October’s Kindly Moon

Happy Full Moon in Aries!

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

In this issue:

MOON NAMES

Hunter’s Moon

   Tonight’s full Moon is traditionally called the “Hunter’s Moon”… the full moon just following the Harvest Moon. North American hunters tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead. Writes NASA’s Tony Phillips: “You can picture them ~ silent figures padding through the forest, the Moon overhead, pale as a corpse, its cold light betraying the creatures of the wood.” By contrast, the Chinese called this the Kindly Moon. Well, I suppose if you were a hunter, you would think of the moonlight as helpful, and therefore kind. The betrayed prey animals might feel a bit differently. 

Hunters Moon by lchappell

Hunters Moon by lchappell at pxleyes

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MOON ART

October Hunter’s Moon [Cyndi Lavin]

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 The beautiful beaded embroidery you see here was created by Cyndi Lavin for her Bead Journal Project (a part of her Beading Arts Facebook page) where you can see all twelve of her Moon creations. Cyndi also has her own websites Mixed Media Artist, and Beading Arts, rich with examples of and information on beads, jewelry, and other art mediums.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR

October’s full moon:            Friday October 18 23:38 UT (7:38 pm ET, 4:38 pm PT)
U.S.Daylight Time Ends:   Sunday November 3 (2:00 am local time)
November’s new moon:     Sunday November 3 12:50 UT (7:50 am ET, 4:50 am PT)
November’s full moon:      Sunday November 17 15:16 UT (10:16 am ET, 7:16 am PT)
                                                                                                                 [Ref: Moon Phases]

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SKYWATCH

Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral lunar eclipse - 2012 (David Matthews)

Penumbral lunar eclipse – 2012 (David Matthews)

   Just as last May’s, the eclipse that will accompany this full moon will be almost a non-event, as it will be “penumbral”, meaning the Moon will fall inside only the outer, semi-lit band of Earth’s shadow. If you are in the eastern half of North America, you are well-placed to see this celestial event. More information here. Since such an eclipse is not readily discernible to the unaided eye, your best bet, if you’re interested, is to go to space.com and watch the feed there from the online  Slooh Space Camera. And as we said in May, get your binoculars, telescopes, and cameras ready and hang onto your hats, because next year (2014) will sport two total lunar eclipses (April and October), both visible from North America. So stay tuned! (Refs: space.com, weather.com)

Lunar Eclipse Diagram (space.com)

Lunar Eclipse Diagram (space.com)

ISON – The “Thanksgiving” Comet

    Well, I haven’t seen anyone else call it that, but ISON – discovered just a year ago by two Russian amateur astronomers – will be making its closest approach to the Sun on November 28, which is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. We’ll have more on ISON in next month’s blog. If you can’t wait, you can see a photo and read about its current status here.

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STARWATCH

New Series on the Astronomy of the Zodiac to Begin in the New Year

   Each month beginning in January, we will explore one of the constellations that inhabit the zodiac. You won’t have to understand any astronomy to enjoy it, but there will be a little bit for folks who are interested. For example, the astronomy behind the astrology for each month.  In preparation for this, we’ll be introducing a little basic astronomy each month, beginning this month. Taken a bite at a time, it’s fairly digestible, and will make your stargazing more interesting and fun. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get so excited you’ll go out and get your own telescope!

Constellations and Asterisms

   Most folks are familiar with the easily recognizable constellations, such as Orion and Cassiopeia. But did you know that the Big Dipper is not officially a constellation? It is an asterism ~ a star pattern that, in this case, is part of the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear).  Asterisms can be part of one or several constellations.

Ursa Major (Hudson Valley Geologist)

Big Dipper in Ursa Major (Hudson Valley Geologist)

   While each culture divides the part of the night sky that it can see into its own set of constellations, modern astronomy recognizes 88 constellations which, properly speaking, are not patterns of stars but areas of the sky. The ancient Sumerians, and later the Greeks, established most of the northern constellations in international use today. Since they couldn’t see any of the stars beyond their southern horizon, later explorers took it on themselves to map the stars of the southern skies. European and American astronomers then proposed new constellations for that region, as well as ones to fill gaps between the traditional constellations. Finally in 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted the modern list of 88 constellations, and now each constellation has precisely defined boundaries such that every point in the sky belongs to exactly one constellation.

Points of Light

   What are we seeing when we look up at the night sky? When we look up at a point of light in the night, it may have come from a planet, a comet, a star, a star system, or a distant galaxy. Magnified examination will reveal the unique characteristics of each, but to the unaided eye these differences are usually difficult to distinguish. Further, while two points of light may appear to be “next to” each other in our sky, they more often than not represent objects that are actually vast distances from each other.

