April’s Full Pink Egg Moon

Happy April Full/Eclipsing Moon!

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

  Well, I almost wrote “April Fool” moon. However, I just looked it up, and we won’t have a full moon on April Fool’s day until 2026(!). I’ll get back to you on that then…

  Staying in the present here, the moon will become “exact” full Tuesday at 3:43 am ET, 12:43 am PT, 10:43 am Jerusalem, 3:43 pm Philippines, and Monday night at 9:43 pm Hawaii. Thus, for us folks here in North America she will look fullest all night Monday. You folks in the Middle East can choose between Monday night and Tuesday night, and you guys in the South Pacific and Asia, definitely Tuesday night. Buut…as you may have noticed in your previous moon gazes, she appears full both the night before and the night after exact fullness, so if you have clouds on one of those nights, you still have two other chances.

  The big deal this time is the total lunar eclipse Monday night/Tuesday morning! While total lunar eclipses aren’t as rare as total solar eclipses, they don’t come along that often, and even when they do, may not be visible where you are. For example, the last set of total lunar eclipses occurred in 2010/2011, but none of the three was visible in totality from the Western Hemisphere.  For most of North America, the eclipse this Monday night will be your best opportunity to observe a total lunar eclipse for many years to come. (See Skywatch below for details.)

In this issue:

      • Full Egg Moon
      • Seasonal Calendar
      • Skywatch ~ Eclipses, Blood Moon
      • Starwatch ~ Astronomy and Lore of the Zodiac ~ Aries and Leo
      • Moon Art – Robin Samiljan
      • Celebrations ~ Passover and Easter
      • Astrology ~ Reactions | Making friends with your shadow

MOON NAMES and MOON ART

April’s Full Egg 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.

    As with any month, the April full moon has been called many different names, with most in the northern hemisphere regarding it as the first full moon of spring. (You can see comprehensive name lists here and here.) Algonquin tribes in the north of what is now the United States referred to it variously as the Sprouting Grass Moon, Planter’s Moon, Pink Moon, and Fish Moon. The Cherokee were among the tribes who called it the Egg Moon or Goose Egg Moon, because geese and other birds lay their eggs at this time of year.

Full Egg Moon

Full Egg Moon (Cherokee Billie)

So much for the belief that the Moon is made of green cheese. . .

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SEASONAL CALENDAR

April’s full moon:                 Tuesday April 15 07:43 UT (3:43 am ET, 12:43 am PT)
.                                              Monday April 14 9:43 pm HAST
Total Eclipse of the Moon: Tuesday April 15 [see Skywatch, below, for details]
Passover                               Tuesday April 15 (observance begins sundown April 14)
Easter                                    Sunday April 20
April’s new moon:                Tuesday April 29 06:15 UT (2:15 am ET)
.                                              Monday April 28 11:15 pm PT
Eclipse of the Sun:               Tuesday April 29 [see Skywatch, below, for details]

(Note that this full moon will be accompanied by a total eclipse, visible throughout the Western Hemisphere. Total lunar eclipses don’t come along very often, so it’s kinda a big deal. Get your binoculars, telescopes and cameras ready.)   [ref: Moon Phases]

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SKYWATCH

Total Lunar Eclipse and Blood Moon – Monday night

  Though not as difficult to catch as a solar eclipse, a total eclipse of the moon does not occur very often, and when it does, there’s about a 50-50 chance that it will be visible where you are, even if the skies are clear.

Eclipse Times

Eclipse Times (EarthSky)

   The eclipse will begin late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, depending on where you are. Below are some representative times.

.                                       East Coast         West Coast           Hawaii
Partial Eclipse begins  Tue 1:59 am      Mon 10:59 pm    Mon 7:59 pm
Full Eclipse begins       Tue 3:08 am     Tue 12:08 am     Mon 9:08 pm
Maximum Eclipse        Tue 3:46 am     Tue 12:46 am     Mon 9:46 pm
Full Eclipse ends          Tue 4:23 am      Tue 1:23 am      Mon 10:23 pm
Partial Eclipse ends    Tue 5:32 am       Tue 2:32 am      Mon 11:32 pm

   You can look up times and visibility for your location here. Just plug in your location.
This eclipse and the next three lunar eclipses are all total eclipses, referred to as a “tetrad”. We will discuss more of the current, past, and future tetrads in upcoming posts.

Blood Moon

   A unique aspect of a total eclipse is the reddish/brownish color that the Moon reflects during the total phase. Of course, ancients had no scientific understanding of the reason for this color, and so invented many stories about it. In actuality, this reddish light is sunlight that – despite the Earth’s getting in the way – is filtered and refracted through our atmosphere, reaches the Moon, and is then reflected back to us.

Lunar Eclipse--Two Perspectives (EarthSky)

Lunar Eclipse–Two Perspectives (EarthSky)

   The photo at left was taken by Apollo astronauts while on the Moon during a total lunar eclipse. (Actually, since what you are looking at is Earth with the Sun behind it, from your perspective while on the Moon you would experience this as a total eclipse of the sun.)

