CELEBRATIONS
  The annual Asian Mid-Autumn Festival – second only in importance behind the lunar New Year. Check out Celebrations for info, art, and haiku.

ASTROLOGY
  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles have more personal insights for you at this Aries full moon. Drop in at Astrology to see what inspiration awaits you.

MOON and STARS HUMOR
  Calvin takes Hobbes go on a space trek. See Humor.

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MOON NAMES

Harvest Moon Late This Year

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the season in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

   The prevailing name that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report for October is Hunter’s Moon, the full moon following the Harvest Moon. But tradition insists that the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal equinox, so the wrinkle this year is that the October full moon, coming so early in October, is actually three days closer to the equinox than the September full moon was, so it’s Harvest Moon this month instead of September as usual. Until this year we featured the Harvest Moon each September since I began this blog in 2011; no other month had been so saturated. Check out my Sept 2013 and Sept 2015 back issues for more Harvest Moon info and fun. And see this EarthSky article When is the Harvest Moon.

Falling Leaves Moon

Hunter’s Halloween Moon
.   The most common name for the October full moon is the Hunter’s Moon, which we’ve treated in past October issues: 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. In 2015 we took a sharp turn into the inventive with the Great Pumpkin Moon – a severely entertaining Halloween issue that I still get a kick out of re-reading. And last year in 2016 it was the Big Chestnut Moon.

   In honor of its being Halloween time again …

Falling Leaves Moon
.  No explanation needed as to why the Arapaho, Chippewa and Ojibwe named this moon “falling leaves. And the Lakota with their poetic “moon when the wind shakes off leaves”.  My go-to American Indians Moons site lists the Sioux (Great Plains, Dakotas, Nebraska) as reserving “falling leaves moon” for November. But these tribes weren’t using the Western calendar, so I’m going to roll them in with the other guys for this issue.

   We’ve all seen falling leaves. Here’s another pic I found that captures this theme and the season. Check out the artist’s source page for the interesting background on his inspiration. (Hint – notice the antlers the young woman is sporting.)

“The Leaf Charmer” ~ Drawing Down the Leaves (by Runique)

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

October’s full moon         Thursday October 5 18:40 UTC; 3:40 pm ADT; 2:40 pm EDT; 11:40 am PDT
.                                            Thursday October 5 9:40 pm IDT; 8:40 am HAST
.                                            Friday October 6 2:40 am  AWST/PHT; 5:40 am AEDT

October’s new moon        Thursday October 19 19:12 UTC; 4:12 pm ADT; 3:12 pm EDT; 12:12 pm PDT
.                                            Thursday October 19 9:12 am HAST; 10:12 pm IDT
.                                            Friday October 20 3:12 am AWST/PHT; 6:12 am AEDT

November’s full moon     Sat November 4 05:23 UTC; 7:23 am IST; 1:23 pm AWST/PHT; 4:23 pm AEDT
.                                            Sat November 4 2:23 am ADT; 1:23 am EDT
.                                            Friday November 3 10:23 pm  PDT; 7:23 pm HAST

November’s new moon   Saturday November 18 11:42 UTC; 7:42 am AST; 6:42 am EST; 3:42 am PST
.                                            Saturday November 18 1:42 am HAST; 1:42 pm IST
.                                            Saturday November 18 7:42 pm AWST/PHT; 10:42 pm AEDT

.                               Check Moon Giant to find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone.

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MOON CELEBRATIONS

Asian Mid-Autumn Festival

Mooncake Festival
.   In China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other parts of Asia, the focus at this full moon is on the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, which is East Asia’s
harvest festival. Officially beginning this year on October 4 (by the Western calendar), celebrations all over Asia are already underway.

   This holiday is also referred to as the Moon Festival in honor of this full moon. It’s also called the Mooncake Festival, named after a traditional baked delicacy exchanged among family and friends.  It is the second most important festival in China after the Chinese New Year.

   To the Chinese, the festival means family reunion and peace. Quoting eBeijing: “Watching the full moon on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival is the best activity for the whole family. It is a custom for people to ascend towers and terraces and have a good chat in the full moon night while drinking wine and eating delicacies. The scene of blooming flowers, full moon and family reunion is poetic and charming.”

