September’s Mulberry Harvest Moon

Happy September Moon

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

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
   The moon will become full Friday, September 16, at 19:05 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 early evening at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest Friday night just about everywhere. Folks just east of the International Date Line (e.g. Midway Island, Hawaii, Bora Bora) will see about an equally full moon both Thursday and Friday nightsCheck Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

BLAH NON-ECLIPSE and INTERESTING 2017 ECLIPSES
   While some astrologers are ascribing great significance to it, the actual upcoming penumbral eclipse you may have heard/read about will not be worth doing anything about. We devote a few column-inches to it and what “penumbral” means. Then we explore much more interesting eclipses coming in 2017 in Skywatch.

FOLKLORE
   Squinting just right, we make out not one, but two Black Moons in a row! See Folklore for the skinny.

MOON NAMES
   Continuing the “berry” theme from last month, this time it’s the Mulberry Moon. But we can’t ignore that it’s also Harvest Moon time again.

   Check out Moon Names for the full story and some neat pics.
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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: Does the Moon’s orbit circle the Earth’s equator?

Click Moonmotion to see the somewhat unusual (by comparison) answer.

JUST SAYIN’
   In this next installment of my new personal opinion section Just Sayin’, I continue the theme of All of Us with another inspirational song, this one by Alicia Keys.

THE MOON IN ART and SONG
   Van Gogh painted his famous “Mulberry Tree” during the last year of his life. Check it out in our Moon Art section.
.   I actually found three songs about the Mulberry Moon. Although I doubt any of them will ever top any charts, still one of them may appeal to you. Also fun “Monkberry Moon Delight” by Paul and Linda McCartney. Click Mulberry Moon songs to jump to this section.

MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS
   The full moon determines the date of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and many other Asian countries.

ASTROLOGY
   New (to this blog) astrologers Æterna and Donna Greco offer us some deep emotional insights at this full moon in Pisces in Astrology. 

HUMOR
  In continuation of our new Humor section, Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) beseeches the moon to fulfill his agenda.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

Sept’s 1st new moon*      Thursday Sept 1 09:03 UT; 5:03 am EDT; 2:03 am PDT
.                                             Thursday Sept 1 12:03 pm IDT; 5:03 pm AWST/PHT;  7:03 pm AEST
.                                             Wednesday August 31 11:03 pm HAST
.                                             (*Depends on time zone. See “Folklore” next section for “Black Moon” details.)

September’s full moon    Friday Sept 16 19:05 UT; 9:05 am HAST; 12:05 pm PDT; 3:05 pm EDT; 10:05 pm IDT
.                                             Saturday Sept 17 3:05 am AWST/PHT; 5:05 am AEST

September Equinox         Thursday Sept 22 14:21 UT; 10:21 am EDT

Oct’s 1st new moon*       Saturday Oct 1 00:12 UT; 3:12 am IDT; 8:12 am AWST/PHT;  10:12 am AEST
Sept’s 2nd new moon*   Friday Sept 30 2:12 pm HAST; 5:12 pm PDT; 8:12 pm EDT
.   Black Moon?*              (*Depends on time zone. See “Folklore” next section for “Black Moon” details.)

October’s full moon       Sunday Oct 16 04:23 UT; 7:23 am IDT; 12:23 pm AWST/PHT;  3:23 pm ADST
.                                           Sunday Oct 16 12:23 am EDT
.                                           Saturday Oct 15 6:23 pm HAST; 9:23 pm PDT

Oct’s 2nd new moon     Sunday Oct 30 17:38 UT; 7:38 am HAST; 10:38 am PDT; 1:38 pm EDT
. Black Moon?*              Sunday Oct 30  7:38 pm IST
.                                         Monday Oct 31 1:38 am AWST/PHT; 4:38 am AEDT
.                                         (*See “Folklore” next section for “New Moon~Black Moon” details.)

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

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SKYWATCH

The Blah Eclipse You Won’t Be Able to See

    Okay – yes, this full moon will be eclipsed. No, it won’t be a total eclipse or even a partial one; it will be another “penumbral” eclipse, which means even if you were in the part of the world where the moon will be above the horizon when it happens, you probably wouldn’t be able to notice it happening.

   Where visible: Europe, parts of Asia, Australia, and eastern Africa. So to the Western Hemisphere, the moon won’t even be above the horizon during the eclipse. For a map, visibility search by city, and an enlightening animation, see TimeandDate’s page.

PENUMBRA
.   What’s “penumbral”? The umbra of a shadow is the dark part where all of the light from the light source (in this case, the Sun) is blocked. When the light source is spread out (that is, not a point source) like the Sun’s large round disk, if the occluding body (in this case, the Earth) is not in a direct line or large enough to block it, then it covers only part of the source and some (or much) of the light ends up getting past.

   The penumbra (from the Latin paene meaning “almost, nearly”) then, is the part of the shadow where only some of the source light is blocked. With much of the sun’s light still hitting and reflected by the Moon, you would not be able to discern anything happening unless you were staring for a long time and paying close attention. (ref: Wikipedia “Umbra” and “Total Penumbral Eclipse“)

Penumbra diagram Dirac Delta Consultants Ltd)

    The penumbra is the transition region between the darkest shadow and full brightness. Only part of the light from the source reaches this region. (ref: Dirac Delta Consultants Ltd.)

INTERESTING ECLIPSES COMING IN 2017

   2017 has some more interesting eclipse events in store. Here is a list of lunar and solar eclipses coming next year. (Clicking any of the headings will open TimeandDate’s page for that eclipse.)

Feb 10 / Feb 11 Lunar, Penumbral
Europe, much of Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica

Feb 26 Solar, Annular
South/West Africa, much of South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica

Aug 7 / Aug 8 Lunar, Partial
Much of Europe, much of Asia, Australia, Africa, East in South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica

Aug 21 Solar, Total
West in Europe, North/East Asia, North/West Africa, North America, North/West South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic

   I call your attention to the red highlighted text above ==> a total solar eclipse cutting a swath across the midsection of the United States!  People in this part of the world won’t have another chance coming even close to this until 2024. So click the link above, consult the map, and start making plans!
.                         (ref: TimeandDate “Solar and Lunar Eclipses Worldwide – Next 10 years“)

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FOLKLORE

Two “Black Moons”?

    Well, yes/no/depends. (Doncha just love waffle answers like that?!)

Fanciful Black Moon (Free-Spirited Mind)

Fanciful Black Moon (Free-Spirited Mind)

    As if keeping track of blue moons wasn’t enough, now black moons, too? Briefly, one of the more recent folkloric (chiefly Wiccan) traditions extrapolates from the current definition of a blue moon and defines a black moon as the second occurrence of a new moon in a calendar month

   Using this definition and consulting the Seasonal Calendar, above, you can see that if you are situated somewhere just west of Greenwich and east of Hawaii, you had a new moon on Sept 1 and will have another one on Sept 30. This second new moon will be a “black” moon by the above definition.

  But wait! There’s more! Folks who are anywhere Greenwich east to the International Date Line will have two new moons in October, so the new moon on October 30/31 will also be a black moon — and will fall on Halloween (for folks who observe it) from Bangkok’s time zone east to the Date Line.

   Wow! Two black moons back-to-back, and one of them on Halloween! That’s gotta be worth howling about! For background and more details on blue and black moons, check out our March 2014 issue.

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MOON NAMES

Mulberry (and) Harvest

    Many cultures in both hemispheres kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred and keyed –naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

   In previous Septembers we’ve covered a number of folk names this full moon is known by. While the various resources for moon names don’t always agree, I found two that list Mulberry as the Choctaw name for September’s moon. Good enough for me. (refs: Keith’s Moon Names and Everything Under the Moon.) See the Art and Song sections below for more things Mulberry.

   Of course it’s also the Harvest Moon. I couldn’t find any good pictures of a Mulberry Moon, so here’s another neat-o Harvest Moon creation:

September's Full Harvest Moon (Science Projects For Kids)

September’s Full Harvest Moon (Science Projects For Kids)

   For lots more good Harvest Moon facts ‘n pics, see my Sept 2013 and Sept 2015 back issues.

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CELESTIAL MECHANICS ~ MOON MOTION

 Equatorial Orbits

    Q: Does the Moon’s orbit circle the Earth’s equator?
    A: No. But it’s logical to think that it might.

Moon’s Orbit
.   The Moon circles the Earth in an elliptical orbit whose plane is much closer to the ecliptic (5° or so) than to Earth’s equatorial plane. This gives rise to the relatively frequent eclipses that we observe.

