May’s Siqonomeq Moon

Welcome May Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 5 of Volume IX of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

INTRO

   Drama and suffering have been hallmarks of this world for a very long time. There’s also a lot of good. My first objective with this blog has always been to encourage people to lift their heads from their desks and TVs and phones and look up. More of my personal opinions, if you’re interested, in my Just Sayin’ section.

   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what we’re up to, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Wednesday May 10 at 21:42 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 this time will occur close to midnight at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Wednesday night/early Thursday morning almost everywhere on Earth. Folks just west of the International Date Line (Philippines, Australia, etc.) will get an approximately equal show Wednesday and Thursday nights. But note that to an unaided eye she will appear full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, so you will be able to see what appears to be a full moon three nights in a row. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   Past May issues have featured a variety of more or less standard names (such as Flower Moon) for this full moon. In keeping with our current penchant for lesser-known names, we turn this month to the Passamaquoddy tradition. Check out Moon Names for the lowdown.

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SKYWATCH
   The BIG ECLIPSE is coming! We’re giving you another heads up to get ready for August! Click Skywatch.

MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS
   It’s Vesak time again – the most important full moon in the Buddhist tradition. Check out Celebrations for pics and details.

JUST SAYIN’
   If you’ve been following my opinion section since its inception last July, you’ve seen that I’ve begun to head toward focusing on the future of the Earth. Last month I went back to 1946 for a relevant song. This month it’s an environmental song harking back to 1970. Click Just Sayin’.

ASTROLOGY
  This moon we continue with wonderful Cristina and showcase a fabulous, new (to us, anyway) moon-focused astrologer, Dana Gerhardt. Rather than read any more of my gush here, click Astrology to see what they’ve got for you!

HUMOR
  Continuing with Calvin and Hobbes in our Humor section, though in switching now from astrology to the environment, Calvin is now more philosophical.

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May Flower Moon (Beyond the Fields We Know)

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

May’s full moon       Weds May 10 21:42 UTC; 6:42 pm ADT; 5:42 pm EDT; 2:42 pm PDT; 11:42 am HAST
.                                    Thursday May 11 12:42 am IDT; 5:42 am AWST/PHT; 7:42 am AEST

May’s new moon     Thurs May 25 19:44 UTC; 4:44 pm ADT; 3:44 pm EDT; 12:44 pm PDT; 9:44 am HAST
.                                    Thursday May 25 10:44 pm IDT; 5:44 am AWST/PHT; 7:44 am AEST
.                                    Friday May 26 3:44 am AWST/PHT; 5:44 am AEST

June’s full moon       Friday June 9 13:10 UTC; 10:10 am ADT; 9:10 am EDT; 6:10 am PDT; 3:10 am HAST
.                                     Friday June 9 4:10 pm IDT; 9:10 pm AWST/PHT; 11:10 pm AEST

June solstice              Wednesday June 21 04:24 UTC; 7:24 am IDT; 12:24 pm AWST/PHT;  2:24 pm AEST
.                                     Wednesday June 21 12:24 am EDT
.                                     Tuesday June 20 9:24 pm PDT; 6:24 pm HAST

June’s new moon     Saturday June 24 02:31 UTC; 5:31 am IDT; 10:31 am AWST/PHT; 12:31 pm AEST
.                                     Friday June 23 11:31 pm ADT; 10:31 pm EDT; 7:31 pm PDT; 4:31 pm HAST

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

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MOON NAMES

Siqonomeq Moon

   Past May issues have featured a variety of more or less standard names for this full moon, such as hare, flower, frog, blue frog, and milk. Camas was lesser-known, and this month we continue this tradition by turning to the Passamaquoddy peoples, who knew this moon as the siqonomeq moon, which translates to alewife. (ref. Indian Moons by Phil Konstantin.)

Alewife Moon (PBS NOVA)

   Does that look like our Moon? Well, it was close enough to fool Google Images into thinking it was an “astronomical object”. Turns out, though, that it’s a magnified pic of an alewife fish inside its egg prior to hatching.

   The Passamaquoddy are an American Indian/First Nations people who live in northeastern North America, primarily in Maine (United States) and New Brunswick (Canada). They live along the waters of Passamaquoddy Bay and the rivers that flow to it. Their name stems from their word that translates to “pollock-spearer”, reflecting both the importance of fish in their culture and their preferred method of fishing. In addition to pollack, the alewife was an important food source.

Watts Bar alewife (photo by Jim Negus)

   Why did these people name the full moon at this time of year for the alewife fish? Well, the alewife (also called a river herring) is an anadromous fish which, like salmon, smelt, and shad, spawn in fresh water but live the rest of the time in the saltwater ocean. Starting in May and into June, the adult alewives return to their freshwater spawning grounds, causing what we call a “run”. This is an ideal time for birds and humans to pick off as many as they can.

   For more info, check out Maine Alewives, Alewife (Wikipedia), and Scent of an Alewife, which includes a 3 1/2 minute video about the life of this important and fascinating fish.

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SKYWATCH

AUGUST TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN: ACROSS THE U.S.!!

   While eclipses of the moon can usually be seen from over a broad range of locations around the Earth, the shadow that the Moon casts during a solar eclipse is, by comparison, very brief and narrow (on the order of 100 miles wide). I’m sure it’ll be all over the news as August 21 gets closer, but now would be a good time for you to start making plans if you want to be in the shadow’s path. See my January issue for details, and Wikipedia’s comprehensive article. Also see The Weather Channel’s page with animation of the shadow and recommendations for five places to consider traveling to. Doing a web search for Solar Eclipse 2017 will get you a plethora of hits.

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MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS

WESAK

   This full moon highlights the Eastern celebration of Wesak (Vesak, Vesākha or Buddha Purnima), at which time people who follow the Buddhist tradition in many countries celebrate the time when the Buddha reached enlightenment; thus regarding this full moon as the most powerful of the year. Sometimes informally called “Buddha’s Birthday”, it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and passing away (parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha.

Vesak in Malaysia (2016) (by chewlf)

   In Malaysia, this holiday is known as Hari Wesak and is a public holiday. Celebrations begin at dawn where devotees would gather in the various Buddhist temples scattered all around the country.

   Many festivals are held surrounding this day, often beginning days ahead and continuing for days afterward, and always full of color. The actual dates of celebration vary by country and local tradition; many celebrated it last month on the full moon in April. More interesting details at Malaysia Public Holidays and Vesak in Singapore.

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JUST SAYIN’

A New Thread

   I introduced this personal opinion section in last July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be . . . due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and especially to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in last July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

Earth and Moon from space

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. You can check out previous issues back to July ’16 over there in the archives on the right to hear songs I’d found expressing this idea in a variety of styles.

   Last month I veered a bit and featured a song from 1946 on the danger of the atom bomb. If we somehow are able to avert WW III, we are still managing to soil our own nest – something other animals don’t do.

  One of my grammar school teachers back in 1953 told us the birch trees in Canada were dying because the annual average temperature there had risen by two degrees. 1953! Two measly degrees?? Pfft! Who cares‽‽

 

    In 1970 at age 26,  Canadian-born singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell visited Hawaii for the first time and was heartbroken when she saw the stark contrast between the beautiful lush mountains and the asphalt. This led to her composing “Big Yellow Taxi” with the refrain:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot.

   Click this AZ Lyrics page for the full lyrics.

    Click the disc cover image below to hear her singing “Big Yellow Taxi”. A number of versions by her are on YouTube, including this live video, plus a variety of covers that you can find by searching.

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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 Scorpio on Tuesday (9th) at 05:00. She will begin exiting Scorpio — thus becoming VoC — at her time of technical fullness: Wednesday at 21:42, remaining void until the next day when she enters the next sign, Sagittarius, at 16:59. (All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time.)

Scorpio Full Moon

Dana~  

Mooncircles

   When new friend Diana saw EarthMoonandStars, she said “You’ve got to check out Dana’s website. She’s a professional astrologer whose passion is the moon!” Did someone say “moon”?! I have two reactions when I discover something wonderful that I’ve been looking for: “Wow! How lucky I am!” and “Where have you been hiding?” Well, Dana has been far from hiding – see her mini bio below with a link to her full bio. I guess everything shows up just when it needs to . . .

   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:
Scorpio Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of viewpoints. Here are some brief teasers for her offerings at this full moon in Scorpio:

  Scorpio Full Moon: Hades Heart by April Elliott Kent
“I may not have exulted over a madman’s corpse, but I’ve been thrilled…”

  The Scorpio Moon: Thrill of Desire by Jessica Shepherd
“Here’s how I know when fear is a red light and when it’s green…”

  Moonlight Ecstasy: Full Moon Fertility Ritual by Dana Gerhardt
“When your hands feel enlivened, awake, or like they’re vibrating…”

  3-Minute Moon Ritual by Dana Gerhardt
“Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you…”

 You can access all of the above — and more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Full Moon in Scorpio

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Cristina ~  

Full Moon in Scorpio
“Nightbook”

   Until this past January this space featured Æterna, who hosted a website she called Aeternalight Astrology. Since then, she has dropped the Æterna alias and is now going by her real name — Cristina.