Bashō meets two farmers celebrating the mid-autumn moon

   The above print by Yoshitoshi depicts famous Japanese haiku poet Matsuo Bashō meeting two farmers who are celebrating the mid-autumn moon festival. It is from Yoshitoshi’s collection One Hundred Aspects of the Moon. The haiku in the print reads: “Since the crescent moon, I have been waiting for tonight.” The crescent moon is in reference to the first day of the lunar month, which is always a new moon. The festival is always on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar year, thus making it occur at the full moon. 

   I featured this festival also in last year’s September issue. Check it out . . .

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign.

   Opposition. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Zodiac Constellations

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna entered the sign of Pisces on Monday (2nd) at 02:26. She will begin exiting Pisces — thus becoming VoC — on Wednesday (4th) at 07:19, remaining void for thirteen hours and twenty minutes. She will then enter Aries at 20:39 and remain there for (1 minute shy of) 50 hours; (2 minutes shy of) 28 hours past fullness. The next day — Friday (6th) — she will leave Aries at 22:38 and remain void for less than two hours, then entering the next sign, Taurus, at 23:56.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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“Illumination” by Freydoon Rassoulirassouli.com

Cristina ~  

Full Moon in Aries
Fire

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   Cristina opens her primal/animal-focused piece this month, which she calls “Fire”, with  this salvo. . .

Fire, in all its emanations – raw power, sexuality, rage, ecstasy – has its own spiritual dignity, its noble, remarkable application, as well as teachings that we should not downplay or overlook. Identifying as “spiritual” doesn’t necessarily have to mandatorily coincide with a constant, uni-dimensional state of equanimity, imperturbability, or even neutrality.

   After developing this thesis in some depth, Cristina brings in La Luna . . .

The Moon symbolizes our habitual responses and instinctive patterns, which, during this Full Moon, are propelled by the Cardinal quality of Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac, and the most individualistic one.

   And finally, Cristina finishes up with . . .

Our fire is precious and life-sustaining, and we need to direct it wisely . . .

   Hopefully that’s enough to tempt you to click over to her full article: Full Moon in Aries “Fire”. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Dana~  

Mooncircles

   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Mooncircles:
Aries Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some brief teasers for her offerings at this full moon in Aries:

  Aries Full Moon: Keep Fighting by April Elliott Kent
“The first message in my Facebook feed this morning was from my nephew, marking himself safe in “The Violent Incident in Las Vegas.” [ . . . ]

  Aries Full Moon: Born This Way by Jessica Shepherd
“You know those times when you feel too tender, too fragile, when just about anything can set you over the edge? I was on that edge.” [ . . . ]

  Aphrodite Medicine for a Fractured Full Moon by Dana Gerhardt
“Full Moon rituals are medicine. And the one I offer you this month draws from the potency of Libra–where the Sun sits, sign opposite the Warrior’s Moon in Aries.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual by Dana Gerhardt
“Imagine that you have become a Full Moon goddess, capable of balancing the earth and harmonizing its opposing forces.” [ . . . ]

   You can access each article by clicking on its link/thumbnail, or all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Aries Full Moon

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes

 . . . in space . . .

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   If you especially liked something you saw here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the full moon in November,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of opening.

~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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MY PERSONAL TAKE ON ASTROLOGY

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or known. If there is content appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the item in question, and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

Posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

September’s Snow Goose Full Moon

Welcome September Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 9 of Volume IX of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links that interest you)

INTRO

   Hasn’t the world always been a crazy place? Or at least parts of it? Maybe it’s all a bad dream, with pockets of wonderfulness. Or maybe it’s a wonderful dream, with pockets of craziness. In any event, I think it’s good we all get a chance to escape the world for few hours each night. May you have beautiful moondreams…

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Wednesday September 6 at 07:02 UTC, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

   Because technical fullness will occur about seven hours after midnight at the Prime Meridian, the cusp this time will fall about six hours to the east of the United Kingdom — in the time zone of Pakistan and Kazakhstan. This means the entire Western Hemisphere along with Europe and Africa will see closest to maximum fullness on Tuesday night, while Wednesday night will favor Asia and points east to the International Date Line. But note that she will appear full to the unaided eye 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, so that gives you extra odds if you are dealing with clouds.  Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   I thought it would be a nice idea to counter the punishing heat and hurricanes in North America with a cooling thought, so Snow Goose Moon made it to the top. Check out the graceful beauty in Moon Names.

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Moonlight Shadows by Otto Hutter

SKYWATCH
   Taking a look back on the recent “really big shew” plus an interesting question about it. Also ~ looking ahead to the next two total solar eclipses. Head to Skywatch for details.