Moon's orbital tilt (NASA)

Moon’s orbital tilt (NASA)

   If the Moon’s orbit was not inclined at all to the ecliptic, we would be seeing eclipses every month. If, instead, the Moon circled the Earth’s equator, eclipses would be as rare as hen’s teeth. (Note that the word “ecliptic” came about because astronomers long ago noted that eclipses occurred only when the Moon crossed it.)

  Your intuition that the Moon circles the Earth’s equator would not be without reason: all fourteen of the other large “regular” moons in our Solar System circle their parent planet’s equator. Why do they and our Moon does not? It all has to do with how moons come to be in the first place.

ORIGIN OF SOLAR SYSTEM PLANETS and MOONS
.   First of all, let’s note that nobody knows the answers for sure ~ no one was around with a video camera when our Solar System formed some 4.6 billion years ago. All we have to go on are observations made from Earth-based telescopes, space telescopes in Earth orbit, spacecraft probe flybys, the geological record, and a few rock samples from the Moon and meteorites.

   The generally accepted theory is that the planets of our Solar System coalesced from a giant flat disk of dense gas and dust that was swirling around the newly formed Sun.

Protoplanetary disc

Protoplanetary disc

   The plane of this disk remains today the plane of the ecliptic: the plane that contains the orbits of most of the major bodies of the Solar System.

FORMATION OF MOONS
.   Moons around planets can come into being in a variety of ways. It is thought that the major moons in our Solar System coalesced from dust clouds swirling around their parent planet. This would explain their equatorial orbits.

4 Largest Jovian moons

The Four Largest Moons of Jupiter (Phys.org)

   Why, then, is Ms. Luna the exception? Theories abound. A lot of people like the “giant-impact” hypothesis that suggests a Mars-sized body hit Earth with a glancing blow, creating a large debris ring around Earth, which then accreted to form the Moon. But there is evidence that contradicts this theory.

Formation of the Moon (Buzzle)

Impact Theory of Formation of the Moon (Buzzle)

   That’s more than enough for now. If you find yourself fascinated by any of this, there is more reading about it that will keep you entranced for hours, if not days or weeks. Here are some Wikipedia articles you can begin with:
Orbit of the Moon    Origin of the Moon    Formation of the Solar System

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JUST SAYIN’

Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in July’s issue to offer a 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, 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 and August posts offered songs expressing this idea. This month I’ve continued this theme of inclusivity with Alicia Keys’ song “We Are Here (for all of us)”Click the photo to open the YouTube page where you can watch and listen to her singing it.

Alicia Keys “We Are Here”

   Excerpt from the chorus:

We are here for all of us
It’s why we are here

   A simple search reveals this talented and heart-centered young woman’s commanding presence on the Web, including a Facebook page, her own website, a Wikipedia article, and more.

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THE MOON IN ART

Van Gogh’s “The Mulberry Tree”

   I couldn’t very well do a mulberry-themed post without including Vincent van Gogh’s famous contribution. In doing this research I learned that he created his “Mulberry Tree” painting while residing in the Saint Paul Asylum in Saint-Remy, about a year before he would die. A tortured soul, painting his interpretation of what he saw around him was the grounding constant in his life. He told his brother that of all the works he did during this time, this painting was his favorite. It is among the most imitated of his works – by adults and children alike. For more details check out Van Gogh Gallery.

The Mulberry Tree (Vincent van Gogh)

The Mulberry Tree (Vincent van Gogh) (source: Wikipedia)

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THE MOON IN SONG

“Mulberry Moon” x3, plus “Monkberry” by McCartneys

   Surprisingly, I found three Mulberry Moon songs, each unique. Although none is outstanding, I list them here in case any of these styles appeals to you. Also a surprise by Paul and Linda McCartney.

   Mulberry Moon by The Shady Grove Band (1990) ~ two minutes of good (instrumental) downhome bluegrass.

   Mulberry Moon ~ a mournful(?) ballad by Andy Cook and the Wanderloons, a teen garage band. You will be on the edge of your seat wondering when the patient girl in the spotlight is going to play those twenty notes on her xylophone.

   Mulberry Moon ~ a laid-back jazz piece from Grayhawk Perkins Mezcal Jazz Unit’s Thirteen Moons album.

   Monkberry Moon Delight by Paul McCartney. In doing the research I came across this piece that Paul composed and published when he was in between The Beatles and Wings. While not exactly mulberry, still “monkberry” is close enough (and silly enough) that I thought you might enjoy watching and listening to Paul and Linda on the only album they made together.

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MOON-RELATED CELEBRATIONS

Asian Mid-Autumn Festival

   Celebration of the Mid-Autumn festival has a long history. Ancient emperors traditionally worshiped the Sun in spring, and the Moon in autumn, and celebrations continue to this day.  Along with the Spring Festival, the annual Mid-Autumn Festival ~ also called the Chinese Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival ~ is one of the most important annual festivals for the Chinese people and is an official holiday in many Asian countries. Perhaps most importantly, it is a day for family reunion.

Ancient Chinese Moon Worship

Ancient Chinese Moon Worship (China Travel)

   As we have noted in previous issues, the Chinese calendar is luni-solar, which means its months are determined by full or new moons, with an extra month added now and then to stay in sync with the seasons. Even though the official national holiday will occur on September 15 this year (according to the Western Gregorian calendar), celebrations are already underway. Check your local news feeds for celebrations in your area.  (refs: China Travel (history and legends), Little Day Out (Singapore), Wikipedia)

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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. You can find interesting VoC info and tables at Moontracks.

   Referencing the above tables, we find that Ms. Luna will enter the sign of Pisces on Thursday (15th) at 02:23, and will become VoC as she leaves Pisces on Friday (16th) at 19:05, the exact same moment that she becomes full. This is purely coincidental, but some astrologers may see some significance in it. She will enter the next sign, Aries, on Saturday (17th) at 04:22. (All above times are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Pisces

Æterna ~  

Pisces Full Moon
“The Fragile”

   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 Pisces, Æterna notes:

While there is nothing horrific per se about the upcoming Full Moon / Lunar Eclipse… it’s true that it will involve a confrontation with the unknown to some extent – the transcendental, fluid unknown of the Piscean realm.

   Because Æterna’s style is both sensitive and pithy, you will want to set aside some quiet time to reflect on and let what she writes soak in. For example, later on in her article she tells us this full moon is a chance for:

An encounter with our own vulnerability, amidst tidal waves of emotions that beg to be cleared, released.

   Worth it, IMHO, to give yourself the gift of taking in what Æterna offers in her installment for this full moon at Full Moon in Pisces – The Fragile.

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Donna Greco  

Pisces Full Moon Eclipse
“Emotional Illumination”

Recommended by a reader-friend, Donna Greco is a professional astrologer located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who runs her own website Cosmic Consultations. She also teaches piano and has a separate website devoted to this: Donna’s Piano Studio.

   For this full moon in Pisces, Donna has published a piece she called Emotional Illumination. In it she writes:

Pisces the Fish is beckoning us to dive deeply within our emotional life. What appears as pain, complexity and turbulence is serving to awaken us. This is a moon of deep and intricate emotional healing.

Feelings abound. In order to heal, we must feel. While intense emotion can seem overwhelming, it is paramount to find the time and space in which to feel and express our emotions, for this Moon is clearing out ancient emotional imagery which has only served to block us on our path to happiness and fulfillment.

   If this idea calls to you, I recommend visiting Donna’s installment for this full moon at Pisces Full Moon Eclipse “Emotional Illumination” for the full experience of the rest of the story.

Pisces Full Moon

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: The Moon Says So

   Continuing the Calvin and Hobbes series we began in July, Calvin is sure the moon will prevail. Hobbes . . . not so much. Here is the third in this series of six . . .

