August’s Yellow Dog Super Moon

Happy August Full Moon!

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


      • What’s Cookin’ ~ Full moon Saturday
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times | Equinox | Eclipses
      • Moon Names ~ Dog Days Moon | Yellow Flower Moon
      • Celestial Mechanics ~ Equinox | Coming eclipses | Supermoon
      • The Moon in Poesy ~ “Tides” by Hugo Williams
      • The Moon in Song ~ “It’s Only a Paper Moon”
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Pisces:  Lunacy and ecstasy | Reconnect with Source


  The moon will become exact full August 29 (Saturday) at 18:36 UT (Universal Time); correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See this past December’s Seasonal Calendar for clarification about Universal Time.)

   Because fullness this time will occur just as the moon rises over Greenwich, people just about anywhere on the globe will see closest to a full moon on Saturday night. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   No – not a “yellow dog”. These hot days of August are often referred to as the Dog Days. Find out the astronomical origin of this appellation, below in Moon Names. Also see some examples of inspiration for Yellow Flower Moon.

  In the music and poetry section, we offer some found poetry by Hugo Williams.  And the song this moonth is “Paper Moon“.

  And finally, our favorite astrologers, Molly and Emily, tell us what to look for and dive deep into at this full moon.

Moon and stars in a purple sky (Duke Medicine)

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August’s full moon:          Saturday August 29 18:36 UT; 8:36 am HAST; 11:36 am PDT
.                                             Saturday August 29 2:36 pm EDT; 9:36 pm IDT
.                                             Sunday August 30 2:36 am AWST/PHT
September’s new moon:  Sunday September 13 06:42 UT; 2:42 am EDT; 9:42 am IDT
.                                             Sunday September 13 2:42 pm AWST/PHT
.                                             Saturday September 12 8:42 pm HAST; 11:42 pm PDT
Partial solar eclipse:         Sunday September 13
September Equinox:        Wednesday, September 23 08:21 UT
September’s full moon:   Monday September 28 02:51 UT; 5:51 am IDT; 10:51 am AWST/PHT
.                                            Sunday September 27 4:51 pm HAST; 7:51 pm PDT; 10:51 pm EDT
Total lunar eclipse:          September 27-28
[ref: Moon Phases]

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August’s Dog Days, Yellow Flower, Super Full Moon

    As you know (especially if you’ve been following this blog), many cultures around the world 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.

    Doubling up this time with two names: Dog Days Moon and Yellow Flower Moon. (Not really a “yellow dog”, as my title might have misled you to think.)

Dog Days and Dog Days Moon 

Dog Days of Summer (Blue Moon Gift Shops)

   You would be excused if you – as many folks – thought the “dog days of summer” referred to their being so hot that they’re not even fit for a dog. Or, as astrologer Molly Hall writes in The Dog Days and Sirius, “It’s always brought to my mind a hound dog on the porch that’s wore slap out from the heat.” 

Dog at Water Fountain

   To find the origins of this term, we have to go back 5000 years to ancient Egypt and (wouldn’t you have guessed?) the River Nile. Without the Internet — or even the Old Farmer’s Almanack — these ancients had to have a way to predict the Nile’s annual flooding. Such a big deal this was, they began their New Year around the Summer Solstice.

   But instead of rolling out the sextants and trying to figure out just when the sun was stopping its southward promenade to head north again, they noticed that this was also the time when Sirius (the brightest star in their – and our – night sky) made its debut in the pre-dawn sky, to begin its westerly march across the heavens until the following spring. Thus the Egyptians named this the “Nile Star”. Molly says that a temple of Isis-Hathor at Dendera supposedly had a statue aligned to this star which contained a gem that would light up when this bright star rose.

   Three thousand years later the Ancient Greeks renamed this star Sirius, meaning “glowing” or “scorcher”. Some thought of it as a harbinger of doom and drought, with scorching rays and heat. But cooler heads prevailed (I hope you will excuse my unintended pun) when Greek astronomer Geminus (circa 70 B.C.) reminded everyone that it was merely the sun’s hottest months.

Canis Major

Canis Major

   So where do the dogs come in? Sirius had long been seen in many cultures as part of a constellation “chasing” or following the constellation we now call Orion. The Ancient Greeks put these two together and saw this smaller constellation as Orion’s dog, calling it the Great Dog, or Canis Major as it is still known today.