   Cristina is a professional astrologer based in Italy, who also runs her own, new website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. You can read about her in depth on her About Me page.

   For this full moon in Scorpio, Cristina tells us . . .

. . . this Full Moon in the most occult, secretive sign of the Zodiac is capable of shining a torch into the darkest pit, pushing unspoken feelings, hidden agendas and the overall subtext of our current reality, to the surface.

   Just wanted to throw you that teaser to entice you to take a look at Cristina’s full article: Full Moon in Scorpio – Nightbook. Because her style is both sensitive and pithy, I recommend that you set aside some quiet time to take it all in. 

Full Moon in Scorpio

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes . . .

   . . . on forests and aliens:

   Apropos of this viewpoint, I recently attended a screening of “Racing Extinction“, a 2015 movie that was shown on Discovery Channel around the world. This is a very powerful movie. You can watch selected clips of it on YouTube. This Google search “racing extinction watch online” brings up many outlets where you can purchase, rent, or stream the entire movie, some advertising it for free. 

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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 June,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of beauty and courage.

~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about 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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when 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 astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April’s Broken Snowshoe Moon

Welcome April Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 4 of Volume IX of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

INTRO

   Yes – there’s a lot of suffering and drama going on in the world. There’s also a lot of good. My first objective with this blog is to encourage people to lift their heads from their desks and TVs and smartphones and look up. More of my personal opinions, if you’re interested, in my Just Sayin’ section.

   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what we’re up to, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
  The moon will become technically full Tuesday April 11 at 06:08 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 only a few minutes before sunrise 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 Monday night, while Tuesday night will be better for Asia and points east to the International Date Line. But note that she will appear full 28 hours or so either side of technical fullness.  Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

CELEBRATIONS
   Dates for Passover and Easter are determined by the full moon. See Celebrations for pics and details.

MOON NAMES
   Past April issues have featured a variety of more or less standard names for this full moon. This time we’re going with a lesser-known name from the Anishinaabe tradition. Check out Moon Names for more.

Midnight Gold (Roy Gonzalez Tabora)

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JUST SAYIN’
   In my opinion section, I depart (somewhat) from the theme of All of Us with a not-so-well-known song from 1946 that’s pertinent to these times. Click on over to my Just Sayin’ opinion section.

ASTROLOGY
  Astrologers Cristina and Tanaaz offer us some heart-centered insight at this full moon in Libra in Astrology.  Some cool pics, too . . .

HUMOR
  In our Humor section, Calvin and Hobbes wax philosophical.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

April’s full moon          Tuesday Apr 11 06:08 UTC; 9:08 am IDT; 2:08 pm AWST/PHT; 4:08 pm AEST
.                                         Tuesday Apr 11 3:08 am ADT; 2:08 am EDT
.                                         Monday Apr 10 11:08 pm PDT; 8:08 pm HAST

Passover                         Monday April 10 to Tuesday April 18
Easter                              Sunday April 16

April’s new moon        Wednesday Apr 26 12:16 UTC; 3:16 pm IDT; 8:16 pm AWST/PHT; 10:16 pm AEST
.                                        Wednesday Apr 26 9:16 am ADT; 8:16 am EDT; 5:16 am PDT; 2:16 am HAST

May’s full moon           Weds May 10 21:42 UTC; 6:42 pm ADT; 5:42 pm EDT; 2:42 pm PDT; 11:42 am HAST
.                                        Thursday May 11 12:42 am IDT; 5:42 am AWST/PHT; 7:42 am AEST

May’s new moon         Thurs May 25 19:44 UTC; 4:44 pm ADT; 3:44 pm EDT; 12:44 pm PDT; 9:44 am HAST
.                                        Thursday May 25 10:44 pm IDT; 5:44 am AWST/PHT; 7:44 am AEST
.                                        Friday May 26 3:44 am AWST/PHT; 5:44 am AEST

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

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MOON NAMES

Broken Snowshoe Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Most of these names were appropriate for the season in which they occurred and were keyed to the goings-on in their natural environment.

   I think uplifting traditions are important — especially during troubled times — as they link us to thought lineages that, having marinated over time, have refined their wisdom to essentials. That’s one reason I like these various moon names — and not just the popular ones.

   In previous years we’ve featured some of the more common names for the April full moon, such as Pink Moon, Paschal Moon, Geese Return Moon, Wildcat Moon, Egg Moon, and Seed Moon.

   This time I’m pulling a more obscure name and featuring the Broken Snowshoe Moon, so called by people of the various Anishinaabe tribes of the Northeast Woodlands of what is now the United States and Subarctic areas of what is now Canada.

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   While many of us in more temperate climes don’t think of snow at this time of year, many further north – especially in Subarctic – are just now digging out from a punishing winter. Although I haven’t found any definitive derivation of this moon name, it is fairly easy to imagine that at this time of year snowshoes were rather worn out, due to a combination of heavy use over a long winter, plus possible extra wear in the early spring due to rocks exposed by the melting snow.

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MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS

   The major moon-related celebrations this month include the Jewish festival of Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter. Even though most people in Western countries are familiar with these holidays, I present a brief synopsis of each below, followed by an explanation of how determinations of their calendar dates relate to the moon’s cycle.

Passover

  Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) is a major Jewish festival that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as recorded in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament.

Moses Parting the Red Sea Under a Full Moon

    As told in Exodus, Moses and his God caused the Red Sea to part so that the Hebrews could escape the Egyptian Pharaoh and begin their journey to the Promised Land. Since then there has been much speculation over how the seas could have parted. Some of the theories involve high tides caused by a full moon. (Okay – it doesn’t take much scrutiny to see that the above picture was pieced together to include the moon, but it will have to do since I couldn’t find a single “natural” pic with Moses and the moon together.)

   The Hebrew word pesach means “to pass over”. During this eight-day observation, Jews take part in a ritual meal known as a seder, which incorporates the retelling of the story of the Exodus and of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt when the Angel of Death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites.

Using a Moon-Based Calendar to Determine the Start of Passover

  The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar (lunar/solar) calendar, used in modern times to determine when Jewish holidays occur. The Torah dictates that Passover is to begin at sundown on the evening before the 15th day of the month of Aviv/Abib (now called by its Babylonian name Nisan), which is the first month in the Hebrew calendar. Since each Hebrew month begins on a new moon, Passover always begins on the night of the full moon in Nisan.

   While this is usually the first full moon following the Spring equinox, it is sometimes the second one. The reasons for the “sometimes” are somewhat complex. Basically, though, it’s because the Hebrew calendar, being lunar-based, occasionally adds a “leap-month” in order to keep in line with the seasons. 2016 was such a year, and thus Passover then came a month later than Easter. This year they’re back in line with each other.

Easter

Christ the Redeemer and Full Moon (Mount Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro)

   The Christian holiday Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion, and is the oldest and most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. In a larger sense, Easter celebrates the triumph of the new life of Spring over the death of Winter, both literally and figuratively.

   The earliest known observance of Easter, called Pasch (derived from the Hebrew pesach for Passover), occurred between the second and fourth centuries. These celebrations commemorated both Jesus’ death and his resurrection at once, whereas today these two events have been split up between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Using the Moon to Determine the Date for Easter

   For Western churches, Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which occurs on or after the vernal equinox. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, then Easter is the following Sunday. The holiday can occur anywhere between March 22 and April 25.

   The Western church does not use the actual (i.e., astronomically correct) date for the vernal equinox; instead it uses a fixed date (March 21). And by full moon it does not mean the astronomical full moon but the “ecclesiastical moon”, which is based on tables created by the Church. These constructs allowed the date of Easter to be calculated in advance rather than determined by actual astronomical observances, which at the time were less predictable.

   The Council of Nicaea in 325 established that Easter would be celebrated on Sundays; before then Easter was celebrated on different days in different places in the same year.

   The Eastern Orthodox Church uses the same formula to calculate Easter, but bases the date on the (older) Julian calendar rather than the more contemporary Gregorian calendar that is most widely used today.

   Unlike the Western Church, the Eastern Church sets the date of Easter according to the actual, astronomical full moon and the actual equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem, the site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Consequently, both churches only occasionally celebrate Easter on the same day. This was the case in 2014, and they are the same again this year. They won’t be on the same day again until 2025.