Calvin Implores the Moon

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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 (or disliked) 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 don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I now have a separate page 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 things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the full moon in October, here’s wishing all of us a month of compassion and surrender.
~ 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 our individual directly, but I like the wisdom, insight, 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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August’s BlackBerryCherry Full Moon

Happy August Full Moon

Welcome to Issue 8 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

CURRENT EVENTS and THE MOON

   I started something last month when I introduced an opinion section into this blog. Since then I’ve renamed the section from My Thoughts to Just Sayin’. I think that’s going to stick. I’m not trying to troll here, but it would be interesting if any of you readers wanted to join in a discussion on whatever topic(s) you see here that you’re interested in.  Take a look and see what you think. (See Just Sayin’ in last month’s issue for my intention for this section.) In this issue I have more about All of Us

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WHAT’S COOKIN’

FULLNESS
   The moon will become full Thursday, August 18, at 09:27 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 mid-morning at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear about equally full both Wednesday and Thursday nights to folks in Nuuk, Greenland (two hours ahead of New York) and most of Brazil, as they will be on the cusp. East of the cusp to the International Date Line will see a fuller moon on Thursday night; west of the cusp to the Date Line (including the U.S. and Canada) will see a fuller moon on Wednesday night – although if you are near the cusp meridian both nights she will appear about the same. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

Moon Over Tour Saint-Jacques, Paris (Pedro Jarque Krebs)

Full Moon Over Tour Saint-Jacques, Paris (Pedro Jarque Krebs)

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COOLING OFF
   For our Seasonings offering ~ a photo to feel a little cooler with.

MOON NAMES
   BlackBerryCherry sounded like a yummy combination. Check out Moon Names for some pictures and the story.

MOON MOTION QUIZ
   Continuing the journey we began last month, here’s the next step in my attempt to pique your interest in how our nearest sky neighbor shakes, rattles, and rolls. As noted last month, 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: Does the moon rise earlier or later on successive days/nights? And by how much?

Click Moonmotion to see the answers.

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 by that name.

MOON IN SONG
   I did find one song about the Blackberry Moon. Click song about the moon to jump to this section.

ASTROLOGY
   Molly Hall tells us there’s something wild in the air at this full moon in Aquarius. 

HUMOR
  In continuation of our new Humor section, Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) checks his horoscope.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

August’s full moon           Thursday August 18 09:27 UT; 5:27 am EDT; 2:27 am PDT
.                                             Thursday August 18 12:27 pm IDT; 5:27 pm AWST/PHT;  7:27 pm AEST
.                                             Wednesday August 17 11:27 pm HAST
September’s new moon   Thursday Sept 1 09:03 UT; 5:03 am EDT; 2:03 am PDT
.                                             Thursday Sept 1 12:03 pm IDT; 5:03 pm AWST/PHT;  7:03 pm AEST
.                                             Wednesday August 31 11:03 pm HAST
September’s full moon    Friday Sept 16 19:05 UT; 9:05 am HAST; 12:05 pm PDT; 3:05 pm EDT; 10:05 pm IDT
.                                             Saturday Sept 17 3:05 am AWST/PHT; 5:05 am AEST
September Equinox          Thursday Sept 22 14:21 UT; 10:21 am EDT (covered in next issue)
.                                             Check out Moon Giant to see Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone.

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ANOTHER SEASON

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

    Don’t know if this will work for you, but in the midst of sweltering, just looking at a photo like this helps me feel a little cooler.

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MOON NAMES

Black Berries and Cherries

    Many cultures in both hemispheres kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred and keyed –naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

 The August moon is known by a wide variety of names, and we’ve covered quite a few in previous years. With still many to explore, I went to my favorite source for Native American moon names: Western Washington University’s American Indian Moons.

   There I discovered that the Northern Plains Assiniboine called the August moon “capasapsaba” meaning “black cherries”, while the Sioux said August was when “cherries turn black” and the Wishram (Columbia River, Washington, Oregon) called this full moon the “blackberry patches moon.” Well, that was enough for me, so BlackBerryCherry it is!

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MOON MOTION

 Moonrise Times

    Q: Does the moon rise earlier or later on successive days/nights? And by how much?

   A: Moonrise (also moonset) is anywhere from a half hour to an hour later each successive day/night. This is because Ms. Luna drifts in her orbit around Earth from our west to east (counter-clockwise if you were in space above Earth’s North Pole looking down). This is the same direction Earth is rotating, so we have to spin another hour or so to find her again the next day.

  Okay – I can hear some of you saying, “But wait! Doesn’t the moon travel from east to west? I mean, I see it rise in the east and travel across the sky and set in the west. What’s going on here?”

  Certainly this can be confusing at first . . . until you take a breath and ponder it calmly. The “apparent motion” we observe between moonrise and moonset is due to the spin or rotation of the Earth, which also makes the sun and stars appear to rise and set. Ms. Luna’s incremental rise-time tardiness is due to her real motion in orbit around us. (If her orbit were clockwise, or east-to-west, we would see her rise a bit earlier each successive day.)

Observe Moon Motion Against the Stars
.   One way to see this motion is to observe where the moon is on successive nights with respect to the background of fixed stars. (I put that in italics, because the stars ~ even though they themselves are ripping along at breakneck speeds ~ are so distant from us that they appear fixed.)

   Here’s a simple diagram that illustrates where the moon was on two successive nights this past May with respect to the (fixed) star Spica.

Moon and Spica (EarthSky)

Moon Motion With Respect to Spica (EarthSky)

   I added that note to EarthSky’s diagram above because the diameter of the moon as shown is too large for the distance moved in 24 hours. The image of the moon as we view it from Earth subtends an angle of about 1/2 degree of arc. (Think of the sky as a dome that is half a globe ~ 180 degrees from horizon to horizon.) Since she moves about 12 degrees in 24 hours, approximately speaking, twelve degrees for 30 days is 360 degrees. So in 24 hours she moves about 24 diameters.

Observe Moon Motion Against a Fixed Earth Object
.   Another way of reckoning this motion is to observe and plot it against an object fixed to the Earth. It’s the same “fixed reference point” idea, but now it’s something local to you. 
If you want to have a little fun — and perhaps help a child learn this experientially — you can try the project my seventh grade science teacher Mr. Cook assigned us. (Anyone reading this remember John Cook at Central School?)

   Over a period of, say, three to five evenings, preferably during the week before a full moon, go outside where you have an unobstructed view of the sky, but with some reference point (such as a tree or a building) that you can plot the moon’s position against. Now at the same time every evening illustrate on a large piece of poster board where you see the moon with respect to this fixed reference point, and what shape it is.

Moon Over Tree Hole (© Ron Storey)

Moon Over Tree Hole Ron Storey)

   The keys to the above exercise, of course, are (1)that landmark and (2)the same-time viewing. (This is necessary, of course, because now that fixed reference object is whirling around on the same platform you’re standing on.)

   What we all saw when we finished our projects was the moon drifting eastward by many times its apparent diameter each successive evening . . . and getting fuller each night, too. Let me know if you do try this experiment, and what your results were.

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JUST SAYIN’

Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   Remember last month when I put (??) after “Happy”? Those ?-marks were reflecting the widespread outlook that we can’t be ~ or won’t allow ourselves to be ~ happy while people are being inhumane to each other. In this mindset it feels we are being disloyal to and abandoning the innocent victims if we allow ourselves to feel anything good. (See Just Sayin’ in last month’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

   As I said last month, I believe the moon (among others) offers the healing/uniting perspective that we’re all equal passengers on this bright blue marble. I’ve rounded up at least four songs on this theme, and for openers last month I chose the oldie: “The Moon Belongs to Everyone ~ The Best Things In Life Are Free“.

   This month I feature another song with this theme of inclusivity: “(God Belongs to) All of Us” by San Diego singer/songwriter Karl Anthony. Click the photo to open the YouTube page where you can listen to it.

“All of Us” by Karl Anthony (karlanthony.com)

   Here is the chorus:

Halle-halle-hallelujah
Namaste
Om and Amen
Praise Allah
Shalom . . .
God belongs to all of us
All of us

   Karl has his own website at www.karlanthony.com where you can listen to some of his other songs.

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THE MOON IN SONG

“The Blackberry Moon” by Rogue Valley

   Songs about the Blackberry Moon were scarce, at least in my search. This one’s somewhat melancholy, but it does capture what we can sometimes feel under Ms. Luna’s influence.  Click on the photo to open the YouTube page where you can listen to it.

The Blackberry Moon by Rogue Valley

The Blackberry Moon (by Rogue Valley)

Here’s one of the stanzas:

My father used to bring me
In the waning summer days
When the vines were heavy with blackberries
We’d fill the buckets over
Let ’em spill on the trail
Until the sun set low
And the moon would prevail

    If you’re interested in the lyrics, you can see the complete set here.

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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 transitioning 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. You can find interesting VoC info and tables at Moontracks.

