October’s Full Eclipsing Blood | Hunter’s Moon

Happy October Eclipsing Full Moon!

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

   The moon became “exact” full Oct 8 (Wednesday) at 10:51 Universal Time; correspondingly earlier in time zones west of Greenwich, and later in time zones to the east. If you’re in the Western Hemisphere, your best bet to see fullness will be Tuesday night; Eastern Hemisphere: Wednesday night. See Seasonal Calendar below for times in some representative time zones.

Full moon in Aries

Full moon in Aries

   Annnd – as promised  last April – we will be treated to the second of four total lunar eclipses in the current tetrad. By tetrad is meant that these four total eclipses (beginning this past April and every six full moons following) are consecutive, i.e. not interrupted by any partial eclipses. A lot of hay is being made out of this fact – some of it more fanciful than the rest. We’ll get into that before the next one in April 2015. (If you’re itching and you just can’t wait, you can check out the lunar eclipse info page at eclipsewise.com.) See Skywatch below for more eclipse info, including the partial solar eclipse two weeks after the lunar eclipse.

Lunar Eclipse I (by Robin Samiljan)

Lunar Eclipse I (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.

In this issue:

      • Moon Names ~ Hunter’s Moon | Blood Moon
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Skywatch ~ Lunar Eclipse and Blood Moon
      • Starwatch ~ Astronomy and Lore of the Zodiac ~ [Libra and Aquarius]
      • Moon Art – “Hunter’s Moon” by Robin Samiljan 
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Aries: The courage to live your True Self

MOON NAMES

October’s Hunter’s or Blood Moon (take your pick)

     As you know (especially if you’ve been following this blog), 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.

Hunter’s Moon
.   This full moon was traditionally called the “Hunter’s Moon”… the full moon just following the Harvest Moon … because North American hunters, stockpiling food for the coming winter, tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight.

Hunter's Full Moon

Hunter’s Full Moon

   Robin Samiljan – our resident artist for this year – took this theme for her October installment in her “A Year of Moons“ series. You can see her beautiful watercolor take on Hunter’s Moon, below in the Moon Art section.

Blood Moon
.   An alternative name for this full moon, the Blood Moon moniker has two interesting and unrelated origins. The more obvious and better known derives from the moon’s color during any total eclipse 
(see Blood Moon, below).

   A less well-known meaning was given during medieval times by practitioners of pagan traditions. To them the October moon marked the season when domestic animals were sacrificed for winter provisions — similar to the derivation of Hunter’s Moon, above. (ref Ancient Ways)

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SEASONAL CALENDAR

October’s full moon:       Wednesday October 8 10:51 UT; 1:51 pm IDT; 6:51 pm PHT
.                                           6:51 am ET; 3:51 am PT; 12:51 am HAST
Total Lunar Eclipse:       Wednesday October 8 [see Skywatch, below, for details]
October’s new moon:      Thurs Oct 23 21:57 UT; 5:57 pm ET; 2:57 pm PT; 11:57 am HAST
.                                            Friday October 24 12:57 am IDT; 5:57 am PHT
Partial Solar Eclipse:       Thursday October 23 [see Skywatch, below, for details]
Daylight Time Ends:        Sunday Nov 2 (most of North America and Carribbean)
November’s full moon:    Thurs Nov 6 22:23 UT; 5:23 pm ET; 2:23 pm PT; 12:23 pm HAST
.                                             Friday November 7 12:23 am IDT; 6:23 am PHT

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SKYWATCH

Total Lunar Eclipse and Blood Moon – Wednesday morning

  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 only about a 50-50 chance that it will be above the horizon where you are. So take advantage of this rather rare opportunity if you can.