The Connection Between Easter and Passover

   The Jewish holiday Passover and the Christian holiday Easter have been intertwined ever since the Last Supper which, according to some versions of the story, was a Passover seder. The Last Supper took place just before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, thus interlocking the two holidays. The word Pasch (derived from the Hebrew pesach for Passover), came to mean Easter (Pascha) as well.

   Christian celebrations of Easter were originally tied to Jewish celebrations of Passover. Similar to Passover as a celebration by Jews of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, Easter for Christians is a celebration of deliverance from the bondage of death and sin. Jesus is the Passover sacrifice, and since in some narratives of the Passion the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples is a Passover meal, Easter can be seen as the Christian Passover celebration. Both holidays resonate with the celebration of new/everlasting life.

The Last Supper (by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo)

   For more expanded explanations of dates determination, please see my posts from April 2012 and April 2014.

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JUST SAYIN’

A New Thread

   I introduced this section in last July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be, due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and also to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in last July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

Earth and Moon from space

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. You can check out previous issues over there on the right to hear songs I’d found expressing this idea in a variety of styles.

   Now the world is heating up — again. I’m not going to get into taking sides, because I still hew to my oneness outlook – especially if you look at it from the perspective of history. And deeper aspects of my personal outlook help me understand why people do the horrendous things they do.

  But for here right now, I’m just going to share a song that I figured no one would recognize, because it is a Negro spiritual that the Golden Gate Quartet recorded in 1946. However, I discovered that it was re-released a number of times since then, so maybe you have heard of it.

   Just about everyone in the world today is aware of the almost unimaginable destruction and suffering that a World War III would bring. Why, even back in the 60’s, my parents bought a house that happened to have a fallout shelter under the back yard.

   Atom and Evil was first recorded the year following the United States’ exploding two atomic bombs over Japan. While it isn’t saying anything you haven’t heard before, it feels sobering to me to think that that was 71 years ago. 

   Click the image of the record sleeve below to open the YouTube page where you can listen to the Golden Gate Quartet’s original 1946 version of this song:

   Excerpt:

Atom and Evil
If you don’t break up that romance soon
We’ll all fall down and go boom, boom, (boom), boom!
We’re sitting on the edge of doom.

   Click this Fandom.com page for the full lyrics.

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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. 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 Virgo Friday (10th) at 10:07. She will exit Virgo — thus becoming VoC — Monday at 02:36, and will enter the sign of Libra a few hours later at 05:28. (All times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Libra

Cristina ~  

Full Moon in Libra
“Weight of Love”

   Until this past January this space featured Æterna, who hosted a website she called Aeternalight Astrology. Since then, she has dropped the Æterna alias and is now going by her real name — Cristina.

   Cristina is a professional astrologer based in Italy, who also runs her own, new website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. You can read about her in depth on her About Me page.

   For this full moon in Libra, Cristina tells us that this full moon is . . .

. . . heavy. Heavy as in momentous, intense, pivotal, defining – in a way that defies all expectations about Libra’s gracefulness and lightweight clemency. Heavy in the same way the encounter with the Other can be, with its brutally honest way of bringing out the Other in us – the Shadow, the obsession, the self-sabotage. 

   Whew! I wasn’t expecting that! If that got you going, there’s more where it came from. Take a look at Cristina’s full article: Full Moon in Libra – Weight of Love. Because her style is both sensitive and pithy, you will want to set aside some quiet time to take it all in. 

Libra Full Moon

Tanaaz ~  

Intuitive Astrology:
Full Moon in Libra ~ A Time to Focus on the Other

   Tanaaz Chubb is a professional content writer and producer who, among a number of endeavors, manages and directs Forever Conscious – an online holistic community that focuses on spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.

 In her Intuitive Astrology post for this full moon, Tanaaz begins with:

  The April Full Moon falls in the air sign of Libra. Libra is all about partnerships and balance, Libra is all about learning how to see both sides of the coin.
. . .[This] is the perfect time to put yourself in the shoes of someone else. How can you be more compassionate? How can you be of service to the world?

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest into taking a look at Tanaaz’ full article: April Full Moon. And as if that weren’t enough, Tanaaz also offers a Libra Full Moon Ritual for Peace.

   There’s a lot of good material among these two articles – and on other pages on her website as well – so you will want to set aside some quiet time to read and digest.

Full Moon in Libra

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: The ineluctability of life…

   Calvin waxes philosophical . . . again.

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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 May,
here’s wishing all of us a month of balance and honesty.

~ Moonlight to all,
Marty

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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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about 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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when 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 astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March’s Lizard Full Moon

Welcome March Full Moon!

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

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

INTRO

   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what we’re up to, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
 The moon will become technically full Sunday March 12 at 14:54 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. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

CELEBRATIONS
   Holi and Purim are the Spring festivals happening at this full moon. See the Celebrations section for pics and details.

MOON NAMES
   Past March issues have seen a variety of names featured for this full moon. This time it’s the Lizard Moon. Check out Moon Names for more.

Full Moon Chameleon (Albie Venter, South Africa)

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JUST SAYIN’
   In my opinion section, I continue the theme of All of Us with a famous song from 1985. Take a gander at the Just Sayin’ section.

ASTROLOGY
  Astrologer Tanaaz offers us timely insight at this full moon in Virgo in Astrology. 

HUMOR
  In our Humor section, Calvin and Hobbes ponder astrology.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

Daylight Time Begins    USA, Canada: Sunday March 12

March’s full moon          Sunday March 12 14:54 UTC; 4:54 pm IST; 10:54 pm AWST/PHT
.                                              Sunday March 12 11:54 am ADT; 10:54 am EDT; 7:54 am PDT; 4:54 am HAST
.                                             Monday March 13 1:54 am AEDT
 

March Equinox               Monday March 20 10:29 UTC

Daylight Time Begins    Israel: Friday March 24  ||  United Kingdom: Sunday March 26

March’s new moon         Tuesday March 28 02:57 UTC; 5:57 am IDT; 10:57 am AWST/PHT; 1:57 pm AEDT
.                                               Monday March 27 11:57 pm ADT; 10:57 pm EDT; 7:57 pm PDT; 4:57 pm HAST

Daylight Time Ends       Eastern Australia: Sunday April 2

April’s full moon             Tuesday Apr 11 06:08 UTC; 9:08 am IDT; 2:08 pm AWST/PHT; 4:08 pm AEST
.                                               Tuesday Apr 11 3:08 am ADT; 2:08 am EDT
.                                               Monday Apr 10 11:08 pm PDT; 8:08 pm HAST

Passover                             Monday April 10 to Tuesday April 18
Easter                                  Sunday April 16

April’s new moon           Wednesday Apr 26 12:16 UTC; 3:16 pm IDT; 8:16 pm AWST/PHT; 10:16 pm AEST
.                                              Wednesday Apr 26 9:16 am ADT; 8:16 am EDT; 5:16 am PDT; 2:16 am HAST

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

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MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS

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.

   Though officially beginning this year on the evening of March 12 with the major riots happening on March 13 and 14, 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, 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 Time and USA Today.)

Holi Celebration

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

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 from sundown Saturday until sundown Sunday.

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

Purim Street Celebration

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MOON NAMES

Lizard Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Most of these names were appropriate for the season in which they occurred and were keyed to the goings-on in their natural environment.

   I think uplifting traditions are important — especially during troubled times — as they link us to thought lineages that, having marinated over time, have refined their wisdom to essentials. That’s one reason I like these various moon names — and not just the popular ones.

   In previous issues we’ve featured a variety of colorful names for the March full moon, including Worm, Sap, Crow, Moose Hunter, Whispering Wind, Buffalo, and Lenten Moon.

Full Crow Moon (Cherokee Billie)

   This time I’m pulling a more obscure name and featuring the Lizard Moon, so called by the San Juan peoples of Arizona. I tried to find some background for the name, but so far drawing blanks. I’ll just presume that the people living in what is now Arizona noticed that lizards were becoming active around this time of year after a lethargic winter.

Allosaurus vs. Stegosaurus under desert moon (Elena Duvernay)

   Okay, okay – while dinosaurs are a class of reptiles, they aren’t technically lizards. But this was such a neat piece of artwork, I couldn’t pass it up.

   And even more cool Lizard Moon art than I had anticipated finding . . .

Lizard Couple at Full Moon Night (haya_p Hayashi Masataka)

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JUST SAYIN’

Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in last July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be, due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and also to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. My July, August, September, October, November, December, January and February posts offered songs I’d found expressing this idea in a variety of styles.

   As I was wondering what I was going to do for this month’s Just Sayin’, I remembered back to 1985 when Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote We Are the World, which brought together 23 superstars of the day and was originally produced as a charity single to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.