   Referencing the above tables, we find that Ms. Luna began leaving Capricorn and became VoC Monday (15th) at 7:45 pm. She will then enter Aquarius Tuesday (16th) at 4:52 am and remain in Aquarius until Thursday (18th) at 2:26 am, when she will again become VoC until 9:34 that night, when she will enter Pisces.

   Note that she will become technically full at 2:27 am, one minute after becoming VoC. I also note that while this is significant to some technical astrologers, Molly (see article, below) does not pull VoC into her readings. If/when I find an astrologer I like who does, I will add them. (All above times in PDT.)

Full moon in Aquarius

Molly Hall ~  

Aquarius Full Moon
Out of the Blue

   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. Molly tells us this Aquarius full moon …has a buzz that others don’t have. That’s because something is in the air — something wild! She goes on to say:

Aquarius is an edge walker, puling energies from sources out of this world. (…) Aquarius rides in on different currents, to break with what’s established. There’s a mystery to the fusion of Aquarius, so that it earns the rep of triggering quantum jumps — these are dramatic changes, when something clicks, a leap of progress.

   Well, void of course or not, Ms. Luna is going to be full for a couple of days, and I can certainly use a leap of progress! If that’s singing your tune, too, check out all the details ~ including forecasts for each House ~ at Molly’s article Aquarius Full Moon in Houses
Out of the Blue.”

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

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

Aquarius full moon

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HUMOR

Calvin and Hobbes: Mom vs. the Moon

   Continuing the Calvin and Hobbes series we began last month, in which Calvin embraces his horoscope in an attempt to get his way. Here is the second in this series of six . . .

Calvin Embraces His Horoscope

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FROM ME TO YOU

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

   If you especially liked (or disliked) 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 don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I now have a separate page 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 things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the full moon in September, here’s wishing all of us a month of wild buzz and dramatic changes!
~ 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

Special Edition ~ Perseid Meteor Shower Imminent

Big Meteor Shower Expected Thursday~Friday-Saturday

SKYWATCH

The Famous Perseid Meteor Showers ~ Now Through Aug 23

  I added an abbreviated Perseid Skywatch section to my July issue two days after it was published, so if you were an “early viewer”, you probably didn’t see it. Below is the expanded version – with an update from Friday down below.

   “Shooting stars” or “falling stars” (in español lluvia de estrellas “rain of stars”) the Perseids are arguably the favorite of the Northern Hemisphere meteor-watching set, both because they can put on quite a show and because it’s “summertime and the viewin’ is easy”. The show this year promises to be more spectacular than usual because the pros say they’ll be in “outburst” mode ~ the last time being 2009.  They are thus expected to appear at twice their typical rate at their peak Thursday night/Friday morning.

Meteor Shower (composite)

   Space.com quotes NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke: “This year, instead of seeing about 80 Perseids per hour, the rate could top 150 and even approach 200 meteors per hour.” According to my calculator, that’s 2 1/2 to 3 per minute, or approximately one every 18 to 24 seconds.

   Will it look like the above picture? No ~ that photo is a composite of frames taken over an hour or so. Each individual streak in the sky will look more like this:

Perseid meteor 2015 (eltiempo.es)

Perseid meteor 2015 (eltiempo.es)

  There’s no sound accompanying them, so it’s an entirely different experience than watching/hearing earthbound fireworks. If you’re moved by the silent spectacularness of nature, then this would be for you.

Where and how
.   A dark sky ~ any place away from city lights where you can see most of the open sky ~ the darker the better. (Of course, a clear sky without clouds is the best, but even with scattered clouds you can still see a lot.) A lawn chair that you can tilt way back or lie flat on, or a blanket on the ground are your best setup. You won’t need binoculars; they would in fact get in the way.

   Here is a diagram showing where to aim your head. Although meteors can streak just about anywhere, the radiant or apparent source of all Perseids is from the top of the constellation Perseus.

Perseid radiant location

Perseid radiant location (Sky & Telescope)

   I like this diagram because it locates Perseus in relation to Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia is one of the most conspicuous constellations right now because of her bright stars that sit in the shape of a recognizable “W”.

When
.   Although Earth entered the outer edge of Comet Swift-Tuttle’s orbital path (and thus its debris trail that is the source of the Perseid meteors) on July 17, their frequency is increasing now, with computer models predicting the main show in the wee hours before dawn on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (11, 12, and 13), with the expected outburst beginning Thursday evening and running into Friday morning.  
If you’re a graphy kind of person, here is a chart of predicted Perseid performance:

Perseids predicted ZHR (2016) [NASA]

Predicted Perseids ZHR (2016) [Bill Cooke NASA]

   Note that the ZHR (zenithal hourly rate ) (quoting now from the U.K.’s Telegraph website) “…is a normalised quantity based on how many meteors you’d see under perfect conditions watching the whole sky with the radiant directly above your head. The true visual rate will be lower and you can expect to see anywhere between 20-50 meteors per hour around Perseid maximum.” Note that while the rate drops precipitously after Aug 12, the show will continue in a less dramatic way all the way to Aug 23. So if you’re out before dawn on any of these warm summer nights, there’s natural entertainment awaiting you.

    So there you have it. Because of the space mechanics involved (the leading side of Earth “scoops up” these tiny grains of sand as it passes through the comet’s debris trail), your best bet is in the window from around midnight until dawn wherever you are, although people have been reporting sightings as early as 10 pm. And this year, though the moon will not exactly be cooperating to her fullest (as she will be waxing gibbous), she will be setting around midnight to 2 a.m. this week, so not a show-stopper. (You can check mooonrise and moonset times where you are by going to Time and Date and plugging in your location.)

  If you’re still with us and interested in more details, good sites are space.com,  EarthSky, Sky&Telescope, and this Washington Post article. Or just search for “Perseids”.

   Happy viewing!

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   [Update Friday 12 Aug]
.   I stayed out until 3am this morning and was rather disappointed. I went out to a hill near me where I had a view of the entire dome of the sky. In an hour’s span I saw just three bright streaks and two dim ones. Nice, but not the flurry I was expecting. Here are some mediating factors that affected my viewing and may be of interest to you.

   Transparency and darkness:  Most of the meteors are of the faint type, as they are produced by the smaller grains of sand that constitute the bulk of the comet’s debris trail. To see these, you must have access to a completely clear and dark sky, not compromised by city lights or moonlight. Additionally, you need to give yourself about 20 minutes to accustom your eyes to the dark.
.  In my case this morning there were a few spotty thin clouds and, while I wasn’t surrounded by city lights, there was a city area below me only about a mile away. So even though the sky dome above me looked black, it wasn’t the deep black of the clear, dark sky I recall from the desert the last time I went Perseid hunting.
.  So how can you tell how dark and clear your sky is? The best way is to judge by the density of stars you can see. Here is a good visual comparison, courtesy of the L.A. Times:

Dark sky comparisons (LA Times)

Dark sky comparisons (L.A. Times)

    What I had was the “Suburban sky”. That means I could make out prominent star formations, such as Cassiopeia, but it wasn’t dark enough to allow fainter stars to be visible. Thus I probably was missing a bunch of fainter meteors. I was treated to three fiery streaks, so that was cool! I may look again tomorrow if I get myself up early enough before dawn.

   I hope you got to see some! We’ll track meteor showers in the future and let you know about any promising ones.

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    Thanks for taking a look at this special edition of EM&S.

   Full moon Wednesday/Thursday next week.  Check back for our August full moon issue, coming out early next week. Or sign up to follow us and receive an email notice from WordPress for each “moonthly” issue.

   ~Marty (a.k.a. Aquarianman)

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Archive List

Here is a (clickable) list of all the Earth Moon and Stars titles I’ve posted since I began this blog in Jan 2011. The order is from newest to oldest — the same as the Archives date listing on right side column.

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July’s Three Sisters Moon

Happy(??) July Full Moon

Welcome to Issue 7 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE

[New navigation help: To make getting around easier, we’ve implemented active “page jumps” ~ links that allow you to click and jump to any desired section within this page . . . and then back to here at the top if you want to. Have fun!]

CURRENT EVENTS and THE MOON

  Why the (??) with Happy? While this isn’t the first time in human history that a large number of people have become unhappy, upset and agitated, it’s in our face now, and that’s what matters because now is all we have.

   Of the many reasons I write about the Moon, my original and still primary reason is to call people’s attention — even if for just a moment — to something that is both bigger than all of us and also represents something that is common to all of us, and therefore potentially uniting. It’s this all of us aspect that feels important to me — especially right now — if we as a species are ever to live in peace with each other — or even survive.