Distances in Space

   While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about distance. Just as we use many different units to measure length and distance here on Earth, astronomers use a variety of units for measuring and descrbing the vast distances in space. The most common unit for measuring the distance between stars is the light year. While this may sound like a unit for measuring time, it is actually the distance that light travels through space in one year. One light year is approximately equivalent to ten trillion kilometers or about six trillion miles. The star nearest us (not counting the Sun) is Alpha Centauri (actually a cluster of three stars). It is 4.2 light years away.

Visualizing

   Astronomy requires the ability to visualize. Even looking at the Big Dipper requires your brain to “connect the dots” to make a picture out of them. Beyond actual star patterns, there are certain imaginary lines that astronomers use in order to talk about “where” celestial objects are located. Next month we’ll get a bit more into how astronomers use visualization to accomplish this.

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MOON POETRY

Defeated by Love

The sky was lit
by the splendor of the Moon
So powerful
I fell to the ground

Your love
has made me sure

I am ready to forsake
this worldly life
and surrender to the magnificence
of your Being

~Rumi

October Moon

October Moon

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MOON FOLKLORE 

THE CELTIC TREE CALENDAR

   The Celtic Tree Calendar consists of thirteen lunar divisions. Rather than follow the actual waxing and waning of the Moon, most contemporary Pagans use fixed dates for each “month” so as to stay in sync with the (solar) Gregorian calendar. The modern tree calendar is based on a concept that letters in the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet corresponded to various trees.

English ivy (David Beaulieu)

English Ivy (David Beaulieu)

   The Ivy is the tree – or plant, in this case – that is honored this month (September 30 to October 27), known to the Celts as Gort. Ivy often lives on after its host plant has died — a reminder to us that life goes on, in the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. This is a time to banish the negative from your life and place a barricade between you and the things that are toxic to you. (The above was excerpted from the about.com article “Celtic Tree Months.”) 

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ASTROLOGY

Molly HallWaxing Intensity
Here’s a brief excerpt from Molly Hall’s Full Moon Eclipse article this month at About.com:

   The lunar eclipse this full moon is in Aries, the sign of (sometimes foolhardy) fearlessness and creative vitality. In part, the lunar eclipse is known to be a time of exposure to the dark side — psychic disturbances or awakening to what’s been in shadow. Other aspects in play at the Full Moon make it one for secrets revealed that could be game-changers.

   This is a time for courage, especially for those of us in extreme transitions or sensing the call to act on what’s way out of balance. The bold fiery Aries Moon in its Full phase inflames an instinct to act. Meanwhile the Sun in air sign Libra shines a light on an ideal, something worth “fighting for”. Aries is also about initiating, and a bold step could tip your Scales from inert and fearful to inspired and on your way.

Birds in full moon

Birds in Moon

(For the complete read, see Molly’s articles Waxing Intensity and Eclipse Mania and her front page.)

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Dr. Michael Lennox ~ The Six Weeks Of Scorpio Act II

This month Dr. Michael gives us his read on the implications of this full moon and eclipse:

   This particular Full Moon is in Aries, the most fiery of the Fire Signs. As such, any ritual you do should include fire or fire-like expression. This can include literal fire. You can burn away all that doesn’t serve you by doing some writing and sacrificing what you create in the sacred flames. But fire can also be an expressive experience: Dancing or any spontaneous movement is a very Aries sort of construct. Aries also connects to a sense of freedom and abandon, so you can truly do whatever you are drawn to and have it feel sacred under this lunation.

(For the complete read, see Dr. Michael’s article The Six Weeks Of Scorpio Act II.)

Aries Moon (Eye of Horus)

Aries Moon (Eye of Horus)

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Kelley Rosano ~ Aries Full Moon is a Fiery Lunar Eclipse

Kelley Rosano is an astrologer and life coach who writes about astrology on her blog at kelleyrosano.com. Here is an excerpt from the above article:

   Aries is the first of the fire signs. It represents the birth of new life. New beginnings, inspiration, and Self-empowerment are the hallmarks of Aries. It teaches you to love yourself more than relying on a relationship. Before giving yourself to another, having a strong Self to offer is first and foremost. Aries teaches you to practice “healthy-selfishness.” Your Self-hood is cultivated and nourished in Aries. Wherever Aries lands in your natal birth chart is where you want to be spontaneous, passionate and original. The Aries eclipse could see you busy blazing new trails. “It is all about me!” sings and dances the Aries Full Moon.

See the full article on Kelley’s website at kelleyrosano.com.

Aries Moon (Brian Karczewski)

Moon in eclipse (Brian Karczewski)

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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 leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected.

Until the full moon in November, here’s wishing you and yours a month of courage and awakening!

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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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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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