   The message, of course, goes way beyond just one country. One of these days enough of us will wake up to realize we can create a better life for everyone by cooperating instead of fighting. I just hope when we do, it won’t be too late.

   Click the image of the record sleeve below to open the YouTube page where you can listen to Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and 21 other superstars of 1985 sing this song:

   Excerpt:

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somehow will soon make a change
We are all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know
Love is all we need.

   Click this Genius.com page for the full lyrics, and this Wikipedia article for more background.

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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. 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 Virgo Friday (10th) at 10:07. She will exit Virgo — thus becoming VoC — Monday at 02:36, and will enter the sign of Libra a few hours later at 05:28. (All times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Virgo

Tanaaz ~  

Intuitive Astrology:
Full Moon in Virgo ~ A Time for Self-Healing

   Tanaaz Chubb is a professional content writer and producer who, among a number of endeavors, manages and directs Forever Conscious – an online holistic community that focuses on spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.

 In her Intuitive Astrology post for this full moon, Tanaaz begins with:

   The March 12th Full Moon falls in the earthy sign of Virgo. As the energy of this Full Moon lingers for the next two weeks, we are all going to enter into a time of self-healing.
. . .Virgo is typically the sign associated with thinking. Deep thinking. Over thinking. Virgo thinking is often self-critical, however when channeled in the right way, Virgo thinking can be extremely enlightening. 

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest into taking a look at Tanaaz’ full article: March Full Moon. There’s a lot of good material there – and on other pages on her website as well – so you will want to set aside some quiet time to read and digest.

Virgo Full Moon

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: The future isn’t what it used to be.

   Calvin is thinking about astrology again . . .

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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 April,
here’s wishing all of us a month of joy and lightness.

~ Moonlight to all,
Marty

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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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about 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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when 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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February’s Hungry Heart Full Moon 2017

Welcome February Full Moon!

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

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

INTRO

   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what we’re up to, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

THE HUNGRY HEART
   My Hungry Heart theme this month didn’t come to me in a flash; it revealed itself in stages and then went running through the whole post, especially these sections: Moon Names, Moon Poetry, and Just Sayin’.

FULLNESS
 The moon will become technically full Saturday February 11 at 00:33 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 Saturday at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Friday night/early Saturday morning almost everywhere on Earth. Folks just west of the International Date Line (Philippines, Australia, etc.) will get an approximately equal show Friday and Saturday nights. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

CELEBRATIONS
   The Lunar New Year culminates with the Lantern Festival on the night of the full moon. This is also when Tu B’Shevat begins. See the Celebrations section for pics and details.

MOON NAMES
   We’ve featured Snow Moon – the most popular name for this full moon – in a number of previous years, so this time I’m combining a lesser-known name with one I adopted myself…and like for a variety of reasons. Check out Moon Names and see what you think.

February Snow Moon

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SKYWATCH ~ Penumbral Lunar Eclipse | Comet-45P
   [1] At fullness the Moon will pass through the penumbra of Earth’s shadow. Not a big show, but may be interesting to some. [2] An annular solar eclipse at the time of the next new moon. [3] A chance to catch a comet on fly-by. [4] A reminder of the spectacular total solar eclipse this August that will cut right across the midsection of the United States. Click through to Skywatch for details.

MOON POETRY
   Two moon poems this time, capturing the mood of February (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), and fitting in nicely with this issue’s theme. Take a trip to the Moon Poetry section.

JUST SAYIN’
   In my opinion section, I continue the theme of All of Us with some words from me and another song that just about everyone knows. Methinks it never hurts to remind ourselves of what lives in the deepest part of all of us. Read and listen in the Just Sayin’ section.

ASTROLOGY
  Astrologer Tanaaz offers us timely insight at this full moon and eclipse in Leo in Astrology. 

HUMOR
  In our Humor section, Calvin and Hobbes wonder at the night sky.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

February’s full moon       Saturday Feb 11 00:33 UTC; 2:33 am IST; 8:33 am AWST/PHT; 11:33 am AEDT
.                                             Friday Feb 10 8:33 pm AST; 7:33 pm EST; 4:33 pm PST; 2:33 pm HAST

February’s new moon     Sunday Feb 26 14:58 UTC; 4:58 pm IST; 10:58 pm AWST/PHT
.                                             Sunday Feb 26 10:58 am AST; 9:58 am EST; 6:58 am PST; 4:58 am HAST
.                                             Monday Feb 27 1:58 am AEDT

Daylight Time Begins    USA, Canada: Sunday March 12

March’s full moon          Sunday March 12 14:54 UTC; 4:54 pm IST; 10:54 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Sunday March 12 11:54 am ADT; 10:54 am EDT; 7:54 am PDT; 4:54 am HAST
.                                            Monday March 13 1:54 am AEDT
 

March Equinox               Monday March 20 10:29 UTC

Daylight Time Begins    Israel: Friday March 24  ||  United Kingdom: Sunday March 26

March’s new moon         Tuesday March 28 02:57 UTC; 5:57 am IDT; 10:57 am AWST/PHT; 1:57 pm AEDT
.                                            Monday March 27 11:57 pm ADT; 10:57 pm EDT; 7:57 pm PDT; 4:57 pm HAST

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

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MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS

Lantern Festival

   Last month we featured the Lunar New Year, officially known as the ‘Spring Festival‘ in China. The 15-day celebration culminates in the Lantern Festival on the night of the first full moon of the lunisolar New Year.

Lantern Festival on Full Moon

    The Lantern Festival will be celebrated in many countries this year on Saturday, February 11. (Refs: Wikipedia~Chinese New Year, Wikipedia~Chinese zodiac, Chinese Fortune Calendar)

Tu B’Shevat

   Tu B’Shevat is a minor Jewish holiday, also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot” – literally “New Year of the Trees”, which was historically related to the cycles of the fruit trees.  The modern name Tu B’Shevat is derived from the date on which it occurs: the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. This places it on or a day after the full moon, as the Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar, with each month beginning at a new moon. This year Tu B’Shevat will begin at sunset Friday (10 Feb) the night of the full moon, and finish at nightfall on Saturday (11 Feb). (More info: Chabad; Wikipedia)

Almond tree in blossom

Almond tree in blossom

Dried fruit and almonds

European Jews traditionally celebrate Tu B’Shevat by eating dried fruit and almonds.  Modern Israelis celebrate by planting trees in ecological awareness.

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MOON NAMES

Hungry Heart Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Most of these names were appropriate for the season in which they occurred and were keyed to the goings-on in their natural environment.

   I think uplifting traditions are important — especially during troubled times — as they link us to thought lineages that, having marinated over time, have refined their wisdom to essentials. That’s one reason I like these various moon names — and not just the popular ones.

   Snow Moon is the most common name for the February full moon; we’ve featured it in previous years: “Glistening“(2011), “Moon of Snow“(2012), and “Icy Snowy” (2014).

Golden Snow Moon

   Many Native American tribes who used Snow Moon for the moon preceding this one gave the current full moon the name Hunger Moon, in obvious reference to the difficulty in finding food when hunting game was scarce and plants were covered with snow.

A Hungry Moon by Don Oelze

A Hungry Moon by Don Oelze

   I decided to take license again (poetic or otherwise, despite reader/friend Marc’s protestations) and am marrying Hunger Moon with Heart Moon, a name not typically associated with a particular full moon. It seems to me this is appropriate both to the season (with Valentine’s Day approaching) and to the current world situation, where it appears that compassion has retreated in favor of alienation.

   I missed showcasing Heart Moon when the full moon occurred on Valentine’s Day in 2014 (my penchant for adopting my own names hadn’t kicked in yet), and I don’t want to wait until the next time it will happen – 2033. If I’m still publishing EM&S then, I’ll name it Valentine Moon.

Goddess Moon

   So a Hungry Heart Moon. Many hearts are full at this season, while many others are hungry. Let’s give Ms. Luna a chance to help all our hearts become full.

   See the Moon Poetry section for some inspiration along these lines, and the Just Sayin’ section for perspective and some healing music.

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SKYWATCH

A Barely Noticeable Dusky Eclipse

  In last month’s Skywatch we listed the four eclipses (two solar and two lunar) on tap for 2017. Check it out for the details, especially about the big total solar eclipse in August.

  As we noted there, the full moon this month will experience passing through the penumbra of Earth’s shadow, from a couple of hours prior to technical fullness until a couple of hours after. See Seasonal Calendar above for fullness times in some representative time zones, or this TimeandDate page, where you can plug in the name of your city and see times and an animation. This eclipse will be a tiny bit deeper than the penumbral eclipse we described in last September’s Skywatch. Check it out if you are interested in more detail about penumbrals.