  With this in mind, I decided to add an opinion section to this blog that I’m calling My Thoughts. Maybe not every issue . . . we’ll see. In this issue it’s about All of Us. I’m not going to leap into the fray of politics or social unrest in this blog — there’s more than enough of that available elsewhere. What I am going to focus on are attitudes and actions ~ contemplated or being taken today ~ that have the potential to affect life on Earth over the longer term — many generations ahead, as some wiser cultures have done . . . and do.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’

  OK – I admit it . . . I made up “Three Sisters Moon” for this month’s name. I explain all in Moon Names.

FULLNESS
   The moon will become full Tuesday, July 19, at 22:57 UT, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for clarification about UT-Universal Time.)

  Because technical fullness will occur this time close to midnight at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Tuesday night most everywhere on Earth. Not to stress, though, if you have clouds that night ~ she will appear to be full on both Monday and Wednesday nights, as well. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   I derived Three Sisters Moon from a couple of Native American traditional names. The whole story in Moon Names.

STARWATCH
   There actually is a star grouping that some peoples call the Three Sisters. Can you guess what this (rather famous) set of three stars is? Click down to Starwatch for the answer.

SKYWATCH
   The famous Perseid meteor showers return, peaking on August 12! Check Skywatch for details.

MOON MOTION QUIZ
   We’re going to see if we can get a little more awareness of how our nearest sky neighbor shakes, rattles, and rolls. As the details of this rather large subject can become complex, we’re going to approach it in small, simple steps. Here’s the beginner’s question for this month:
.              Q: From what direction does the moon rise? And in what direction does it set?
See Moonmotion for the answer.

JUST SAYIN’
   In this debut of my new personal opinion section Just Sayin’, I embrace the theme of All of Us with an appropriate song — the first in a series that I will be featuring in succeeding issues.

MOON IN SONG
   Playing off the Three Sisters theme, I chose a song about the moon by a famous sisters quartet ~ who in this instance numbered three. (Can you guess who they might be from this hint?)

ASTROLOGY
   Molly Hall offers some timely insight for this full moon in Capricorn. 

HUMOR
  In our new Humor section, Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) checks his horoscope.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

July’s full moon             Tuesday July 19 22:57 UT; 6:57 pm EDT; 3:57 pm PDT; 12:57 pm HAST
.                                          Wednesday July 20 1:57 am IDT; 6:57 am AWST/PHT;  8:57 am AEST
August’s new moon      Tuesday August 2 20:44 UT; 11:44 pm IDT;
.                                          Tuesday August 2 4:44 pm EDT; 1:44 pm PDT; 10:44 am HAST
.                                          Wednesday August 3 4:44 am AWST/PHT; 6:44 am AEST
August’s full moon        Thursday August 18 09:27 UT; 5:27 am EDT; 2:27 am PDT
.                                          Thursday August 18 12:27 pm IDT; 5:27 pm AWST/PHT;  7:27 pm AEST
.                                          Wednesday August 17 11:27 pm HAST

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

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MOON NAMES

Three Sisters Moon

    Many cultures in both hemispheres kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred and keyed –naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

 The full moon in July is known by a wide variety of names. In past July’s I’ve featured Thunder MoonHorse Moon, Mead MoonPeaches Moon, and Hay Moon — with a wealth more still to discover. Even so, I’m starting to take more license in picking names for full moons. This month I’m calling it the Three Sisters Moon.

   I didn’t come up with this name out of thin air. The Cherokee on the East Coast of what is now the United States called the July moon kuyegwona, meaning “ripe corn moon“.

Har-Selu, Corn Mother, Goddess of the Harvest

Har-Selu, Corn Mother, Goddess of the Harvest (Steven Tyler)

   I found the above photo-art by steventylerrocks on RunTimeDNA. The caption there reads as follows:

“Selu is the Cherokee name for the Corn Mother who is worshiped by nearly all Native American tribes. She is called by many names but almost all literally translate to “Corn Mother” “Corn Maiden” or “Corn Woman.” often the name the Corn Mother Goddess is known by is used as the common word for ‘corn’ as well. Selu is the Goddess of the Harvest of course, but also wisdom, magic, hunting and various other domains.” 

      All very interesting news to me.

  Then I discovered (at American Indian Moons) that some of the Algonquin (northeastern U.S. to the Great Lakes) knew this moon as matterllawaw kesos, meaning “squash are ripe“.

Squash under Full Moon (HerbMentor)

Squash Under Full Moon (HerbMentor)

   Hmmm. Corn and squash. You may know that indigenous peoples on the North American continent (and possibly elsewhere, too) figured out long ago that planting corn, squash, and beans together helped all three grow better. They called them the Three Sisters because they got along so well. This was an early development of what we now call symbiotic gardening or companion planting. I have yet to find a full moon named after any kind of bean, but as my dad used to say: two outta three ain’t bad.

   The idea that three sisters can not only get along together but actually benefit each other through their companionship, is also emblematic of the All of Us theme in this month’s My Thoughts section.

   Here’s a diagram of a three sisters planting, and a photo of a maturing three sisters garden.

Three Sisters planting diagram

Three Sisters planting diagram

 

Three Sisters Garden

Three Sisters Garden

   Annd … a bowl of a three sisters soup — one of my favorites:

Three Sisters soup

Three Sisters soup

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STARWATCH

Three Sisters in the Stars

  When you think of three stars together, what comes to mind?

   Of course ~ it’s Orion . . . one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. The three stars we’re talking about are the bright diagonal set that make up Orion’s belt. While this trio of stars is known by various names in different cultures, Afrikaans speakers in South Africa refer to this asterism as Drie Susters (Three Sisters) [Wikipedia].

   In case you were wondering, an asterism is a named pattern of stars that’s not one of the 88 officially recognized modern constellations. It may be part of an official constellation or it may be composed of stars from more than one constellation. [See Wikipedia “Asterism” for more.]

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SKYWATCH

The Famous Perseid Meteor Showers ~ Now Through Aug 23

  I added an abbreviated Perseid Skywatch section to this issue two days after it was published, so if you were an “early viewer”, you probably didn’t see it. Below is the expanded version – with an update from Friday down below.

   “Shooting stars” or “falling stars” (in español lluvia de estrellas “rain of stars”) the Perseids are arguably the favorite of the Northern Hemisphere meteor-watching set, both because they can put on quite a show and because it’s “summertime and the viewin’ is easy”. The show this year promises to be more spectacular than usual because the pros say they’ll be in “outburst” mode ~ the last time being 2009.  They are thus expected to appear at twice their typical rate at their peak Thursday night/Friday morning.

Meteor Shower (composite)

   Space.com quotes NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke: “This year, instead of seeing about 80 Perseids per hour, the rate could top 150 and even approach 200 meteors per hour.” According to my calculator, that’s 2 1/2 to 3 per minute, or approximately one every 18 to 24 seconds.

   Will it look like the above picture? No ~ that photo is a composite of frames taken over an hour or so. Each individual streak in the sky will look more like this:

Perseid meteor 2015 (eltiempo.es)

Perseid meteor 2015 (eltiempo.es)

  There’s no sound accompanying them, so it’s an entirely different experience than watching/hearing earthbound fireworks. If you’re moved by the silent spectacularness of nature, then this would be for you.

Where and how
.   A dark sky ~ any place away from city lights where you can see most of the open sky ~ the darker the better. (Of course, a clear sky without clouds is the best, but even with scattered clouds you can still see a lot.) A lawn chair that you can tilt way back or lie flat on, or a blanket on the ground are your best setup. You won’t need binoculars; they would in fact get in the way.

   Here is a diagram showing where to aim your head. Although meteors can streak just about anywhere, the radiant or apparent source of all Perseids is from the top of the constellation Perseus.

Perseid radiant location

Perseid radiant location (Sky & Telescope)

   I like this diagram because it locates Perseus in relation to Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia is one of the most conspicuous constellations right now because of her bright stars that sit in the shape of a recognizable “W”.