Total Lunar Eclipse – Oct 7-8 (eclipsewise.com)

   The eclipse will begin late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, depending on where you are.  It will occur during the early morning hours of October 8 and will be visible from much of North and South America, the Pacific Ocean and Australia. Observers in western North America, Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand and eastern Australia will be able to see the entire event. Central and eastern North America will see the beginning stages of the eclipse before moonset while eastern Asia and western Australia will be able to witness the later stages after moonrise. (EclipseWise)

   You can find times for where you are at this page on EarthSky, and tons more information at this page on EclipseWise.

Blood Moon

   A unique aspect of any total lunar 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)  And check out this NASA video for great eclipse shots and helpful explanations of the colors, and this BBC page for a time-lapse of the eclipse plus some cool photos.

Solar Eclipse Thursday October 23

   In conjunction with this lunar eclipse, a very deep partial eclipse of the Sun will occur on the next new moon, October 23. It will be observable from the north Pacific and most of North America. To see start, maximum, and end times where you are, click on this TimeandDate link and plug in your location. An animation approximating your view will also be presented. Because the Moon’s shadow projected onto the Earth is so small in diameter, the maximum of any solar eclipse lasts only a few minutes at best, so prepare well in advance. For lots more technical information, visit this EclipseWise page.

   >>>NOTE: While it is completely safe to observe an eclipse of the moon with your naked eyes, it is NOT SAFE to stare directly at an eclipsed sun — even during a total eclipse. For safe ways of observing this upcoming partial solar eclipse, check out this informative Sky and Telescope article “How to Watch a Partial Solar Eclipse Safely“.<<<

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STARWATCH

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 visualizing the zodiac.

   Briefly speaking, the astronomical zodiac consists of thirteen constellations that lie along the ecliptic. (“Thirteen?” you say? “I always heard there were twelve.” Well, this has to do with the difference between the astronomical and astrological zodiacs, which we touched on in the January post. We will explore it more in future posts.)

   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. (The name ecliptic derives from the fact that lunar and solar eclipses can occur only when the moon crosses it.)

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 (at the time). 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: Libra

   Libra “the Scales” is the zodiac constellation featured this month, because this is the time that the sun is considered to be in this Western (or tropical) astrological sign.

Libra (Urania'sMirror)

Libra (Urania’s Mirror)

   Libra lies in the southern sky and follows Virgo the Maiden on the Zodiac. While none of its stars are bright, during the early summer you can find Libra fairly easily in a dark sky using two bright stars, Spica and Antares, as guides to find Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, which mark Libra’s place in the heavens. (See my June post this year for details on finding and viewing Libra.) 

Libra star diagram

Libra star diagram

Libra Astronomy

   Libra ranks 29th in size among the 88 constellations cataloged by the IAU, occupying 538 square degrees on the dome of the sky. It lives in the third quadrant of the southern hemisphere (SQ3), and is observable from +65° N latitude (Sweden and the Canadian Yukon) all the way to the South Pole. It is preceded on the Zodiac by Virgo to the west and succeeded by Scorpius and Ophiuchus to the east.

    The four brightest stars in the constellation form a quadrangle: Alpha Librae (α-Zubenelgenubi) and Beta Librae (β-Zubeneschamali) mark the scales’ balance beam, while Gamma Librae (γ-Zuben Elakrab) and Sigma Librae (σ-Zubenalgubi) represent the weighing pans.

   One of the less bright stars within the Libra constellation, Gliese 581 (a red dwarf), is notable because at only 22 light years away, astronomers have detected that it probably has at least 3 planets, one of which appeared up until recently to be a good candidate for being able to support life.

  Libra is also home to HD 140283, popularly known as Methuselah, because up until this year it was thought to be the oldest known star in the universe. Even with competition from newly-discovered SM0313, it’s still in the running to be oldest, because of the degree of uncertainty in determining the ages of stars. Both these ancients formed and began shining shortly after the universe came into being with the Big Bang. HD 140283 is a relatively close neighbor of ours — only 190 light years distant. (By comparison, the diameter of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 100,000 light years.) It’s a fast-moving star that is just “passing through” our galaxy, and will eventually be slingshot back to the galactic halo of ancient stars surrounding our galaxy, from which it originally came. As it does, Libra will lose one of its constituents, tho not one that determines its classic shape in the sky.

