January’s Full “Old” Moon 2016

Happy January Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 1 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!


      • What’s Cookin’ ~ Full moon Saturday/Sunday
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Moon name “Old” Moon
      • Skywatch ~ Cool five-planet lineup
      • Celebrations ~ Tu B’Shevat | Chinese Lunar New Year
      • The Moon in Song ~ “Old Devil Moon”
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Leo: A fine time for parties.

   Please feel free to leave a comment (down at the bottom) if you like or dislike anything. I’ll keep your comment private if you ask me to.


   When the moon becomes full this weekend, it will be Sunday at the Prime Meridian and all points east to the International Date Line, Saturday west to the Date Line. Exact fullness will occur at 1:45 UT (Universal Time); correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See Seasonal Calendar in my December 2014 issue for clarification about Universal Time.)

   Because fullness will occur this time just after midnight at the Prime Meridian, most places on the globe will see closest to a full moon on Saturday night. To the unaided eye she will appear in most places to be full Friday and Sunday nights, too. People in the Indian continent and similar longitudes will be on the cusp and will see about equal fullness Saturday and Sunday nights. Folks in the far east (Hanoi, Perth and places east to the International Date line) will see a bit more fullness Sunday night. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   This month it’s the English “Old Moon”. See Moon Names for details.

   A somewhat rare lineup of the five planets that we can see with the unaided eye is occurring right now. See Skywatch for details.

   The Hebrew spring holiday Tu B’Shevat “New Year of the Trees”, and the Chinese Year of the Red Fire Monkey will soon be upon us. See Celebrations for details.

   A song with “Old” and “Moon” in its title. See The Moon in Song to learn about it, listen to it, and sing along!

  Molly Hall offers us some timely insight for this full moon.

Old Crescent Moon (Pinterest-Celestial Sister)

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Moon Dates and Times

January’s full moon:         Sunday January 24 01:45 UT; 3:45 am IST; 9:45 am AWST/PHT
.                                             Saturday January 23 3:45 pm HAST; 5:45 pm PST; 8:45 pm EST
February’s new moon:     Monday February 8 14:38 UT; 4:38 pm IST; 10:38 pm AWST/PHT
.                                                       Monday February 8 4:38 am HAST; 6:38 am PST, 9:38 am EST
February’s full moon:      Monday February 22 18:20 UT; 8:20 am HAST; 8:20 pm IST;
.                                                       Monday February 22 10:20 am PST; 1:20 pm EST.                                                  .                                                            Tuesday February 23 2:20 am AWST/PHT
[ref: Moon Phases]

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Old Moon

   Digging back into the archives to the days before this blog existed — when my monthly postings were via email — I see that I noted the early English called the January full moon the Old Moon.

Paper Moon Theatre Shrine

Paper Moon Theatre Shrine

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Five-Planet Lineup

      For the first time since 2005, you can see all five bright planets of our Solar System, lined up along the plane of the ecliptic in the pre-dawn sky. (You’ve always wondered where the ecliptic was, haven’t you? Now’s your chance!) These “bright” planets are the ones closest to the Sun (in addition to Earth) and thus visible from here without the aid of optical instruments: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. You can, of course, use binoculars to enhance your experience, but you will want to put them down in order to see the entire parade at once. (And hey – stars Antares, Arcturus, and Spica thrown in at no extra charge!)

   This viewing graphic from EarthSky gives you an idea of what to look for:

2016 5-planet lineup (EarthSky.org)

2016 5-planet lineup (EarthSky.org)

   Yes, you will have to get up at oh-dark-thirty, but if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, this is your big chance. From Jan 20 to Feb 20, any morning that the clouds cooperate, you be able to see a nice show. While it will happen again this coming August (13 to 19), visibility then will favor folks in the Southern Hemisphere. The next show for northerners will be October 2018 – but why wait?

   And here is a nice graphic from World Mysteries, illustrating the alignment as imagined looking from space above the plane of the ecliptic (obviously not to scale):

Five planets (World Mysteries)

Five planets (World Mysteries)

   For a detailed rundown of this event – along with more cool graphics, check out the EarthSky page See all five bright planets simultaneously!  For additional cool pics and graphics, also check out this World Mysteries blog site.