When
.   Although Earth entered the outer edge of Comet Swift-Tuttle’s orbital path (and thus its debris trail that is the source of the Perseid meteors) on July 17, their frequency is increasing now, with computer models predicting the main show in the wee hours before dawn on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (11, 12, and 13), with the expected outburst beginning Thursday evening and running into Friday morning.  
If you’re a graphy kind of person, here is a chart of predicted Perseid performance:

Perseids predicted ZHR (2016) [NASA]

Predicted Perseids ZHR (2016) [Bill Cooke NASA]

   Note that the ZHR (zenithal hourly rate ) (quoting now from the U.K.’s Telegraph website) “…is a normalised quantity based on how many meteors you’d see under perfect conditions watching the whole sky with the radiant directly above your head. The true visual rate will be lower and you can expect to see anywhere between 20-50 meteors per hour around Perseid maximum.” Note that while the rate drops precipitously after Aug 12, the show will continue in a less dramatic way all the way to Aug 23. So if you’re out before dawn on any of these warm summer nights, there’s natural entertainment awaiting you.

    So there you have it. Because of the space mechanics involved (the leading side of Earth “scoops up” these tiny grains of sand as it passes through the comet’s debris trail), your best bet is in the window from around midnight until dawn wherever you are, although people have been reporting sightings as early as 10 pm. And this year, though the moon will not exactly be cooperating to her fullest (as she will be waxing gibbous), she will be setting around midnight to 2 a.m. this week, so not a show-stopper. (You can check mooonrise and moonset times where you are by going to Time and Date and plugging in your location.)

  If you’re still with us and interested in more details, good sites are space.com,  EarthSky, Sky&Telescope, and this Washington Post article. Or just search for “Perseids”.

   Happy viewing!

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   [Update Friday 12 Aug]
.   I stayed out until 3am this morning and was rather disappointed. I went out to a hill near me where I had a view of the entire dome of the sky. In an hour’s span I saw just three bright streaks and two dim ones. Nice, but not the flurry I was expecting. Here are some mediating factors that affected my viewing and may be of interest to you.

   Transparency and darkness:  Most of the meteors are of the faint type, as they are produced by the smaller grains of sand that constitute the bulk of the comet’s debris trail. To see these, you must have access to a completely clear and dark sky, not compromised by city lights or moonlight. Additionally, you need to give yourself about 20 minutes to accustom your eyes to the dark.
.   In my case this morning there were a few spotty thin clouds and, while I wasn’t surrounded by city lights, there was a city area below me only about a mile away. So even though the sky dome above me looked black, it wasn’t the deep black of the clear, dark sky I recall from the desert the last time I went Perseid hunting.
.  
So how can you tell how dark and clear your sky is? The best way is to judge by the density of stars you can see. Here is a good visual comparison, courtesy of the L.A. Times:

Dark sky comparisons (LA Times)

Dark sky comparisons (L.A. Times)

   What I had was the “Suburban sky”. That means I could make out prominent star formations, such as Cassiopeia, but it wasn’t dark enough to allow fainter stars to be visible. Thus I probably was missing a bunch of fainter meteors. I was treated to three fiery streaks, so that was cool! I may look again tomorrow if I get myself up early enough before dawn.

   I hope you got to see some! We’ll track meteor showers in the future and let you know about any promising ones.

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MOON MOTION

 Moonrise and Moonset

   Quiz answer: So where do you look to see the moon rise and set? If you said “east” and “west” (respectively), you would get points, but not an ‘A’; as with most things astronomy-wise, it’s not quite that simple.

   The moon rises from an easterly direction for the same reason the sun does: the spin of Earth on its axis has us all twirling toward the east, so it is on the eastern horizon that objects in the sky appear first, and the western horizon where they disappear.

   Similar to the sun’s apparent motion, the position of moonrise varies with the seasons, due of course to the tilt of Earth’s axis. Complicating this, though, is the Moon’s orbiting around Earth. Thus moonrise varies from northeast to east to southeast, and moonset varies from southwest to west to northwest – – as do sunrise and sunset, but on a more rapidly changing cycle. Below is a more complete tabulation of these directions, courtesy of Cornell Astronomy’s Curious Team

Season Postion of Moonrise/set
 Phase> NEW 1st FULL 3rd
Winter Southeast/Southwest East/West Northeast/Northwest East/West
Spring East/West Northeast/Northwest East/West Southeast/Southwest
Summer Northeast/Northwest East/West Southeast/Southwest East/West
Autumn East/West Southeast/Southwest East/West Northeast/Northwest

   Note that the amount of variation will depend on viewing latitude. Also note that these directions are for the Northern Hemisphere; in the Southern Hemisphere the north-south directions are inverted.

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JUST SAYIN’

All of Us

   Perhaps sounding a bit political, but not really, as politics usually involves taking sides, and I believe that taking sides only contributes to and prolongs the pain of deep wounds we all carry from a very long past of “us vs. them”, like a multi-generation family feud that no one can remember the origin of. Every human on Earth feels this pain in one form or another. Fighting about it will never make the pain go away.

   To me, anything that is unifying helps us see we are all passengers in the same boat, and thus helps open compassion ~ for ourselves and for each other. That’s not so easy to see while we’re looking down at our own feet, but if we look up ~ or look down from way above ~ the perspective changes. The Moon and stars offer such a perspective. 

   I knew I wanted to feature a song about this here. My challenge became that I now have four songs all on this theme . . . and probably more coming. So I’m going to present one at a time in a series over subsequent months. Hopefully one of them will grab you. Of course, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment!

   This time I chose an oldie:

“The Moon Belongs to Everyone ~ The Best Things In Life Are Free

   I found a recording on YouTube of Ol’ Blue Eyes singing this song on a radio show, but apparently never pressed into a record. Click on the photo to be taken to the YouTube page where you can hear it.

Frank Sinatra "The Best Things"

Frank Sinatra “The Best Things”

   I guess it’s pretty obvious why I chose this song this time. Here’s the first stanza:

The moon belongs to everyone
The best things in life are free
The stars belong to everyone
They gleam there for you and me

You can see the complete lyrics on this songlyrics page.

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THE MOON IN SONG

A Moon Song by Three Sisters

   Rounding out our Three Sisters theme, I looked for a song about the moon sung by a sister trio. There weren’t as many as I had hoped, and of the ones I did find most were not exactly uplifting. But I lucked out and found the Lennon Sisters on an old Lawrence Welk show. Do you remember them? I remember all four of them when they were quite young and just starting out back in 1955. Luckily for this search I found three of them singing “Moon River”, so that counts as Three Sisters, yes? Click on the photo to watch and hear a YouTube clip of their performance on The Lawrence Welk Show in 1965.

'Moon River' Lennon Sisters

‘Moon River’ by the Lennon Sisters

   Audrey Hepburn made “Moon River” famous when she introduced it to the world in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). With music by Henry Mancini and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, it won both Academy and Grammy awards. Subsequently covered by many other artists, Andy Williams adopted it as the theme song for his TV show [Wikipedia]. Click on the poster below to see a clip from the movie with Audrey singing this song.

If you’re interested in the lyrics, you can see them here.

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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 Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is moving 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. You can find interesting VoC info and tables at Moontracks.

   Referencing the above tables, we find that Ms. Luna will be VoC Sunday from early morning until mid-afternoon, when she then enters Capricorn. She will remain in Capricorn until she reaches the moment of technical fullness on Tuesday (see Moon Dates and Times, above, for times in some representative time zones) and right then will begin leaving Capricorn, remaining void until 11:10 pm Tuesday night when she will enter Aquarius, remaining there until Thursday night. (Times here in EDT.)

Full Moon in Capricorn

Molly Hall ~  

Capricorn Full Moon in the Houses
Earthed Changes — Which Life Sphere?

   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. Molly tells us this Capricorn full moon focuses us on Earthly Power and illuminates:

Survival themes, wisdom of experience, strong roots and traditions, spiritual ambition and wise actions. A key is finding traction, a weight for the feet, from the awareness of practical realities — without being dragged down by it to a point of inertia.

   Hopefully that gives you the flavor of Molly’s post for this moon. For more details ~ including forecasts for each House ~ click through to “Capricorn Full Moon in the Houses”

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

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

Capricorn Full Moon

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HUMOR

Wondering About Astrology

   Friend Ken, a dyed-in-the-cashmere fan of Calvin and Hobbes, let me know about a series of cartoons by Bill Watterson that poke fun at astrology.  While Ken didn’t come right out and dare me, he did make it plain that he didn’t think I would be of mind to post any of them here.

  Well, I like a laugh as much as the next guy, so here we go, Ken. There are six in this series – I’ll publish one each month for the rest of this year.

Calvin and Hobbes on Astrology

Calvin Decides to Believe in Astrology

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FROM ME TO YOU

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

   If you especially liked (or disliked) 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.