   By association, Sirius is known as the Dog Star, so when it is first seen rising before the sun, we know that the Dog Days have begun. Current tradition marks these days from July 3rd to August 11th. Some Europeans still follow the Ancient Roman tradition of marking the Dog Days from late July to late August. However, since we’re applying this term to the August full moon as Colonial Americans did, I give you permission to keep using it until the September full moon.

   You can get your curiosity quenched even more at the following pages:
The Dog Days and Sirius” (Molly Hall); “Dog days” (Wikipedia); “Canis Major” (Wikipedia); “Sirius” (Wikipedia), The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Yellow Flower Moon 

   Peoples of the Osage tribes called the August full moon the Yellow Flower moon. While this was most likely more for yellow flowering plants and shrubs than trees, I’m taking the liberty here of showcasing two yellow-flowering trees I’ve spotted recently.

   The gold medallion tree (Cassia leptophylla) is a sub-tropical plant that has become popular in Southern California only in recent years, producing gorgeous yellow clusters in hot summer months when other flowering plants are either finished with their bloom cycle or haven’t begun yet.

Gold Medallion tree

Gold medallion tree

   I discovered the tree you see below growing in front of the local Self-Realization Fellowship gift shop; I suspect it was chosen because its blooms so closely resemble SRF’s lotus symbol. I didn’t know the tree’s name, but landscaper friend Ken identified it for me as an African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata). Looking it up, I find it is a tropical tree with blooms that can range from golden yellow to orange to red. It is known throughout the world as one of the most beautiful of all flowering trees. When you see the tree up close, you understand why. (ref Pacific Horticulture)

African tulip tree

Blooms of African tulip tree


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   The September equinox will occur on Wednesday, September 23 08:21 UT. In the Northern Hemisphere, this marks the end of summer; until the March equinox, the hours between sunrise and sunset will be fewer than between sunset and sunrise. Just the inverse, of course, south of the Equator, where spring will be beginning. For a more thorough treatment of equinoxes, see my March 2015 post (with that cute robin in front of a giant moon).

Super Moon

   As you have probably heard, the full moon this time will be a “super” moon. But don’t get too excited — this happens about once a year, and unless you look and measure carefully, you won’t be able to detect a difference from the average full moon.

   The Moon in its elliptical orbit around Earth makes one close approach (perigee) and one remote approach (apogee) each time around.

lunar elliptical orbit (simple) (OptCorp)

Lunar elliptical orbit (OptCorp)

   According to the modern definition (invented by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979), we have a “super” full moon when the moon is full and also within 90% of perigee. At this time it can appear up to 14% larger in area and 30% brighter than it does at its dimmest and farthest (at apogee). But compared to its usual appearance, a typical supermoon looks only about 7% larger and 17% brighter than normal ~~ thus its unspectacularness. (Note that Mr. Nolle chose the 90% rule arbitrarily, and that supermoon as a folk term is not used as a technical term in the astronomy biz.) (refs:, EarthSkyWikipedia)

Eclipses Coming

Just a heads up for two upcoming eclipses:

  A partial solar eclipse (of the sun) at the coming new moon. Not too much to write home about, as it will be only a partial, and visible only at parts of  the bottom of the world.

Sep 13 solar eclipse path (TimeandDate)

Sep 13 solar eclipse path (TimeandDate)

   But hold onto your telescopes! At the next full moon (Sept 27-28) people in the dark areas on the map below will be treated to the fourth and final total eclipse of the moon in the current “tetrad”. We’ll get the details to you in time in our September post. If you need to make advance plans, click here for essential details.

Sep 27-28 total lunar eclipse path (TimeandDate)

Sep 27-28 total lunar eclipse path (TimeandDate)

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 Just last week while visiting Solana Beach, I discovered this poemlet in bronze letters inlaid in a concrete crescent on the walkway:

For that is happiness:
to wander alone, surrounded by the same moon
whose tides remind us of ourselves.