   Libra can’t be seen in October and November because this is when it is on the other side of the Sun from us. As we pointed out in our June issue this year, June is the best time to view Libra. Early July can also work, but by mid-July it’s getting iffy. (See my June post for viewing details.) In contrast with astrological timing (see Astrological Sign of the Month below), the sun these days actually passes in front of the constellation Libra from about October 30 until November 22 . (refs EarthSky, Constellation Guide, Wikipedia)

Libra History and Mythology

    Recognized as a constellation in ancient Babylonian astronomy, Libra was known then as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”) or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. The ancient Greeks also saw it as Scorpion’s Claws – part of the Scorpius constellation that is its next-door neighbor to the east. In Arabic zubānā means “scorpion’s claws” – which explains the names of its primary constituent stars Zubenelgenubi (“the southern claw”), Zubeneschamali (“the northern claw”), and Zuben Elakrab (“Shears of the Scorpion”).

   Now seen as the Scales, Libra is the only zodiac constellation that represents an inanimate object, although that was not the case when it was originally seen as the Scorpion’s Claws.

    There is no definitive evidence for how or why this constellation transitioned from being seen as scorpion claws to balance scales. One theory holds that the scales hark back to ancient times when the sun was in this section of the ecliptic at the time of the autumnal equinox, earning this equinox the name “First Point of Libra”. (Remember that the spring equinox was dubbed the “First Point of Aries” for a similar reason.) The scales alluded to the fact that at the equinox the days and nights are equal. However, Libra’s status as such ended in 730 when the precession of the equinoxes moved the sun out of Libra and into its neighbor to the west, Virgo. (ref Wikipedia (Libra), Wikipedia (equinox), Wikipedia (precession))

Libra and Astraea

Libra and Astraea

   As the association with Scorpius — its east-side neighbor — faded, Libra became associated more with Virgo, its neighbor to the west. Now seen as scales, these were seen as being held by Astraea, the Greek goddess of justice and the celestial virgin in Virgo. The last of the immortals to live with humans during the Golden Age, Astraea abandoned the earth during the Iron Age, fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity and ascending to heaven to become the constellation Virgo. (ref Wikipedia)

Anubis with Scales

Anubis with Scales (crystalinks)

   Meanwhile the ancient Egyptians had their own lore. In Egyptian afterlife rituals a scale was allegedly used to judge the souls of the dead. Anubis, a deity who was protector of graves, also had the job ushering souls into the afterlife, and is most often depicted as using the scales of Libra to weigh the hearts of the deceased against the feather of Ma’at, goddess of truth and justice, thus determining where the soul would be sent. Libra is also considered the goddess of balance and truth and corresponds with Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of the scales or balance. (ref Wikipedia, Crystalinks)

Astrological Sign of the Month: Libra

   Based on the constellation of the same name, Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits the sign of Libra on average from September 23 (northern autumnal equinox) to October 22 each year, occupying the span from 180 to 210 degrees in the idealized 360 degree circle.

   Libra is usually depicted as the scales held by the Greek goddess of justice Dike (or Astraea), represented by the neighboring Virgo constellation.

   According to some astrologies, Libra is considered a masculine positive extrovert sign. It is one of four cardinal signs. Libra governs the lumbar region, lower back and kidneys. Its subjects must beware of weaknesses in the back, and lumbago, and they are susceptible to troubles in the kidneys and bladder, especially gravel and stone. They need to avoid over-indulgence in food and especially drink, for the latter can particularly harm the kidneys. (See crysalinks for more detail.)

Libra symbol

Libra symbol

Symbology

The symbol for Libra (♎) represents the balance scales. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom, who became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice.

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.Zodiac Constellation to View this Month: Aquarius

.   The zodiac constellation easiest to see right now is Aquarius the Water Bearer. (See our February issue when we featured this constellation.)