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Tu B’Shevat

   Tu B’Shevat is a minor Jewish holiday, also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot” – literally “New Year of the Trees”, which was historically related to the cycles of the fruit trees.  The modern name Tu B’Shevat is derived from the date on which it occurs: the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. This places it on or a day after the full moon, as the Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar, with each month beginning at a new moon. This year Tu B’Shevat will begin at sunset Sunday (24 January), the night of the full moon, and finish at nightfall on Monday (25 January). (Ref: Wikipedia~Tu BiShvat)

Almond tree in blossom

Almond tree in blossom

Dried fruit and almonds

European Jews traditionally celebrate Tu Bishvat by eating dried fruit and almonds.  Modern Israelis celebrate by planting trees in ecological awareness.

Chinese New Year

   The Chinese New Year, officially known as the ‘Spring Festival‘, is the most important (and, at 15 days, the longest) of the traditional Chinese holidays. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western Carnival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. This is always on a new moon – usually the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, but sometimes the third new moon. (This variability is because the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, which is basically a lunar calendar, but with adjustments inserted as needed in order to not get too far out of sync with the seasons.)

   This year the Chinese New Year (always at the new moon) will fall on Monday, February 8 on the Gregorian calendar. It will be the Year of the Yang Red Fire Monkey. (Note that the astrological reckoning for determining the animal year uses a traditional counting system and is not determined by the lunar calendar. Thus the Chinese astrological new year, considered by Chinese astrologers as the Start of Spring, begins on February 4 in China, when it will still be February 3 most places east of the International Date Line.)

Lantern Festival (Dream Walker)

Lantern Festival

The two-week Spring Festival ends with the Lantern Festival, which occurs on the night of the first full moon of the lunisolar New Year, the 15th day of the lunar month.

   The Lantern Festival will be celebrated in many countries this year on Monday, February 22. (Refs: About.com, Wikipedia~Chinese New Year, Wikipedia~Chinese zodiac, Chinese Fortune Calendar)

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“Old Devil Moon”

  How many moon songs have “old” in them? I love all the songs from Finian’s Rainbow (I’m just a pushover when it comes to Broadway shows). And this song has special meaning for a special someone in my life.

   “Old Devil Moon” is a popular song composed by Burton Lane, with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg for the 1947 musical Finian’s Rainbow. It was first performed in that show by Ella Logan and Donald Richards. Since then it has been recorded by over two dozen pros, including Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Josh Groban.  (ref: Wikipedia)

Old Devil Moon (1947)
(by Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg)

(Click here for the original 1947 version sung by Ella Logan and Donald Richards)
(Click here for the 1960 revival version sung by Biff McGuire and Jeannie Carson)

I look at you and suddenly
Something in your eyes I see
Soon begins bewitching me

It’s that old devil moon
That you stole from the skies
It’s that old devil moon
In your eyes

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Just when I think
I’m free as a dove
Old devil moon
Deep in your eyes
Blinds me with love

(Complete lyrics at SongLyrics.com)

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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. She is currently in Cancer the Crab — will move into Leo the Lion Saturday, less than two hours after exact fullness. She will remain there while full, moving on into Virgo on Tuesday.

Molly Hall ~  

Leo Full Moon ~ “Heart of the Matter”

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at about.com, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from the positions of the stars and planets. For this full moon, Molly says:

  The Full Moon is in Leo, the sign of the artist, player and lover. Full Moons are when loony moods go supernova, so watch the drama with this one. The Plutonian edge to the chart adds some urgency, and the urge to get to the heart of what’s happening. Or to provoke a catalyst.

   Leo gets the improv and storytelling rolling, making it a fine time for parties. Here in the chill of winter, this lunation in a fire sign has a warming effect. With the spirit of generosity in the air, each person’s uniqueness emerges, and is encouraged to shine.

   To read details of how Leo and Aquarius (the sign the sun is in right now), check out Molly’s page Leo Full Moon ~ “Heart of the Matter”. And to see how this full moon affects you according to your specific astrological house, check out her très intéressant page “Leo Full Moon in the Houses“.

Full Moon in Leo (Ohana Nery – Universal Love School)

   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.

Farewell to Emily Trinkaus ~ 

   For the past five years Emily has been head priestess at Virgo Magic, based in Portland, OR. Now it appears Emily is re-focusing her time and attention to other endeavors. She will still continue with energy healer Katie Todd running the Full Moon Priestess website where they conduct monthly Full Moon Galactivation teleclasses for women.

 We have soo appreciated the heart and warmth you have given to Virgo Magic, Emily, and your permission to feature you here. We wish you well in your endeavors.   If you, reader, would like to know more about Emily’s evolvement, visit her Virgo Magic website, where she offers a beautiful explanation and farewell.

Leo 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 February, here’s wishing all of us a month of warmth and parties!

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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, Folklore, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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