Supersize My Moon

Furaha Kamili Mwezi!
(“Happy Full Moon” in Swahili)

Welcome to Issue 3 of Volume III of the Earth, Moon and Stars blog!
(Formerly the Full Moon Lore newsletter.)

Here’s a summary of what’s in Earth, Moon and Stars this month:

Feature: Supersized Moon
This month’s full Moon will appear to be the biggest and brightest in 18 years.
(See the “Skywatch” section for details.)

Full Moon Time
Saturday March 19:  8:10a HAST
Saturday March 19: 18:10 Coordinated Universal Time (UT)
Saturday March 19: 11:10a PDT, 12:10p MDT, 1:10p CDT, 2:10p EDT
Sunday    March 20:  2:10a PHT (Philippines)

Seasonal Calendar
The March Equinox will occur this Sunday, March 20, 23.21 UT (7:21 PM EDT)
Next New Moon: Sunday April 3, 15:32 UT 
Next Full Moon: Monday April 18, 03:44 UT
(See the “Seasonal Calendar” section for details.)

Traditional Names for the March Full Moon
Crow moon, Worm Moon, (and others).
(See the “Full Moon Names” section for details.)

Astrology and Folklore
Carola Eastwood on healing and adventure.
Molly Hall on finding order in chaos.
(See the “Astrology and Folklore” section for details.)

Next Month
Easter and Passover: Lunar calendar holidays.

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The March Equinox will occur on Sunday, March 20, 23.21 UT (7:21 PM EDT).

New Moon
The next New Moon will occur on: Sunday April 3, 15:32 UT 
4:32a (HAST), 7:32a (PDT), 8:32a (MDT), 9:32a (CDT), 10:32a (EDT)
10:32p (PHT)

Full Moon
The next Full Moon will occur on Monday April 18, 03:44 UT
Sunday April 17, 4:44p (HAST), 7:44p (PDT), 8:44p (MDT), 9:44p (CDT), 10:44p (EDT)
Monday April 18, 10:44a (PHT)

Earth Day
Equinoctial Earth Day will be observed on Sunday, March 20.
(More at Earthsite)
Traditional Earth Day will be observed in U.S. and other countries on Friday, April 22
(More at When Is Earth Day)

As temperatures begin to rise and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins; thus the Algonquin called this full moon the Worm Moon.

The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night.

Full Crow Moon (Cherokee Billie)

The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter. [Ref 3]

Even though Lenten Moon was a common English name, the March full moon doesn’t always occur during Lent, as it does this year. Native Americans including the Dakotah and Sioux tribes knew the March full moon as the Moon of Sore Eyes from Bright Snow.

Other March Full Moon Names:
Chinese – Sleepy Moon
Colonial American – Fish Moon
Cherokee Indian – Windy Moon
Choctaw Indian – Big Famine Moon
Neo Pagan – Death Moon
English Medieval – Chaste Moon
Celtic – Moon of Winds

Since the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is elliptical and not perfectly circular, its distance from us fluctuates on a somewhat irregular basis. This full moon will appear to be bigger (and therefore brighter) than it has in 18 years (since 1993). Though this supermoon will look 15 percent bigger and about 20 percent brighter than a regular full moon, the visual effect may be subtle, according to Anthony Cook, astronomical observer for the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

And while a supermoon may have some impact on seismic activity because of the stronger gravitational interaction between the moon, the sun, and Earth, there is no clear evidence that any of these phenomena influenced theJapan earthquake and tsunami on March 11. (Read more at: “Can the Moon Cause Earthquakes?“)

“The earthquake in Japan happened when the moon was close to its average distance to Earth—there was nothing extreme about its position or phase,” Cook said. “While some earthquakes seem to have tidal connections, this isn’t one of them.”

Well – the Moon itself isn’t changing in actual size. What’s changing is the way it appears to us when we observe its light from here on Earth.  (See following section “Moon Mechanics” for some technical details about this phenomenon.)

(Read more at: “Supermoon”: Biggest Full Moon in 18 Years”)

Here are some details explaining the “supermoon” phenomenon.

Full Moons vary in size because of the elliptical (or oval) shape of the Moon’s orbit. At its furthest point (the apogee) it is around 252,731miles away from us, but it is only around 226,426miles at its closest point (the perigee). So nearby perigee moons, like the one we will see tomorrow night, is around 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the moon’s orbit.

However, it will be difficult to detect the change once the moon is high in the sky as the human eye is unble to put it in context without any nearby objects to compare it to. Therefore the most impressive view of the moon will be seen when it is close to the horizon due to the ‘moon illusion’.  It appears larger as you will automatically compare it to the hills and houses nearby.

Magical moment: The best time to view the full moon is in early evening when you can compare it to Earth-bound features

Note that while the Moon periodically makes its “perigee” closest approach to us, this usually doesn’t happen when it’s also full.

Tomorrow night the Moon will be ‘just’ 221,567miles away. “The full Moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee – a near-perfect coincidence that happens only 18 years or so,” said Professor Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC.  (Read more at “Super moon spectacle“)

Here is a digest of what two well-established astrologers have to say about this month’s big and bright Full Moon. It is always interesting to me to see how independently arrived-at astrology views line up and/or complement each other. There’s always something there for me to think about. If you find what these astrologers have to say here interesting, you can find much more detail by following the reference links to their Web sites for their full articles.

Carola Eastwood
Full moon in Virgo suggests healing where needed

On March 19, we have a full moon in Virgo, opposite the sun in Pisces, and both forming a tense aspect that leads to a query about one’s purpose and path. Are you on-path? Are you following your own inner voice of wisdom? Are you being true to yourself? The extent to which you experience struggle and difficulties, or that you seem to flow with relative ease, is the measure of your ability to co-create in alignment with your Soul’s wisdom. To give you help in seeing what still needs to be addressed or healed, any issues remaining relative to how you are creating your life will be magnified and exaggerated at this full moon.

Spring Equinox & Sun in Aries promises adventure
The sun completes its transit of Pisces and enters the first sign of the zodiac, Aries, on March 20, inaugurating the Spring Season. Normally, the spring Equinox would give us a big push into action, but planetary energies will only support activities that are rooted in clear vision and purpose. The planet of communication, Mercury, turns retrograde (apparent backward motion) in Aries on March 30, granting us a three-week-long period of review in which to complete activities and communications from the past. Although vision remains high and enthusiasm is present, take your time to plan thoroughly for the new ventures to be created this Spring Season.. (Full article at Planetary Cycles.)
(Carola Eastwood provides in-depth personal astrology readings that open the doorway to fulfilling your life-purpose. (760-298-0918 ) Human Design for Us All)

Molly Hall – Finding Order in Chaos
Full Moon in Virgo: Finding the order in chaos; refinement of the daily routine; purification; health & wellness; sincere effort; the desire to live with purpose; a devotion to duty and service; bringing healing to the dis-eased; purifying what’s toxic.
This Full Moon illuminates: Ailments of the mind-body-spirit that need attention; the steps to technically mastering a skill; the search for the craft in an artform; detoxification of the body. (See Molly’s full article “This Full Moon in Virgo, 2011,” for a list of specific suggestions, plus a special note for 2011. )

Coming Next Month
Next month’s full moon determines (in a way) the dates for Easter and Passover. We’ll talk about how this works.  We’ll also take a look at Earth Day.

Here’s wishing you and yours a most beautiful beginning of Spring!
See you for the full Moon in April!

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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.


About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
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