Aquarius in night sky

Constellation Aquarius

   Aquarius, while taking up a goodly amount of sky real estate, is another of the faint constellations, so first and foremost you need a dark sky, meaning both away from city lights, and also preferably on a moonless night.

   With a dark enough sky, you will be able to make out the Water Jar in Aquarius – an embedded star pattern or “asterism” (noted on the “Night Sky” chart above). Again – stressing the need for a very dark sky (think desert or mountaintop or far out at sea) – a zigzag stream of some 30 faint stars will become very apparent, flowing down from the Water Jar toward the star Fomalhaut. This zigzag line of stars represents water from the Water Jar of Aquarius, flowing into the open mouth of Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish.

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MOON ART

Full Hunter's Moon (October) by Robin Samiljan

Full Hunter’s Moon (October) 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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ASTROLOGY

Molly Hall ~ Full Moon in Aries – The Wonder of Electric Fire

    Molly Hall is chief astrologer at about.com. This month Molly writes about the Full Moon in Aries on her about.com astrology site: “The Wonder of Electric Fire, in which she tells us the combination of Aries and the eclipse produces a strong push to take courageous action. Here are some brief excerpts from this article:

     This Full Moon riles up your confidence that you can meet the moment, as an amazing adventure to discover the dimensions of who you really are. If all the trappings of life are gone and security is a faded memory, we live more in the moment. We rely on our wits, instincts, belief in who we are.

Moonfire 'Moment Open' (Getty Images)

Moonfire ‘Moment Open’ (Getty Images)

Here are selections I’ve made from Molly’s lists:

Themes (selected):

  • coming alive through your passions
  • fresh starts
  • courageous actions
  • the purifying fire of unsentimental truth

Illuminations (selected):

  • your courage to act on the strength of your convictions
  • the catharsis of being true to yourself
  • the rewards of going beyond your comfort zone
  • your impetuous side

Suggested actions (selected):

  • nurture hope in new beginnings
  • take action, even if you’re full of fear
  • face a threat directly
  • act on true desires, not what you think you “should” do

  Molly has a lot more helpful insight around this full moon. For the complete read, click “The Wonder of Electric Fire.” Also visit Molly’s front page for more interesting astrology.

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Emily Trinkaus ~ Realign With Your True Desire – Approaching the Aries Lunar Eclipse

   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.

Aries Lunar Eclipse (collage by Emily)

Aries Lunar Eclipse (collage by Emily)

   Emily’s column for this full moon is: Realign With Your True Desire – Approaching the Aries Lunar Eclipse. The full article is definitely worth a look. Here she emphasizes the pumped up power of the coincidence of Mercury going retrograde with “two dramatic Eclipses and some feisty, fiery, go-for-it alignments.

   These, she says, turn our attention toward the past – old issues resurface, and people you haven’t seen or thought of in years reappear, in waking life or through your dreams and memories.

   Eclipses pull us into the darkness of the unknown, the darkness of our own repressed needs and feelings, and the darkness of infinite potential and possibility – the womb of regeneration and rebirth.

   Wednesday’s lunar eclipse in Aries is a super-charged Full Moon, featuring heightened emotions, revelations and breakthroughs relating to the essential Aries questions: Who am I? and What do I want?

   Fear and anger are emotions likely to be stirred up by this Eclipse – the fear of being our radical, freaky selves, the fear of going after what we really want, and anger at how we’ve repressed our true selves and true desires in the past. How much time have you wasted trying to please everyone, trying to fit in, trying to be “nice,” living out someone else’s idea of who you’re supposed to be?

   Emily has more good stuff to say on this. For the full read – which I highly recommend – click on Realign With Your True Desire to visit her page.

Aries full moon symbol

Aries full moon

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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 by what they encounter here.

   Until the full moon in November, here’s wishing all of us a month of courage and living true to ourselves!

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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or misuse) 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”, because 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 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.
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