ASTROLOGY
  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles have more personal insights for you at this Pisces full moon. Drop in at Astrology to see what inspiration awaits you.

MOON and STARS HUMOR
  Calvin ponders, Hobbes wonders. See Humor.

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MOON NAMES

Snow Goose Moon

Moon Names
.   Although the September full moon has been given many different names by a variety of peoples, most folks are familiar with Harvest Moon. I didn’t realize until I checked just now that I’ve featured Harvest Moon each September since I began this blog in 2011; no other month has been so saturated. In 2013 I worked in Great Pumpkin Moon, and Mulberry Moon last year. 

Harvest Moon
.  Popular folklore defines the Harvest Moon as the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. In most years this is the September full moon, since the equinox is about a week past the middle of September. However, since this year the moon becomes full near the beginning of both September and October, the October moon is actually closer to the equinox, thus folklorically speaking the October full moon will be the Harvest Moon. But i
t’s very close to being a tossup, and there is also a real astronomical piece to it beyond the folklore. If you can’t wait for the full explanation here next month, this EarthSky article When is the Harvest Moon reveals all.

Snow Geese by Lisa Graa Jensen

Snow Goose Moon
.  In searching for a different theme this time, snow wasn’t the first thought that came to me, since it’s just the beginning of September, and many parts of the United States are just recovering from a tortuous heat wave and/or floods. But further north the “white geese” are feeling the change in season and getting ready to head south for the winter. That’s why the Cree people in what is now Canada called this full moon the “
Snow Goose Moon.” And besides, thinking about snow helps cool my overheated head.

Snow Goose Moon by John Ashley

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

September’s full moon    Wednesday September 6 07:02 UTC; 4:02 am ADT; 3:02 am EDT; 12:02 am PDT
.                                            Wednesday September 6 10:02 am IDT; 3:02 pm AWST/PHT; 5:02 pm AEST
.                                            Tuesday September 5 9:02 pm HAST

September’s new moon   Wednesday September 20 05:30 UTC; 2:30 am ADT; 1:30 am EDT
.                                             Wednesday September 20 8:30 am IDT; 1:30 pm AWST/PHT; 3:30 pm AEST
.                                             Tuesday September 19 7:30 pm HAST; 10:30 pm PDT

September Equinox         Friday September 22 20:01 UTC; 4:01 pm EDT; 1:01 pm PDT

October’s full moon         Thursday October 5 18:40 UTC; 3:40 pm ADT; 2:40 pm EDT; 11:40 am PDT
.                                            Thursday October 5 9:40 pm IDT; 8:40 am HAST
.                                            Friday October 6 2:40 am  AWST/PHT; 5:40 am AEDT

October’s new moon        Thursday October 19 19:12 UTC; 4:12 pm ADT; 3:12 pm EDT; 12:12 pm PDT
.                                            Thursday October 19 9:12 am HAST; 10:12 pm IDT
.                                            Friday October 20 3:12 am AWST/PHT; 6:12 am AEDT

.                               Check Moon Giant to find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone.

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SKYWATCH

AFTERMATH OF THE ECLIPSE

   Well, it happened just as predicted! (How DO they get it so accurate?!)

   Unless you were in a coma, you certainly have seen many photos and videos of this eclipse. Here’s one that caught my attention — it’s a composite photo by Jasman Mander (manderstudio), taken while in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Oregon:

Eclipse from Mount Jefferson Wilderness, OR | Composite photo by Jasman Mander

   But perhaps not all your questions were answered. Let’s take a look at one that people either ask outright, or noticed but never really questioned. And that is:

How is it that the moon just exactly covers the sun?

   We’re going to give the short answer(s) here, and revisit it before the next worldwide solar eclipse in 2019. The magical answer is that the Moon is currently just far enough away from us here on terra firma that its apparent size is just about the same as the apparent size of the sun. None of the other 180 moons that we’ve discovered in our Solar System can make such a claim. (There may be billions of other moons out there, but they’re too far away for our current technology to detect.)

   The key words in the above paragraph are:  apparent,  just about, and currently.

   Apparent size is fairly self-evident. Objects we see in the sky obey the same rules of optics that objects here on Earth do; that mountain in the distance or your mother-in-law grows larger as you approach it/her. Well, they don’t actually grow larger; they just appear to. The Sun’s diameter is about 400 times that of the Moon, but/and it is also (conveniently) about 400 times further away from us. So their apparent sizes are just about the same.