   Note that I now have a separate page 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 things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

   Until the full moon in August, here’s wishing all of us a month of wisdom and realizing big dreams!
~ Light 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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June’s Strawberry Solstice Full Moon

Happy June Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 6 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE

   I’d be delighted if you were to leave a comment (down at the bottom), letting me know what you like or dislike, or if you have any questions or requests. I’ll keep your comment private if you so request.

WHAT’S COOKIN’

   Oh, here we go again . . . not a “strawberry solstice”. It’s just that it’s Strawberry Moon time again, and we have the relatively rare concurrence of a full moon on the same day as the solstice. Details below . . .

FULLNESS
   The moon will become full Monday, June 20, at 11:02 UT, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See Seasonal Calendar in my December 2014 issue for clarification about UT-Universal Time.)

  Because fullness will occur this time close to noon at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Monday night in Atlantic time zones east to the International Date Line. People on the eastern seaboard of the United States (Eastern time) will be on the cusp and will see approximately equal fullness both Sunday and Monday nights. Central time zone west to the Date Line will see closer to fullness on Sunday night. As we like to point out here, she will appear to be full on the nights before and after fullness, too. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   The Native American Algonquin tribes named the June full moon the Strawberry Moon. See Moon Names for details.

CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS
   It’s a relatively rare coincidence that the moon will become full on the same date as the June solstice. Read about the solstice and this coincidence in Seasonings.

CELEBRATIONS
   The Summer Solstice is celebrated at this time of year in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. See Celebrations for details.

ASTROLOGY
   Molly Hall offers us some timely insight for this full moon in Sagittarius. See Astrology for details.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

June’s full moon             Monday June 20 11:02 UT; 7:02 am EDT; 4:02 am PDT; 1:02 am HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 2:02 pm IDT; 7:02 pm AWST/PHT;  9:02 pm AEST
June solstice                    Monday June 20 22:35 UT; 6:34 pm EDT; 3:35 pm PDT; 12:35 pm HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 12:35 am IDT; 6:35 am AWST/PHT;  8:35 am AEST
July’s new moon            Monday July 4 11:01 UT; 2:01 pm IDT; 7:01 pm AWST/PHT; 9:01 pm AEST
.                                           Monday July 4 1:01 am HAST;  4:01 am PDT; 7:01 am EDT
July’s full moon             Tuesday July 19 22:57 UT; 6:57 pm EDT; 3:57 pm PDT; 12:57 pm HAST
.                                          Wednesday July 20 1:57 am IDT; 6:57 am AWST/PHT;  8:57 am AEST

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

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MOON NAMES

“Strawberry” Moon

    Many cultures in both hemispheres kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred and keyed –naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

Strawberry moon

Strawberry moon

    Because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June, the Algonquin tribes in what is now the northeastern United States and Canada, called the June full moon Ode’ imini-Giizis in Ojibwe, which translates to Strawberry Moon. The Europeans, by contrast, called it the Rose Moon. (ref: Farmers Almanac; Ojibwe)

   (I couldn’t find proper attribution for the “MJ” in the above creation. If you know who the artist is, please leave a comment, below.) 

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SEASONINGS

June Solstice Coincides with Full Moon

  Monday (20th — see exact times above) will mark the June solstice (summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) — the time when the sun “stops” in its (apparent) movement northward and then begins moving south. (Remember – solstice means “sun standing still”.)

   This phenomenon occurs when Earth in its orbit has the north end of its axis pointing at the Sun. Well, not directly at the Sun, but not pointing to the left or right.  Since a picture is worth at least a few hundred words, here’s one of the clearest diagrams I’ve come across:

Seasons at a glance (astrowright)

Seasons at a glance (astrowright)

     In addition to being clear and uncluttered, this diagram includes labels for the seasons in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The position of the Earth on the right is where we will be on June 20th: the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Hopefully it’s clear from this diagram that the seasons are a result of the tilt of the Earth, and not because of any variation in our distance from the Sun.

Coincidental Timing

   The fact that the moon will be full on the same day as the solstice is purely coincidental; the motions of the Moon and Earth that determine the moment of fullness are not significantly coupled with the motions of the Earth that determine the moment of solstice.

   This will be the Northern Hemisphere’s first summer solstice full moon since 1967. Keeping in mind that “same date” involves using a time and date reckoning system invented by people, the full moon and June solstice won’t fall on the same calendar date again until June 21, 2062. (See this EarthSky article for more details.)

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SUN-RELATED CELEBRATIONS

 JUNE SOLSTICE

   Sol + stice comes from the Latin for “sun” + “to stand still.” On this day (actually at this one instant) in the Northern Hemisphere, because of the Earth’s continuing trip around the Sun, the sun reaches its most northerly – and thus highest – point in the sky for the year, and then begins a slow descent toward the south. (Looking from the Southern Hemisphere, this most northerly point in the sky is the sun’s lowest.)

   As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere experiences this in June, while the Southern Hemisphere has its longest summer day in December.

Early Celebrations, June Weddings, and Honeymoon

   This first day of summer has for centuries been celebrated by civilizations the world over. The English called it Midsummer or St. John’s Day. Wiccans call it Litha. The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.

   Perhaps the most enduring of modern ties with the Summer Solstice derives from the Druids’ celebration of the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”, resulting in the present day belief of a “lucky” wedding in June.

   Today, the day is still celebrated around the world – most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

Stonehenge ~ June 21, 2015 (abc.net.au)

Stonehenge ~ June 21, 2015 (abc.net.au)

   Pagans called the Midsummer moon the “Honey Moon” for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice. You can read more details at Chiff.com. Also check out TimeandDate‘s very informative article Traditions and Holidays Around the June Solstice.

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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. She entered Sagittarius on Saturday and will remain there until less than an hour after technical fullness on Monday. She will then move into Capricorn, remain there until Wednesday, and then begin moving into Aquarius.

   You may recall that the Moon was already in Sagittarius when she was full last month, and she will be in Sagittarius again when she becomes full this month (aside from the fact that she will move out of Sagit only 53 minutes later). This doubling down occurs approximately every two to three years, though taking turns in different zodiac signs. A double occurrence in the same sign may take 20 to 30 years to repeat; the last double Sagittarius was in 1997. Most astrologers consider such events as either stretching out or amplifying their effects . . . depending, of course, on her location in the sign, the positions of planets, etc. 

Moon Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is moving 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. You can find interesting VoC info and tables at Moontracks.  

Sagittarius Full Moon

Molly Hall ~  

Second Sagittarius Full Moon this Season

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at about.com, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from the positions of the stars and planets. Molly considers this second full moon in a row in Sagittarius a bright note that coincides with the Summer Solstice:

   In this perilous sea of delusion and overwrought emotion, Sagittarius makes a beeline for the fiery trail that’s true.  This is a fire sign of action, and sometimes Full Moons are active, as opposed to New Moons. With all the mutable shifting, things could happen fast, and jettison you down an unexpected pathway.

   Hopefully that gives you the flavor of Molly’s post for this moon. For all the juicy details, click through to “Sagittarius Full Moon ~ June 20th”

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

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

Sagittarius Full Moon

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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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   If you especially like (or dislike) something you see 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. 

   Until the full moon in July, here’s wishing all of us a month of celebration and sightings of our new big pictures!

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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 appearing on it. Copyrighted images remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when known. If there is an image 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 image in question and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

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

May’s Blue Frog Full Moon

Happy May Full Moon!

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

IN THIS ISSUE

   I’d be delighted if you were to leave a comment (down at the bottom), letting me know what you like or dislike, or if you have any questions or requests. I’ll keep your comment private if you so request.

WHAT’S COOKIN’

   No, silly . . . not a blue frog. It’s the “Frog Moon” and will also be a “blue moon”. Check out the details, below . . .

FULLNESS
   The moon will become full Saturday, May 21, at 21:15 UT, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (Sunday morning from the eastern Mediterranean east to the International Date Line.) (See Seasonal Calendar in my December 2014 issue for clarification about UT-Universal Time.)

 Because fullness will occur this time a few hours before midnight at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Saturday night almost everywhere on Earth, although – as we like to point out here – she will appear to be full on both Friday and Sunday nights, too. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   The Native American Cree named the May full moon the Frog Moon, because this is the time that frogs become active in the Northern Plains and Canada. See Moon Names for details.

CELESTIAL EVENTS
   A real “true blue moon” – real in the sense that it is an astronomical event. Also, Mars brightest in 10 years, and Jupiter and Saturn show off. See Celestial Events for details.