I looked it up and found it is an excerpt from a poem by the British poet Hugo Williams. Here is the full poem:

The evening advances, then withdraws again
Leaving our cups and books like islands on the floor.
We are drifting, you and I,
As far from another as the young heroes
Of these two novels we have just laid down.
For that is happiness: to wander alone
Surrounded by the same moon, whose tides remind us of ourselves,
Our distances, and what we leave behind.
The lamp left on, the curtains letting in the light.
These things were promises. No doubt we will come back to them.
by Hugo Williams, found at Poem Hunter

   Man! I didn’t know anything about Mr. Williams until now, but I can sure relate to what he says here. Some of my happiest times have been wandering alone – in the mountains, on the seashore – in moonlight. And “same moon”: she is always there, surrounding me… and you…and all of us. Questions, too, such as how do the tides remind us of ourselves?

   If this poem evoked anything in you that you would like to share, please feel free to post a comment.

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  For this issue I chose “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, a popular song written by Harold Arlen and published in 1933, with lyrics by E. Y. Harburg and Billy Rose. Written originally for an unsuccessful Broadway play, successful versions were recorded by Paul Whiteman and Peggy Healey. But its lasting fame stems from recordings by popular artists during the last years of World War II, when versions by Ella Fitzgerald and the Nat King Cole Trio became popular. Click on the links below to hear some popular versions available on YouTube. (refs: songbook1Wikipedia)

Paper Moon Songbook (songbook1)

It’s Only A Paper Moon (1933)
music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg and Billy Rose

(here is a version sung by Ella Fitzgerald)
(here is a version sung by Frank Sinatra)

It’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me
Yes, its only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn’t be make-believe if you believed in me

Without your love it’s a honky tonk parade
Without your love it’s a melody played in a penny arcade
It’s a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn’t be make-believe if you believed in me

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   Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the Zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to make her rounds. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign. The Moon is currently in Aquarius; she will move into Pisces on Saturday and remain there while she is full. She will move into Aries on Monday.

Molly Hall ~ Molly Hall

Pisces Full Moon

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at At this full moon, Molly addresses both madness and miracles in her article: Pisces Full Moon on her astrology site. Here is a brief distillation from her extensive column for this full moon:

  Molly has a kind of bipolar message this time, warning of confusion about what’s real and what’s not, noting that Full Moons are renown as times of lunacy and hysteria, as well as ecstatic heights. She says: This is a good one to rededicate yourself to your best choices.

   She says this Full Moon illuminates:

  • the depth of meaning in relationships and events
  • the wider mystery of why we’re here
  • the power of the collective heart impulse
    (. . . and a number more)

It’s a Good Time to:

  • feast on spiritual nourishment
  • start volunteering with children, animals, the elderly and vulnerable
  • keep the schedule clear for daydreaming
    (. . . and many more)

   The above is just a sampling. As per usual, I can’t do her offering justice without including it in its entirety, so if any of the above calls to you, I recommend that you surf over to her page Pisces Full Moon for the full hit. You can also look up what this full moon portends for your specific birth sign at her posting Harvesting Miracles at the Pisces Full Moon – Your House Forecast.

Full Moon in Pisces (Lighthouse Yoga)

   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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Emily Trinkaus ~ Emily Trinkaus

Pisces Full Moon ~ Release the Victim

   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.

Collage/painting by Emily

   Even more so than usual, I am moved this month by Emily’s attention and sensitivity to feelings, that she combines with her impressive technical acumen. Emily’s focus for this full moon is on allowing ourselves to be released from the prison of the Victim archetype that we are all dealing with. She goes right to the heart of the matter, writing: Any part of yourself that still feels and acts like a victim is likely to be lit up at this Full Moon, ready to seen, felt and dissolved.

   She adds that this full moon pulls you into deep, chaotic and mysterious waters, stirring up strong feelings and opening your psychic sensors to collective energies. Furthermore, she says that your sensitivity to living beings will be heightened, increasing your capacity to feel the suffering of the world.

   And she offers this advice: Take a break from Virgo-season busyness and tend to your soul.

   The above are just teasers. Emily’s packed so much good stuff into this one, you’re just gonna hafta visit her page Release the Victim, Reconnect with Source to get all the juice.

Pisces 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 September, here’s wishing all of us a month of honoring ourselves and tending to our souls!

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    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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   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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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.


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.

2 Responses to August’s Yellow Dog Super Moon

  1. Belle says:

    Hi Marty,
    According to my landscaper husband, that is an African Tulip Tree. Beautiful! Nice blog. Thanks!

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