   And there’s the rub: there are no “exacts” in space — everything is in motion, and that’s what the just about is about. Because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical and not a perfect circle, the Moon moves closer to us (perigee) then further from us (apogee) each month. Similarly with the Earth’s annual orbit around the Sun. So if the Moon and Sun and Earth line up when the Moon is near apogee, its apparent size is smaller than the sun’s and instead of a total eclipse, we see an “annular” one.

Total (moon closer in)

Annular (moon further away)

 

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   The currently part is even more fascinating, I think.  The Moon used to orbit the Earth much closer than it is now, so solar eclipses were more complete and there were no “annular” eclipses. Due to the ongoing gravitational tug-of-war between the two, the Moon’s orbital speed is gradually slowing, and it is thus creeping further and further away. So in a mere half a billion years from now, its apparent size will be too small to cover the sun’s image, and there won’t be any total solar eclipses. So let’s make merry while we may!

   If you’re still hungry for more on this, check out EarthSky’s good article “Coincidence that sun and moon seem same size?” 

Coming Eclipses

   While the August 21 eclipse was the first time a total solar eclipse had crossed the United States since 1918, you won’t have to wait as long for the next one in 2024. However, whereas the 1918 and 2017 shadows followed fairly similar paths from northwest to southeast, the path on April 8, 2024 will be distinctly different, traveling from mid-south to northeast, sweeping up from Mexico, through Texas, and through Maine. So if you got a taste of this recent one and are salivating for more — or if you missed it and don’t want to miss the next one — you could start now by stroking your chin whilst studying a map.

   And if seven years is too long to wait, the next total solar eclipse worldwide will occur in less than two years: on July 2, 2019. It’s not too soon to start planning: the shadow will cross the southern Pacific Ocean, then across Chile and Argentina — cruises are already being booked and hotels are taking reservations now.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign.

   Opposition. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna entered the sign of Aquarius on Saturday (2nd) at 20:06. She will begin exiting Aquarius — thus becoming VoC — on Tuesday (5th) at 05:15, remaining void for only thirteen minutes. She will then enter Pisces at 05:28 and remain there for 39 hours; more than 13 hours past fullness. The next day — Wednesday (6th) — she will leave Pisces at 20:28 and become void again. This time she will be void for 15 1/2 hours, after which she will enter the next sign, Aries, on Thursday (7th) at 12:01.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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Cristina ~  

Full Moon in Pisces
Oceans

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   In her water-focused piece this month, which she calls “Oceans”, Cristina observes . . .

. . . while water is shapeless, its yielding changeability is the secret of her strength and endurance and her ability to flow around obstacles [and that] Pisces symbolizes the timeless ocean of transcendence.

She goes on to wisely note that . . .

Indeed, we thirst for Spirit in the same way we thirst for water. Either consciously or unconsciously, we strive to return to the otherworldly feeling of wholeness that is imprinted in the memory of our Soul.

 Well, if that grabbed your attention the way it did mine, I promise you you won’t be disappointed by her full article: Full Moon in Pisces “Oceans”.

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Dana~  

Mooncircles

   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Mooncircles:
Pisces Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some brief teasers for her offerings at this full moon in Pisces:

  Pisces Full Moon ~ The World Without Us by April Elliott Kent
“Our wise Pisces natures shrug in cheerful acceptance of life’s inherent messiness, the missed deadlines, the world in disarray, and the house that needs dusting.” [ . . . ]

  Pisces Full Moon: Do Nothing by Jessica Shepherd
“The month the Sun is in Virgo can be merciless and tricky when self-perfection leads to our self-undoing. ” [ . . . ]

  The Goddesses Meditation by Dana Gerhardt
“It’s crazy out there. If recent weeks have unmoored you, the Pisces Full Moon is an ideal time to visit the invisible world and support yourself.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual by Dana Gerhardt
“Draw your hands to your heart. Feel that you have become the goddess [ . . . ]”

   You can access each article by clicking on its link/thumbnail, or all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Pisces Full Moon

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes

   Perspective . . .

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   If you especially liked something you saw here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the full moon in October,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of calm and connectedness.

~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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MY PERSONAL TAKE ON ASTROLOGY

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or known. If there is content appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the item in question, and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

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