CELEBRATIONS
   The Buddhist celebration of Wesak is observed in many countries this full moon. See Celebrations for details.

THE MOON IN SONG
   I tried to find a frog and the moon in the same song. The closest I was able to get was Ernie from Sesame Street singing “I’d Like to Visit the Moon”. Cute! See The Moon in Song for details.

ASTROLOGY
 Molly Hall offers us some timely insight for this full moon in Sagittarius. See Astrology for details.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

May’s full moon               Saturday May 21 21:15 UT; 5:15 pm EDT; 2:15 pm PDT; 11:15 am HAST
.                                            Sunday May 22 12:15 am IDT; 5:15 am AWST/PHT;  7:15 am AEST
June’s new moon            Sunday June 5 02:59 UT; 5:59 am IDT; 10:59 am AWST/PHT; 12:59 pm AEST
..                                          Saturday June 4 4:59 pm HAST;  7:59 pm PDT; 10:59 pm EDT
June’s full moon             Monday June 20 11:02 UT; 7:02 am EDT; 4:02 am PDT; 1:02 am HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 2:02 pm IDT; 7:02 pm AWST/PHT;  9:02 pm AEST
June solstice                    Monday June 20 22:34 UT; 6:34 pm EDT; 3:34 pm PDT; 12:34 pm HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 12:34 am IDT; 6:34 am AWST/PHT;  8:34 am AEST

[ref: Moon Phases]

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MOON NAMES

“Frog” Moon

The Lovers (Phil Wolstenholme)

   I decided to feature the “Frog Moon” again — as I did in my May post three years ago — this time inspired by the plethora of these little amphibians in the area I’m living in now.  I heard the small frogs start up their mating croaks in the nearby marshes in March. And now the big bull frogs are bellowing at the little lake I jog around every evening.

  Whereas there is usually general agreement among the various Native American traditions as to which month a particular moon name is associated with, there doesn’t seem to be such concurrence for “Frog Moon”. According to Western Washington University’s American Indian Moons, the Omaha of the Central Plains called the March moon “little frog moon”, the Assiniboine of the Northern Plains called the April moon “frog moon”, while the Cree gave this moniker to the May moon, because this is the time that frogs become active in the Northern Plains and Canada.

   While some of this disparity can of course be attributed to the attempt to overlay the months of our solar calendar on the completely independent movements of Ms. Luna, I think we also have to take into account how far north or south a particular tribe lived. Considering that the Cree people did and do live in the Northern Plains and Canada, it’s probably too cold there for the little Anura to consider breeding before May.

Frogs as Bioindicators

Frog Species (Wikipedia)

Frog Species (Wikipedia)

   Whether you think of frogs as cute little creatures, slimy noise-makers, or poisonous threats, it turns out they are one of our best “canaries in the coal mine” when it comes to showing us the health of our environment. They are particularly sensitive to imbalances in the ecosystem — with populations now declining worldwide at unprecedented rates. You can find out more at Save the Frogs! and EcoHearth.

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CELESTIAL EVENTS

TRUE BLUE MOON

   This full moon will be a “true” blue moon, true in the sense that it will be the third of four full moons in this season – fulfilling the original definition of “blue moon”, being an actual astronomical event. Nothing unusual to see – just a name that people made up. There can be only one of this type of blue moon in any calendar year, and there will be only three more of this type in the next seven years: 2019, 2021, and 2024. We dissected and discussed Blue Moons at length in previous posts. For some fun and to delve into this more deeply, click on over to my August 2013 and July 2015 posts.
(ref: Time and Date’s “What Is a Blue Moon?“)

NEIGHBORING PLANETS

   Mars Bright in Opposition and Perigee | Jupiter and Saturn Also Glowing

Opposition

  “Opposition” describes when the Earth is in line between two celestial objects; that is, the two objects are on opposite sides of the Earth. Mars comes into opposition (with the Sun) approximately once every two years (because Earth’s orbit is smaller and faster). “Perigee” means “closest to Earth”. Near the time of opposition, Mars also reaches perigee, as you can see in this simplified diagram. This makes the Red Planet appear particularly bright.

Mars Oppositions

Mars Oppositions (CBC News)

   On Sunday (May 22) the Red Planet will come into opposition again. We say our Moon is “full” when it is in opposition, so we could say we will be witnessing a “full Mars” (although nobody calls it that). This opposition will be its brightest in over ten years, rivaling Jupiter (though very evidently redder).  It will be even closer and brighter in 2018, but why wait?!

   Being in opposition, Mars will rise at sunset, peaking in the sky around midnight. Since it doesn’t move that quickly, you will be able to observe bright Mars for many days before and after opposition. While you will be able to spot it with your naked eyes, a pair of good binoculars will make an even bigger impression. For more details, see Brightest Mars in 10 Years by EarthSky, and Mars at Perigee from In-the-Sky.

Night Sky May 22 (EarthSky)

Night Sky May 22 (EarthSky)

   Accompanying Ares (Greek name for Mars) in the night sky, you will also be able to see Jupiter and Saturn glowing brightly. See May 2016 Guide to the 5 Bright Planets by EarthSky for more details.

Perigee

   Perigee will occur on May 30.  Quoting from “Mars at Perigee” on In-The-Sky.org: “Although every opposition of Mars is associated with a perigee, the two events typically occur a few days apart owing to the significant ellipticity of Mars’s orbit.”

   Quoting from NASA: “In 2016, the planet Mars will appear brightest from May 18 to June 3.” Here is a diagram from NASA’s “Mars In Our Night Sky“:

Mars-Sky-Viewing-May 2016

Mars Sky Viewing May 2016 (NASA

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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.

The Colors of Sri Lanka! (by PS Harshendra)

The Colors of Sri Lanka! (PS Harshendra)

   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 Wesak Festival Global Meditation.

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THE MOON IN SONG

“I’d Like to Visit the Moon”

Ernie I Don't Wan't to Live on the Moon

Ernie “I Don’t Wan’t to Live on the Moon”

   I tried to find a frog and the moon in the same song. I was thinking Kermit from Sesame Street, but the closest I was able to get was Ernie singing “I’d Like to Visit the Moon”. Cute! Here is the first stanza:

Well I’d like to visit the moon,
On a rocket ship high in the air.
Yes, I’d like to visit the moon,
But I don’t think I’d like to live there.

[See the complete lyrics here.]

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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. She will enter Scorpio on Thursday and then Sagittarius on Saturday (less than 3 hours before technical fullness), and will remain there until Monday, when she will begin moving into Capricorn.

Moon Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is moving 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. You can find interesting VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley’s.  

Sagittarius Full Moon

Molly Hall ~  

Sagittarius Full Moon ~ “Retro Arrows”

Tree arrow (Colin Anderson / Getty Images)

Tree arrow (Colin Anderson)

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at about.com, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from the positions of the stars and planets.For this full moon, Molly takes into account Luna’s position in Sagittarius and the various planets in retrograde to tell us about the bright and sunny outlook available to us:

   Bright and sunny Sagittarius is a cure-all for those times when it feels like the walls are closing in. It’s jovial bounce in the habitual rhythm of the everyday. It’s possible to…have an exhilarating breakthrough.

   A Sagittarius Full moon is one for illuminating visions … [and]…break through stifling conditioning. In the days leading up to the Full Moon and after, entertain possibilities that give you that tingle inside, the zing of optimism.

   Hopefully that gives you the flavor of Molly’s post for this moon. For all the juicy details, click through to “Sagittarius Full Moon ~ Retro Arrows”

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

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

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Farewell to Emily Trinkaus ~ 

   For five years beginning in 2010, Emily was head priestess at Virgo Magic, based in Portland, OR. This past December Emily announced she decided to re-focus her time and attention to other endeavors. She will still continue with energy healer Katie Todd running the Full Moon Priestess website where they conduct monthly Full Moon Galactivation teleclasses for women.

   We have soo appreciated the heart and warmth you have given to Virgo Magic, Emily, and your permission to feature you here. We wish you well in your endeavors. If you, reader, would like to know more about Emily’s evolvement, visit her Virgo Magic website, where she offers a beautiful farewell and an exposition of her plans going forward.

Sagittarius Full Moon

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 Molly and Emily 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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   If you especially like (or dislike) something you see 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. 

   Until the full moon in June, here’s wishing all of us a month of blooming and exhilaration!

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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 appearing on it. Copyrighted images remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when known. If there is an image 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 image in question and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

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