   The image of the moon on the right was acquired by the Japanese lunar probe Kaguya during a 2009 total lunar eclipse.  Sunlight filtered through our atmosphere during an eclipse hits the Moon and is reflected back to us, resulting in shades that range from copper to deep red. (EarthSky)

   You can find out more about this and future lunar eclipses at space.com and NASA/science.

Solar Eclipse April 29

   In conjunction with this lunar eclipse, a non-central annular eclipse of the Sun will occur on the next new moon, April 29. However, you won’t be able to see it unless you are somehwere in South Asia, Australia, Antarctica, or the Pacific or Indian Oceans. Because the Moon’s shadow on the Earth is so small, solar eclipses are very fleeting, lasting only a few minutes at best. If you would like to learn more, visit this NASA page

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STARWATCH

The Astronomy and Lore of the Zodiac

  If you’ve been following this blog since last fall, you should be familiar by now with the basics of the zodiac. See the January post to brush up on the basics of the “astronomy behind the astrology”. Below is a diagram we’ve been using that you may find helpful in your visualizing.

   Briefly speaking, the astronomical zodiac consists of thirteen constellations that lie along the ecliptic. You may recall from discussion on this blog in previous months that the ecliptic is the annual path that the Sun seems to travel across the backdrop of the fixed stars.

Zodiac diagram

Astrological zodiac diagram

  Early astrologers idealized the ecliptic as a circle, divided it into twelve equal segments or “signs”, and gave each sign the name of the constellation it was near on the ecliptic. Today the signs and the constellations, while still having the same (or similar) names, do not correspond with each other in the sky. This is due to a number of unrelated phenomena. (See the January post for details.)

Constellation of the Month: Aries

  Aries (Latin for ram) is a mid-size Northern Hemisphere constellation. Even with its respectable area of 441 square degrees that ranks it 39th in size in the official IAU catalog of 88 constellations, it is still not very luminous, having only three stars that are considered to be bright.

First Point of Aries

First Point of Aries (space.com)

   Because of Earth’s precession that we described in January, the sun won’t actually enter Aries this year until April 19 and will continue to move through it until May 14. Obviously, this makes it impossible to observe at this time of year, as the sun is in the way. The best time to observe this constellation will be late November around 10 p.m. local time or late December around 8 p.m. local time. We will provide more details for observing Aries when we post about the full moon in December. (ref earthsky.org, space.com; Field Guide to the Night Sky, National Audubon Society)

Astrological Sign of the Month: Aries

    In Hellenistic astrology, the constellation of Aries is associated with the golden ram of Greek mythology that rescued Phrixos and Helle on orders from Hermes, taking them to the land of Colchis. Phrixos and Helle were the son and daughter of King Athamas and his first wife Nephele. The king’s second wife, Ino, was jealous and wished to kill his children. To accomplish this, she induced a famine in Boeotia, then falsified a message from the Oracle of Delphi that said Phrixos must be sacrificed to end the famine. Athamas was about to sacrifice his son atop Mount Laphystium when Aries, sent by Nephele, arrived. Helle fell off of Aries’s back in flight and drowned in the Dardanelles (which is also called the Hellespont in her honor). After arriving, Phrixos sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave the Fleece to Aeëtes of Colchis, who rewarded him with an engagement to his daughter Chalciope. Aeëtes hung its skin in a sacred place where it became known as the Golden Fleece and was guarded by a dragon. In a later myth, this Golden Fleece was stolen by Jason and the Argonauts. (And you thought we invented the soap opera…) You can read more of the mythology here in Wikipedia.

Aries the Ram

Aries the Ram (Daniel Eskridge)

   Not every culture sees a ram when they look at this constellation. The Chinese imagine twin inspectors, while stargazers in the Marshall Islands see a porpoise. Because the sun was in Aries when early astrologers defined the zodiac, it is the first sign in the tropical zodiac, occupying the span from 0 to 30 degrees. According to this zodiac, the sun transits Aries from March 20 to April 20. (space.comWikipedia)

   The zodiacal symbol for Aries (above) represents the horns of the ram.

Zodiac Constellation to View this Month: Leo the Lion

   The zodiac constellation easiest to see right now is Leo the Lion. (We’ll highlight this constellation and zodiac sign in our August issue.) 

Leo Constellation (Wikipedia)

Leo diagram (EarthSky)

Like any constellation, Leo is much easier to make out on a dark, moonless night. Luckily, Leo is one of easiest of the 13 constellations of the Zodiac to identify in the night sky. The most popular method of finding Leo is to look first for the Sickle – an asterism in the constellation that looks like a backwards question mark. Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, is the bottom star in the Sickle. See the EarthSky article on Leo for details on locating this constellation. (ref EarthSky.org

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MOON ART
April Full Pink Moon by Robin Samiljan

April Full Pink Moon by Robin Samiljan

     This beautiful watercolor is by Chicago artist Robin Samiljan from her collection
A Year of Moons“. Prints are available for purchase at Fine Art America

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CELEBRATIONS

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

Passover

  Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) is a major Jewish festival commemorating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as recorded in the Book of Exodus in the Torah (the Jewish bible).