   Some people are excited about this eclipse, but yours truly isn’t. Why? The “penumbra” is the outer region of the shadow in which there is still light visible from the Sun. This produces only a dusky, half-lit shadow on the Moon — barely noticeable from here on Earth. It’s not like a “partial” eclipse, in which at least some of the moon is completely darkened by the shadow’s umbra (no light). (In all fairness to astrology – this is merely my perspective from a purely astronomy/observing viewpoint. See the Astrology section for a more refreshing interpretation.)

    Admittedly, this eclipse will be as dark as penumbrals can get, since all of the Moon’s face will be awash in this quasi-shadow area, sliding right up to the edge of the dark umbra, but not entering it. Quoting here from TimeandDate‘s page for this eclipse:

It is often difficult to tell the difference between a penumbral eclipse and a regular Full Moon. However, this eclipse [will be] easier to spot than an average penumbral eclipse because the Moon travels through the darkest areas of Earth’s penumbra, only just missing the umbra, the darkest part of the shadow.

   The best seats in the house will be in Eastern North America, and all of Central and South America. Check out this TimeandDate page for an animation that will give you an idea of what you can expect to see,  along with times and locations where this eclipse will be viewable.

   Sky and Telescope has an excellent page on this eclipse, too, with some helpful technical details.

lunar-eclipse-feb-2017

Other Upcoming Eclipses

   In a more spectacular vein, the new moon this month (Feb 26) will produce a pretty amazing annular solar eclipse, but you will be able to see it only if you are in the southern tip of South America or southern/western Africa (or out at sea between them).

Path of Solar Eclipse (2-27-17) [TimeandDate]

Path of Solar Eclipse (2-26-17) [TimeandDate]

   Annular solar eclipses are “almost” total, but with an impressive “ring of fire” around the edge of the new moon. This TimeandDate page provides an animation and diagram that will show you the what, when and where, plus a live stream program. And you can watch a live telescope stream via the Slooh website.

   Don’t forget the total solar eclipse in August (🌶🌶🌶🌶).  Below I reproduce the list of the four 2017 eclipses, with my “hotness” ratings.

February 10-11   Lunar    Penumbral (barely noticeable) 🥒
.                                              Most of the Earth (except Australia, South Pacific and Northeast Asia

February 26        Solar      Annular 🌶
.                                              Parts of the Southern Hemisphere

August 7-8        Lunar     Partial (but less than a quarter) 🥒🥒
.                                             Eastern hemisphere

August 21         Solar        TOTAL  🌶🌶🌶🌶
.                                            Path cuts a swath across the belt line of North America!

More details? See EarthSky, Time and DateSky & Telescope, Eclipse 2017, Bustle, New Atlas.

Comet Fly-By

  Following the eclipse on Friday night, Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková will make its closest approach to Earth in its 5 1/4-year orbit around the Sun ~ at 10:30 p.m. EST. According to this article in the Washington Post, “The greenish comet will be visible by telescope and binoculars, but not to the naked eye.”

Comet-45P (NASA)

Comet-45P (NASA)

   For more details, times, photos, and diagrams on the eclipse and comet, see the following articles: Washington Post, UK’s Mirror, EarthSky.

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MOON POETRY

The Moon and I
by Mustafa Tattan

The Moon and I

Hunger Moon
by Jane Cooper

Hunger Moon

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JUST SAYIN’

Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in last July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be, due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and also to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. My July, August, September, October, November, December and January posts offered songs I’d found expressing this idea in a variety of styles.

   This month the song picked me. As Hungry Heart evolved, it became clear to me that underlying all the pain and angst in this world lives the belief-conviction that love has somehow gone away. Not an original idea by any stretch — you can hear it from pop songs to sermons. But while it’s one thing to talk about it, it’s entirely different (and much more powerful) when it’s direct experience.

   For me, unification with Love is a big part of the experience of bathing in Ms. Luna’s light. And listening/moving to songs like this month’s featured: written by John Lennon and recorded by The Beatles, All You Need Is Love was released as a 45 rpm single (pictured below) in July 1967. According to the Wikipedia article on this song:
When asked in 1971 whether songs like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs, [Lennon] answered: “Sure. So was ‘All You Need Is Love’. I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.”

   Click the image of the record sleeve to open the YouTube page where you can listen to The Beatles sing this song.

   Excerpt:

There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where
You’re meant to be
It’s E-Z.

   Click this AZLyrics page for the full lyrics.

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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. Some folks have wondered how the moon can be in one sign (Cancer, for example) when the “current” sign is something else (Capricorn, for example). The answer is that the current astrological sign that everyone is familiar with is the sign that the sun is in. (That is called your “sun sign” in astrology.) When the moon is full, it is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (“opposition”), so at fullness, the moon is in the sign that is opposite the current sun sign. The diagram of the Moon’s orbit in last August’s Moonmotion section will help you visualize opposition.

   Astrologers divide up their heaven into 12 equal pieces, like a pizza: 

zodiac-pizza

   So you can see that when the sun is in the sign Capricorn, the full moon will be in the sign on the opposite side of the pizza . . . Cancer, in this example. Here’s a table that expresses the Moon’s opposition throughout the year, based on the above chart:

zodiac-signs

  Note that we are talking astrological signs here, not actual astronomical constellations; the constellations that you see in the sky have drifted over the eons and thus no longer line up with astrology’s signs. If you feel like diving into the details of signs and constellations, check out the series we did here in EM&S throughout 2014 on “Astronomy and Lore of the Zodiac”. You can sample its beginnings with the January ’14 issue

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. 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 Cancer the Crab on Tuesday (7th) at 07:02, and began exiting Cancer — thus beginning VoC — Wednesday at 21:59. She will then enter the sign of Leo on Thursday at 09:41 and remain there through and after fullness, leaving Leo and becoming void again on Saturday at 05:52. Later that day she will enter the next sign, Virgo, at 13:51. (All times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Leo

Off On A Tangent

   Well, it looks like my usual go-to online astrologers have taken this full moon off, so I picked a new feed that looked promising in the hopes it might afford you some insight you may have been seeking.

Tanaaz ~  

Intuitive Astrology:
February Lunar Eclipse

   Tanaaz Chubb is a professional content writer and producer who, among a number of endeavors, manages and directs Forever Conscious – an online holistic community that focuses on spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.

 In her Intuitive Astrology post for this full moon and lunar eclipse, Tanaaz relates the following:

. . . [this] Eclipse in Leo represents the opening of a new gateway and a starting point into the energies of 2017. Eclipses act like doorways into different energy paths, and are powerful enough to transform, shift and change the direction and flow of your life. 

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest into taking a look at Tanaaz’ full article: February Lunar Eclipse 2017. There’s a lot of good material there – and on other pages on her website – so you will want to set aside some quiet time to read and digest.

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Leo Full Moon

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: What’s Up With the Stars?

   Found another Calvin and Hobbes on astrology that you might enjoy. Here C&H ponder a question that people have asked for eons . . .

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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 all of us a month of connection and love.

~ Moonlight to all,
Marty

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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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about 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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when 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 astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January’s Quiet Wolf Full Moon 2017

Welcome January Full Moon!

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

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

INTRO

   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what we’re up to, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
 The moon will become technically full Thursday January 12 at 11:34 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 close to noon at the Prime Meridian (PM), Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Wednesday night west of the PM to the International Date Line, Thursday night east of the PM to the Date Line. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

CELEBRATIONS
   The Lunar New Year is coming up at the new moon at the end of the month. See the Celebrations section for pics and details.

MOON NAMES
   Wolf Moon is the most popular name for this moon. In the references that say “Quite” Moon I think it’s a dyslexic typo.  Check out Moon Names for my take and some cool pics.

The Wood Pile (Erin Vaganos – Fine Art America)

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ECLIPSES OF 2017 | The “Big One” in August
   The fewest possible number of lunar/solar eclipses this year — BUT — one of them will be a blockbuster! Not too early to begin planning. Click Skywatch for details.

MOON POETRY
   I love it when I trip across moon poetry that resonates with my take on Ms. Luna’s energy. Take a trip to the Moon Poetry section for some delight.

JUST SAYIN’
   In this next installment of my personal opinion section Just Sayin’, I continue the theme of All of Us with another song that just about everyone knows. If you tilt your head just right, it can fit in with this month’s Quiet Wolf theme, too.

ASTROLOGY
  Astrologer Æterna offers us insight at this full moon in Cancer in Astrology. 