  The Hebrew word pesach means “to pass over”. During Passover Jews take part in a ritual meal known as a seder, which incorporates the retelling of the story of the Exodus and of God’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt when the Angel of Death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites. Hag HaMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) and Yom HaBikkurim (Firstfruits) are both mentioned in Leviticus 23 as separate feasts; however, today Jews celebrate all three feasts as part of the eight-day observation of Passover.

  The Torah refers to this festival as Chag he-Aviv, or the Festival of Spring. The holiday also celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation after being freed by God from slavery in Egypt. Today Jews all over the world take this time to celebrate and thank God for being able to observe their religion freely. On a more spiritual level, many Jews make the holiday relevant to today by celebrating the freedom from the bondage of a worried and anxious mind that reliance on God provides.

Determination of the Start of Passover

  The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar (lunar/solar) calendar, used in modern times to determine when Jewish holidays occur (and for some other liturgical purposes). The Torah dictates that Passover is to begin at sundown on the evening before the 15th day of the month of Aviv/Abib (now called by its Babylonian name Nisan), which is the first month in the Hebrew calendar. Since each Hebrew month begins on a new moon, Passover always begins on the night of the full moon in Nisan. While this is usually the first full moon following the Spring equinox, it is sometimes the second one.

  The reasons for the “sometimes” are somewhat complex, since they relate to the age-old attempt to keep lunar calendars more or less in line with the seasons. Because the seasons are determined by the Earth’s journey around the Sun, and not in any way by the Moon’s revolution around us, attempts to reconcile solar calendars with lunar calendars have always been approximate at best.

  Whereas the Hebrew calendar was originally observational, based on a number of factors that were used to empirically determine when Spring had actually arrived (for example, when the barley had ripened), this practice ended back in 350 CE when Hillel II standardized the Hebrew calendar to be fixed by mathematical calculation.

Easter

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

   Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide, or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance.

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

Determination of the Date for Easter

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

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

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

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

   Unlike the Western Church, the Eastern Church sets the date of Easter according to the actual, astronomical full moon and the actual equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem, the site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Consequently, both churches only occasionally celebrate Easter on the same day, which is the case this year, 2014. In 2013 Western Easter was in March, while Eastern Easter was in May. In 2015 the two will be only a week apart.

The Connection Between Easter and Passover

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

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

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ASTROLOGY

Molly Hall ~ Libra Total Eclipse ~ Blood Moon

   This month Molly Hall writes about the Full Moon in Libra on her about.com astrology site and in this month’s article: Libra Total Eclipse ~ Blood Moon. Here is a synoptic condensation:

     Great powers of creativity and destruction are doing their thing.  How are you directing it? The Libra hot spot has to do with reactions, and how we know ourselves from how others see us.  Thinking of a Libra eclipse, some could have explosive encounters, break-ups or make-ups, taking a stand, or taking the alternate route.

Libra the Scales

   Molly has a lot more to tell us about this. For the complete read, see the above referenced/linked article, and also visit Molly’s front page for more astrology.)

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Emily Trinkaus ~ Virgo Magic: Liberation of the Goddess

Libra Full Moon, collage by Emily

Libra Full Moon (collage by Emily)

   Head priestess at virgo magic, Emily is based in Portland, OR, and works with astrology as a tool for healing, empowerment, personal growth and collective evolution. In addition, she and energy healer Katie Todd run the Full Moon Priestess website where they conduct monthly Full Moon Galactivation teleclasses for women. Here is an excerpt from Emily’s column for this full moon ~ Into the Shadow at the Libra Lunar Eclipse:

   There’s a lot of wild emotional energy flying around, a lot of uncertainty and chaos, many known and unknown unknowns. Eclipse Season serves as a portal into a new reality, which is all well and good, but when you’re IN the portal (like, now), it can be mighty uncomfortable and anxiety-producing. We’re in that awkward in-between stage, the old reality crumbling away while the new reality, the new self, doesn’t even know WTF it is, it’s not yet time to know.

   Eclipses ask you to make friends with the dark – the darkness of the mysterious, unknowable Great Mystery, the darkness of your own deep, yucky feelings now erupting to the surface. This is a time for invoking TRUST and COURAGE. Trusting the cycle of death and rebirth, trusting that there WILL be a rebirth, even if you’re currently stuck in the dark and the dying with no signs of new life. The courage to feel your intense feelings, shed another layer, and let go of what wants to end.

Full Moon in Libra

Full Moon in Libra

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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 May, here’s wishing you and yours a month of celebrating new life and finding your own center!

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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 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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About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
This entry was posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to April’s Full Pink Egg Moon

  1. M M says:

    Thanks for another informative issue! I especially like the graphics this month. I found the charts and diagrams very helpful in tracking the eclipse. The moon photos are outstanding.

    Daniel Eskridge’s art, Aries Zodiac Symbol, beautifully compliments your Astrological Sign of the Month text.

  2. marketing says:

    I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site.
    I am hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well.

    In truth, your creative writing abilities
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