HUMOR
  In continuation of our Humor section, a Calvin and Hobbes prequel.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

January’s full moon       Thursday Jan 12 11:34 UTC; 1:34 pm IST; 7:34 pm AWST/PHT; 10:34 pm AEDT
.                                            Thursday Jan 12 7:34 am AST; 6:34 am EST; 3:34 am PST; 1:34 am HAST

January’s new moon      Saturday Jan 28 00:07 UTC; 2:07 am IST; 8:07 am AWST/PHT; 11:07 am AEDT
.                                            Friday Jan 27 8:07 pm AST; 7:07 pm EST; 4:07 pm PST; 2:07 pm HAST

February’s full moon       Saturday Feb 11 00:33 UTC; 2:33 am IST; 8:33 am AWST/PHT; 11:33 am AEDT
.                                             Friday Feb 10 8:33 pm AST; 7:33 pm EST; 4:33 pm PST; 2:33 pm HAST

February’s new moon    Sunday Feb 26 14:58 UTC; 4:58 pm IST; 10:58 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Sunday Feb 26 10:58 am AST; 9:58 am EST; 6:58 am PST; 4:58 am HAST
.                                            Monday Feb 27 1:58 am AEDT
 

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

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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 communities worldwide.

Chinese New Year Dragons (Reuters)

Chinese New Year Dragons (Reuters)

   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 adjustments inserted as needed in order to not get too far out of sync with the seasons.

   This year the Chinese New Year (year 4714 according to the Huángdì era) will begin on the new moon Saturday, January 28 on the (Western) Gregorian calendar, and will end with the Lantern Festival on the full moon (Saturday, February 11). 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 (Yin) Red Fire Rooster — or Chicken, since it is a yin, or female stem-branch.

   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. . .)

rooster-2017

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 Saturday, February 11. (Refs: Wikipedia~Chinese New Year, Wikipedia~Chinese zodiac, Chinese Fortune Calendar)

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MOON NAMES

Quiet Wolf Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Most of these were appropriate for the season in which they occurred and keyed to the goings-on in their natural environment.

   I think uplifting traditions are good for us, as they link us to thought lineages that, having marinated over time, have refined their wisdom to essentials. That’s one reason I like these various moon names — and not just the popular ones.

   Wolf Moon has caught on and wins the popularity vote. Its origins appear to be Medieval English and the Algonquin Nation, tho it’s not clear who was first. Maybe it’s not that important — the picture of a pack of hungry wolves standing in January snow and howling at the full moon is enough for me.

wolves-howling-at-moon   We’ve mentioned the Wolf Moon in a number of previous issues:

The January Full Wolf Moon is Howling for You! (January 2011)
January’s Full Winter Holiday Ice Wolf Moon (January 2012)
January’s Rowan Ice Wolf Moon  (January 2013)
January’s Joyful Wolf Holiday Full Moon (January 2014)

   Quiet Moon is quite a different story. While I did find “quiet” in one reference, most sites I visited listed “quite moon”, which looked to me like a dyslexic typo. It didn’t make any sense to me and since I couldn’t find an explanation, I’m going with quiet, whose origin is apparently Celtic. I like the idea of a quiet moon because — as I’ve mused here in the past — her silence is like a deep meditation that calls to the stillness in the center of our being, like the calm eye of a storm while the wild winds swirl around us.

   In a search for a graphic for “Celtic quiet moon”, I found this beautiful (copyrighted) piece by one Sabine Gessner.

Celtic Moon (© Sabine Gessner)

   The only place it appears to live on the Web is on a 2-hour YouTube video called “Celtic Moon, Celtic Music“. Click the artist’s name above to go to her Facebook page.

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SKYWATCH ~ THE ECLIPSES OF 2017

Especially the “Big One” in August 

  As this Sky & Telescope post points out, in any given year the number of lunar and solar eclipses combined can vary from four (minimum) to seven (maximum).  In terms of count, 2017 will be ho-hum because we will have only four. Further, the two lunar eclipses (1 or 2 cucumbers🥒) won’t be worth losing any sleep over. The annular solar eclipse in February will be okay (1 red pepper🌶) if you happen to be in southern Africa or Argentina at the time. But the big news is the total solar eclipse in August (🌶🌶🌶🌶). Whoa Momma!

February 10-11   Lunar    Penumbral (barely noticeable) 🥒
.                                              Most of the Earth (except Australia, South Pacific and Northeast Asia

February 26        Solar      Annular 🌶
.                                              Parts of the Southern Hemisphere

August 7-8        Lunar     Partial (but less than a quarter) 🥒🥒
.                                              Eastern hemisphere

August 21         Solar        TOTAL  🌶🌶🌶🌶
.                                            Path cuts a swath across the belt line of North America!

   The August solar eclipse is a rather big deal, because it will be total, unlike many other solar eclipses. AND it will cut right across the midsection of the United States. (Now admittedly there will be another sorta similar total eclipse in 2024, but it won’t cover the same area at all, and besides so much can happen between now and then.)

   I’m alerting you now so you can start making plans if you want to observe it. Be aware you won’t be alone — people from all around the globe will descend on favored spots along the Moon’s shadow path to observe this event. Here is a screenshot of NASA’s Google map of the path:

Path of Solar Eclipse (Aug 2017)

Path of Solar Eclipse (Aug 2017)

    Click on the map to open a new window where you can interact with the actual live map.

    More details? See Time and DateSky & Telescope, Eclipse 2017, Bustle, New Atlas.

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MOON POETRY

Moonchild 

There was a reason
that she was so
romantic about the moon.

It never asked her questions
or begged for answers,
nor did she ever have to prove
herself to it.

It was always just there –
breathing, shining,
and in ways most
humans can’t understand:
listening.

-Christopher Poindexter

Moonchild

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JUST SAYIN’

Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in last July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be, due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and also to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. My July, August, September, October, November and December posts offered songs I’d found expressing this idea in a variety of styles.

   This month I picked some more low-hanging fruit with a song that just about everyone knows. Still, it can bear listening to again. It links with last month’s Respect theme and, if you tilt your head just right, it can sync with this month’s Quiet Wolf theme. Extrapolate from the literal “black and white” message and you find yourself in universal inclusivity land. So take another listen to Ebony and Ivory, written by Paul McCartney and recorded as a duet with Stevie Wonder in 1982. Click the photo to open the YouTube page where you can watch and listen to this pair work their magic with this song.

"Ebony and Ivory" by Paul McCartney, recorded with Stevie Wonder (1982)

“Ebony and Ivory” with Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney (1982)

   Excerpt:

We all know
that people are the same
wherever you go

   Click this MetroLyrics link for the full lyrics.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

  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.

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. 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 Cancer the Crab on Tuesday (10th) at 22:48; she will remain there until she becomes full on Thursday (12th) at 11:34, at which time she will begin exiting Cancer and become VoC. Then on Friday (13th) just after midnight at the Prime Meridian, she will enter the next sign, Leo, at 00:07. (Times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Cancer the Crab

Æterna ~  

Cancer Full Moon
“Marching to the Heartbeats”

   Æterna is a professional astrologer based in Italy, who also runs her own website Aeternalight Astrology “The Cosmic Path to a Conscious Life”, where she claims introspection and compassionate understanding as two of the major assets she brings to her astrology practice.

   For this full moon, Æterna tells us that this is a time for us to take a  . . .

. . . journey back home to ourselves [that] might unfold in ways that are more uproarious, turbulent and spasmodic than expected. Cancer is the roots, the womb, the safe haven, the warm embrace, the raw nerve, the sore spot, the vulnerable core. 

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest in taking a look at Æterna’s full article: Full Moon in Cancer – Marching to the Heartbeats. Because her style is both sensitive and pithy, you will want to set aside some quiet time to reflect on her offerings. 

Full Moon in Cancer

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: A kinda time warp

   Even tho the Calvin and Hobbes series we began in July concluded last month, in the grand prequel tradition of Star Wars and others we present our daring dyad contemplating the stars

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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 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 February,
here’s wishing all of us a month of satisfying journey.

~ Moonlight to all,
Marty

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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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about 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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when 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 astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

December’s Super Full Moon of Respect

Welcome December Full Moon!

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

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

INTRO

   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what we’re up to, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
   The moon will become technically full Wednesday December 14 at 00:06 UT
, 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 UT-Universal Time.)

  Because technical fullness will occur this time just a few minutes after midnight at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Tuesday night almost everywhere on Earth. Folks just west of the International Date Line (Philippines, Australia, etc.) will get an approximately equal show Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   In these trying times, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight the Hopi name for this full moon: Respect. Check out Moon Names for the full story and a pic.

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SUPER MOON
   The last in the current trifecta of “super” moons. Check out the Skywatch section for the details.

STAR OF BETHLEHEM NOT AN ACTUAL STAR?
   The Star of Bethlehem may not have been an actual star. Check out the Starwatch section for the details.

JUST SAYIN’
   In this next installment of my new personal opinion section Just Sayin’, I continue the theme of All of Us with another song from the sixties that fits right in with this month’s theme.

ASTROLOGY
  Astrologers Æterna and Molly Hall offer us insight at this full moon in Gemini in Astrology. 

HUMOR
  In continuation of our new Humor section, fear strikes Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) as he and Hobbes read his latest horoscope.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

December’s full moon    Wednesday Dec 14 00:06 UT; 2:06 am IST; 8:06 am AWST/PHT; 11:06 am AEDT
.                                            Tuesday Dec 13  7:06 pm EST; 4:06 pm PST; 2:06 pm HAST

December Solstice           Tuesday Dec 22  04:49 UT; 2:06 am IST; 8:06 am AWST/PHT; 11:06 am AEDT
.                                            Monday Dec 21  11:49 pm EST; 8:49 pm PST; 6:49 pm HAST

December’s new moon  Thursday Dec 29 06:53 UT; 8:53 am IST; 2:53 pm AWST/PHT; 5:53 pm AEDT
.                                            Thursday Dec 29 1:53 am EST
.                                            Wednesday Dec 28  8:53 pm HAST; 10:53 pm PST

January’s full moon       Thursday Jan 12 11:34 UT; 1:34 pm IST; 7:34 pm AWST/PHT; 10:34 pm AEDT
.                                            Thursday Jan 12 6:34 am EST; 3:34 am PST; 1:34 am HAST

January’s new moon      Saturday Jan 28 00:07 UT; 2:07 am IST; 8:07 am AWST/PHT; 11:07 am AEDT
.                                            Friday Jan 27 7:07 pm EST; 4:07 pm PST; 2:07 pm HAST

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

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SEASONINGS

Solstice Time Again

   Tuesday (22nd) or Monday (21st), 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 “sun 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

Moon of Respect

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. While most of these were appropriate for the season in which they occurred and keyed to the goings-on in their natural environment — sometimes the name was of a broader theme. True for this month’s choice. 

Native Moon Goddess

   The Hopi (living in the present-day corner where Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado meet) called this month’s moon Moon of Respect. According to the Wikipedia article on these peoples, the Hopi called themselves “The Peaceful People”, with the word “Hopi” meaning “behaving one, one who is mannered, civilized, peaceable.” (refs: Everything Under the Moon, Wikipedia)

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SKYWATCH ~ THE LAST SUPER MOON IN THIS SERIES

But Will You Be Able to Notice the Difference? 

  The full moon this month will be the third “super” moon in the current trifecta of super full moons that began in October. If you missed my last month’s post, you can check there for the scoop on how “super” it was, and why I thought all the fuss about its being the “super-est” was a tempest in a teapot.

So What Exactly is a “Supermoon”?
   Because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical in shape, its distance from the 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 is the case this time.

   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.

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 was last month, the difference in size and brightness will be so small you won’t be able to tell the difference. 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 interesting photos, check out these web pages:
EarthSky   |   Snopes   |   Farmer’s Almanac   |   Space   |   NASA

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STARWATCH

The Star of  Bethlehem – Probably Wasn’t a Star 

   Perhaps you’ve heard the recent hubub about the Star of Bethlehem not being an actual star. For a long time, astronomers have puzzled about what could have caused such a rare phenomenon, some proposing in years past that maybe it was a supernova (Wikipedia).

   Now, after studying historical, astronomical and biblical records for more than a decade, Grant Mathews, professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology at the University of Notre Dame, has come forth stating that he believes the event that led the Magi — Zoroastrian priests of ancient Babylon and Mesopotamia — was not a star at all, but rather an extremely rare planetary alignment occurring in 6 B.C., the likes of which may never be seen again.

Planetary Alignment

   For all the details, check out this University of Notre Dame article. And if you want to entertain yourself for hours, just Google “Grant Matthews Star of Bethlehem”.

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JUST SAYIN’

Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be, due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and also to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. My July, August, September, October, and November posts offered songs I’d found expressing this idea in a variety of styles.

   This month’s “Respect” theme syncs well with this outlook. Whether in intimate relationships, talking with the checkout clerk, or bumping into that stranger coming out the door you’re going in, we’re all humans trying to deal with what Life is throwing at us. So this month another song from the sixties, this time from the Woodstock era, Everyday People by Sly & The Family Stone. Click the photo to open the YouTube page where you can listen to the group singing it in a very fun and well-produced video.

Everyday People ~ Sly and the Family Stone

   Excerpt:

I am no better and neither are you
We are the same, whatever we do
We got to live together
I am everyday people

   Click this AZLyrics link for the full lyrics.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

  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.

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. 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 Gemini on Monday (12th) at 12:41; she will remain there until after she becomes full on Wednesday (14th) at 00:06, and then at 05:57, will begin exiting Gemini and become VoC. Later the same day she will enter the next sign, Cancer, at 12:08. (Times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Gemini

Æterna ~  

Gemini Full Moon
“Thoughtforms”

   Æterna is a professional astrologer based in Italy, who also runs her own website Aeternalight Astrology “The Cosmic Path to a Conscious Life”, where she claims introspection and compassionate understanding as two of the major assets she brings to her astrology practice.

   For this full moon, Æterna tells us that Gemini addresses “embracing the creative possibilities of the mind.” Insightful and reflective, Æterna brings in an astrological perspective:

Gemini comes alive through collecting, absorbing and delivering information, in an incessant dialogue with the surroundings. 

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest in taking a look at Æterna’s full article: Full Moon in Gemini – Thoughtforms. Because her style is both sensitive and pithy, you will want to set aside some quiet time to read and reflect on what she writes. 

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Molly Hall ~  

Full Moon in Gemini

   Molly Hall is resident astrologer at about.com, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from traditional interpretations of the positions of the stars and planets.

   Although she didn’t write a post specifically for this December’s full moon, Molly does have an article on the full moon in Gemini, in which she writes:

Under the Gemini Moon, the trickster is afoot. Humor becomes a way of defusing super serious situations.

   Intriguing and practical at the same time. Check out Molly’s article “Transiting Moon in Gemini“.

   In addition to her insights around full moons, Molly offers the following helpful articles:

   Also visit Molly’s front page for lots more interesting astrology.

Full moon in Gemini

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: A new horror-scope

   In this final installment of the Calvin and Hobbes series we began in July, Calvin’s new horoscope strikes terror in his heart

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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 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 January,
here’s wishing all of us a month of peace and respect.

~ Moonlight to all,
Marty

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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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about 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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when 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 astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

November’s Gathered Super Full Moon

Happy November Full Moon!

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

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

INTRO

   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what’s going on here, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
   The moon will become technically full Monday November 14 at 13:52 UT
, 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 UT-Universal Time.)

  Because technical fullness will occur this time in the middle of the day at the Prime Meridian, the cusp this time will fall around Iceland’s meridian, and thus Ms. Luna will appear there equally full both Sunday and Monday nights. Further west to the International Date Line will see closer to maximum fullness on Sunday night, while Monday night will favor folks east of the cusp. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   Remember though that since she appears full up to twelve hours either side of technical fullness, people almost everywhere will get a full show both Sunday and Monday nights. The closer you approach the Date Line from the east, Sunday night will be favored, while from the west side of the Line it will be Monday. Of course, all this depends on whether you are an early evening observer or a wee hours/early morning observer. So let’s just go out both nights and howl.

MOON NAMES
   This month we’re departing from the plant and tree moon name themes we’ve featured since June, and turning to the theme of Gathering in Gratitude. Check out Moon Names for the full story and some pics.

Dark Night Moon

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SUPER DUPER MOON
   The second in the current trifecta of “super” moons, this one will be the “superest” since 1948. (But not by enough that you will be able to discern.) Check out the Skywatch section for the details.

MOON MOTION QUIZ
   Continuing the journey we began in our July issue, here’s the next installment in my attempt to pique your interest in how our nearest sky neighbor shakes, rattles, and rolls. As noted in July when we began this new adventure, since the details of this rather large subject can become complex, we’re approaching it in small, simple steps. Here’s the quiz question for this month:

.Q: In what way does the Moon orbit the Earth?

Full disclosure: this may be a trick question. Click Moonmotion to see the “treat” of an answer.

JUST SAYIN’
   In this next installment of my new personal opinion section Just Sayin’, I continue the theme of All of Us with a song that just about everyone on Earth has heard and/or sung. I feel it is appropriate right now, given the tenor of recent times.

ASTROLOGY
  Astrologers Æterna and Molly Hall offer us insight at this full moon in Taurus in Astrology. 

HUMOR
  In continuation of our new Humor section, Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) is dismayed when the predictions of his horoscope don’t materialize.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

November’s full moon    Monday Nov 14 13:52 UT; 3:52 am HAST; 5:52 am PST; 8:52 am EST
.                                            Monday Nov 14 3:52 pm IST; 9:52 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Tuesday Nov 15 12:52 am AEDT

November’s new moon  Tuesday Nov 29 12:18 UT; 2:18 am HAST; 4:18 am PST; 7:18 am EST
.                                            Tuesday Nov 29 2:18 pm IST; 8:18 pm AWST/PHT; 11:18 pm AEDT

December’s full moon    Wednesday Dec 14 00:06 UT; 2:06 am IST; 8:06 am AWST/PHT; 11:06 am AEDT
.                                            Tuesday Dec 13  7:06 pm EST; 4:06 pm PST; 2:06 pm HAST

December Solstice           Tuesday Dec 22  04:49 UT; 2:06 am IST; 8:06 am AWST/PHT; 11:06 am AEDT
.                                            Monday Dec 21  11:49 pm EST; 8:49 pm PST; 6:49 pm HAST

December’s new moon  Thursday Dec 29 06:53 UT; 8:53 am IST; 2:53 pm AWST/PHT; 5:53 pm AEDT
.                                            Thursday Dec 29 1:53 am EST
.                                            Wednesday Dec 28  8:53 pm HAST; 10:53 pm PST

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

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MOON NAMES

Gathering in Gratitude 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.

Grateful Moon

Grateful Moon

   In previous Novembers we’ve featured a number of folk names this full moon has been and is known by. The prevailing name that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report is Beaver Moon – the full moon following the Hunter’s Moon. We honored this name in 2011 (November’s Full Beaver Moon), 2012 (November’s Falling Leaves Beaver Moon) and in 2013 (November’s Frosty Tiger Shark Moon).  In 2014 we featured the Full Frosty Freezing Moon, and last year it was the Freezing Rivers Full Moon.

  At least two tribes indigenous to North America named this full moon Moon When All Is Gathered In: the Tewa Pueblo (Southwest, New Mexico) and the San Juan Native Americans (Southwest) (refs: American Indian Moons, Everything Under the Moon.)

  While clearly the traditional reference is to gathering in the crops, I am taking liberty here to extend this to gathering in together in honoring and recognition of how we are better and stronger when we set aside our little differences and focus instead on how we are all similar. And how grateful we are not only for our bounty, but for each other.

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SKYWATCH ~ SUPER-est MOON

But Will You Be Able to Notice the Difference? 

  The full moon this month will be the second “super” moon in the current trifecta of full moons, beginning last month in October and ending next month in December. A lot of hay has been made around this coming “super” full moon, because that big ball of rock will loom closer to Earth at fullness than it has been since 1948, and won’t be as close again until 2034.

So What Exactly is a “Supermoon”?
   Because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical in shape, its distance from the Earth fluctuates throughout each month. Its closest approach is called “perigee” (meaning “nearest 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 is the case this time.

   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.

So What’s the Big Deal This Time?
This supermoon will be the closest to Earth since 1948, and will hold that record until 2034. But just like ads that shout “lowest price in town”, the real question is: “by how much?” If you can stand a tiny bit of number crunching, take a look at these distances of previous  full moons:

Year Date Distance
2011 March 19 356,575 km
2012 May 6 356,955 km
2013 June 23 356,991 km
2014 August 10 356,896 km
2015 September 28 356,877 km
 2016 November 14 356,509 km

   Compare 2011 with 2016. That’s only 66 km (41 mi) closer this time. As a percentage of the distance from us, 66 km is 0.0185%, or approximately two ten-thousandths closer than in 2011.

  In 1948, the full moon perigee was 356,461 km. In 2034, it will be 356,445 km. Comparing 1948 with 2016 (509-461 = 48 km) or 30 mi closer in 1948 than this time. As a percentage of the mean distance apart, that’s 0.0135%, or approximately one-and-a third ten-thousandths closer in 1948. Do you think you will be able to detect the difference?

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.

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. And if you want to be able to tell your grandchildren you saw it at its biggest, catch her somewhere between perigee (about an hour and a half just before technical fullness) and fullness. Check Seasonal Calendar, above, or TimeandDate for technical fullness times in your time zone. Subtract an hour and a half to determine perigee time. For moonrise and moonset times, go to this TimeandDate page. (Remember that at the full moon, the moon rises as the sun sets, and sets as the sun rises.)

  For lots more on the where/when/how/why of this phenomenon, plus some interesting photos, check out these web pages:
EarthSky   |   Snopes   |   Farmer’s Almanac   |   Space   |   NASA

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CELESTIAL MECHANICS ~ MOON MOTION

The Dance of the Earth and Moon

    Q: In what way does the Moon orbit the Earth?
    A: Trick question because, in actuality, the Earth and Moon dance together around their common center of mass. Now, aren’t you glad you asked?

The Earth-Moon Barycenter
   Though it is common to say that the Moon orbits the Earth, in fact they both orbit their common center of mass, known as the “Earth-Moon barycenter.”

Barycenter and the Two-Body Problem

   Gravity is the master dance caller in the universe. Technically speaking, the Earth, Moon and Sun are partners in a complex 3-way dance, because each one is influenced by the gravitational fields of the other two. (If you want to polish the pebble, you would include Jupiter, too, because of its very large mass.)

   For general purposes, people usually consider the Earth and Moon as an example of what is known as the Two Body Problem, of which there are innumerable examples in our galaxy alone. Other examples of two bodies orbiting a common center of mass include all the binary star systems. Closer to home, Jupiter and the Sun dance around their own common center of mass, which btw lies outside the Sun’s perimeter.

  Below is a simplified diagram of what’s going on between Earth and the Moon. If you want to delve more deeply into this subject (and see some animations), see the article “Barycenter” (Wikipedia).

Earth-Moon Barycenter Diagram

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JUST SAYIN’

Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be, due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and also to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. My July, August, September and October posts offered songs in a variety of styles I’d found expressing this idea. I think this theme of inclusivity and dissolving the artificial barriers we’ve created between us is so crucial to saving us from ourselves, I’ve continued it this month with a song from my generation, Imagine by John Lennon of the Beatles. Click the photo to open the YouTube page where you can watch and listen to him singing it – with Yoko Ono by his side.

“Imagine” John Lennon (with Yoko Ono)

   Excerpt:

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

   Click this AZLyrics link for the full lyrics.

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ASTROLOGY

Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

  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.

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. 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 the sign of Taurus on Sunday (13th) at 02:23; she will remain there until she becomes full on Monday (14th) at 13:52, at which time she will begin exiting Taurus and (according to Moontracks) become VoC. She will then enter the next sign, Gemini, the next day Tuesday (15th) at 01:23. (Times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Taurus

Æterna ~  

Taurus Full Moon
“Spirits in the Material World”

   Æterna is a professional astrologer based in Italy, who also runs her own website Aeternalight Astrology “The Cosmic Path to a Conscious Life”, where she claims introspection and compassionate understanding as two of the major assets she brings to her astrology practice.

   For this full moon in Taurus, Æterna addresses the “very real concerns we have to deal with while walking our spiritual path.” Insightful and reflective, Æterna brings in an astrological perspective:

Now is the time to talk about Taurus, its organic, calming energy, its unapologetic affirmation of the importance of our bodily dimension. Its link with the basic conditions that allow us to survive and thrive, as spiritual beings, in a material world. Its rulership over everything we’re still allowed to care about even as spiritually minded people – financial self-sustenance, material goods. 

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest in taking a look at Æterna’s full article: Full Moon in Taurus – Spirits in the Material World. Because her style is both sensitive and pithy, you will want to set aside some quiet time to read and reflect on what she writes. 

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Molly Hall ~  

Super Full Moon in Taurus ~ Earthing Possibilities

   Molly Hall is resident astrologer at about.com, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from traditional interpretations of the positions of the stars and planets.

   For this super moon in Taurus, Molly says:

Deep longings surface, and desires are strong, [and] the chances for practical magic are high. That means shifting a situation at a deep level, or tapping soul wisdom for the answer to an everyday issue. Take time to settle into those deeply relaxed states that allow you to ally with the natural world, the Earth and its rhythms.

   Intriguing and practical at the same time. Additionally, Molly offers a forecast for Taurus in each of the twelve Houses. To get the full 4-1-1 on this full moon, check out Molly’s article “Taurus Full Moon ~ Earthing Possibilities“.

   In addition to her insights around full moons, Molly offers the following helpful articles:

   Also visit Molly’s front page for lots more interesting astrology.

Full Moon in Taurus

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: Bewildered with Science

   In this fifth installment of the Calvin and Hobbes series we began in July, Calvin is dismayed with the (non-)results of his horoscope’s predictions . . .

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FROM ME TO YOU

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

   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 all of us a month of inner calm and humor.

~ Moonlight to all,
Marty

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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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about 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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when 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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