February’s Full Storm Moon

Happy February Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 2 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!


      • What’s Cookin’ ~ Full moon Monday
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Moon name “Storm” Moon
      • Moon fine art ~  “Stormy Moonlit Night” (Weber)
      • Seasons ~ March Equinox| Daylight Saving Time
      • The Moon in Song ~ “Bella Luna”
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Virgo: Devotion and magic.

   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.


   The moon will become full this coming Monday, February 22, at 18:20 UT, 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 about six hours before midnight at the Prime Meridian (just about an hour before moonrise there), almost all places on the globe will see closest to a full moon Monday night.  To the unaided eye she will appear to be full Sunday and Tuesday nights, as well. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   This month it’s the Native American “Storm Moon”. See Moon Names for details.

   A work of fine art by Theodore Alexander Weber, to go along with this month’s theme. See Moon Art.

   Coming in March — time to change our clocks. March 13 in North America; various other dates depending on location.
   And it’s equinox time again (March 19 or 20, depending on where you live). We review a little bit of what’s going on – and why it’s not on March 21 this year.
See Seasonal Changes for details.

   For reasons known to only a few, this month’s featured moon song is “Bella Luna”. See The Moon in Song to learn about this song, listen to it, and sing along!

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

Desert Full Moon in Winter (Jason Bache)

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Moon Dates and Times

Daylight Saving Time           Sunday February 21 (Brazil)
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; 5:20 am AEDT
March’s new moon                Wednesday March 9 01:54 UT; 3:54 am IST; 9:54 am AWST/PHT;
.                                                    Tuesday March 8 3:54 pm HAST; 5:54 pm PST; 8:54 pm EST
Daylight Saving Time            Sunday March 13 (North America, Mexico, et al)
March Equinox                        Sunday March 20 04:30 UT; 12:30 am EDT; 6:30 am IST; 12:30 pm AWST/PHT
.                                                    Saturday March 19 6:30 pm HAST; 9:30 pm PDT
March’s full moon                  Wednesday March 23 12:01 UT; 2:01 am HAST; 5:01 am PDT; 8:01 am EDT;
.                                                    Wednesday March 23 2:01 pm IST; 8:01 pm AWST/PHT
Easter (Western)                     Sunday March 27
[ref: Moon Phases]

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Storm Moon

Full Moon over stormy beach

   Native Americans living in the northeast of the continent experienced harsh Februaries, which included snow — and sometimes ice – storms. Many reading this post will be able to relate to “Storm Moon”. It’s a variation of “Snow Moon”, which we’ve featured in previous posts.

Stormy Sea

Full Moon over stormy sea

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Theodore Alexander Weber

Stormy Moonlit Night by Theodor Alexander Weber

“Stormy Moonlit Night” by Theodore Alexander Weber (artnet.com)

   Theodore Alexander Weber (1838-1907) was a French painter, born in Leipzig of German lineage. At age 16 he apprenticed under William Krause in Berlin, studying intensely for two years. He then settled in Paris and began exhibiting at the Salon, also exhibiting at the Royal Academy in London. With an international reputation as a realist-impressionist maritime artist, his work is represented in art galleries in Cologne, Leipzig, Nottingham, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney. More of his work can be seen here. (artnet, vallejo)

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March Equinox

   Most of us grew up hearing that the equinox occurring in March was called the “spring” or “vernal” equinox. Well, in the Northern Hemisphere, this is true. However, since the seasons are opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, the March equinox is their fall or autumnal equinox. So for the sake of clarity and inclusion, we now call next month’s event simply the “March” equinox. For some interesting facts surrounding this, see the TimeandDate article: 10 Things About the March Equinox.

  The March equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Even though “equinox” means literally “equal night”, giving the impression that night and day on the equinox are exactly the same length, this isn’t entirely true as this TimeandDate article explains.

Equinox (Warframe)

Equinox (Warframe)

   Even though this image was developed for a war-based online game, I still like the imagination that went into creating it.

   The March equinox marks the moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. 

Earth-Sun Cycle

Earth-Sun Cycle

   Additionally, astronomers use this imaginary point in space (the “vernal equinox”) as the zero point for measuring celestial longitude. Just as we use longitude – along with latitude – to locate points on our globe, celestial longitude (right ascension) and celestial latitude (declination) are necessary to talk about where stars and other objects in space are located on the imaginary celestial sphere.

Celestial navigation diagram (University College, Cork)

Celestial navigation diagram (University College, Cork)

   If you are interested in exploring this subject further, the University of California article “Celestial Coordinates” and the Wikipedia article “Right ascension” are good places to start. 

   Note that an equinox or solstice – being a function of Earth’s continuous movement around the Sun – occurs at only an instant; it does not stretch out over any period of time (a day, hour or even a minute). A quick check of the Seasonal Calendar, above, reveals that when this equinox occurs next month, it will be March 20 in many places on Earth, but it will still be March 19 in western parts of the Americas west to the International Date Line.

   But “Wait!”, you say, “I thought the equinox was always on March 21?” Well, this is just another of many examples of humans attempting to create a calendar and time measuring system that take into account both the movement of our Earth around the Sun (seasons), and Earth’s rotation on its own axis (day/night). Because these two movements are independent of one another, the length of a year measured in days does not come out “even”; it includes a fraction of a day. Our attempts at adjusting our clocks and calendars to account for this fraction (such as including a “leap day” Feb 29 this year) result in the March equinox date’s varying from March 19 to March 21, depending on the year . . . and the location of interest on Earth.

Sun-Moon (equinox)

Sun-Moon Equinox (boilr)

   This picture is a fantasy mashup of two actual photographs, one of the Sun and one of the Moon, depicting (in a non-astronomical way) equal day and night at the time of the equinox.

   On any equinox, the sun rises due east and sets due west wherever you are. For a detailed explanation of this phenomenon, and a diagram of equinoxes in general, see my post from last year March 2015. For even more info on this, see the EarthSky article: Everything you need to know about the March equinox 2016.

Daylight Saving Time

   Time-keeping has always been an attempt by humans to overlay an artificial metronome on the natural rhythm the two movements of the Earth: its rotation about its own axis, and its revolution around the Sun.  The modern idea of daylight saving (not “savings”) time (DST) was first proposed by New Zealander George Hudson in 1895, with Germany and Austria-Hungary organizing the first nationwide implementation in 1916 as a way to conserve coal during wartime.

   The United States adopted DST in 1918, near the end of World War I. The idea, however, was unpopular and Congress abolished DST after the war, overriding President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, thus beginning a not-so-smooth road to today’s standards. (For more background and detail, see Wikipedia articles “Daylight saving time” and “Daylight saving time in the United States“.)

   In the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the day to “spring ahead” this year will be Sunday March 13. For other locations, check this TimeandDate page.

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“Bella Luna”

   For personal reasons, I chose an obscure song this month that I had never heard of before – and would be surprised if you have. “Bella Luna” means “beautiful moon” in both Italian and Spanish, and since romance is still in the air (its still being February and all), here is another romantic song which, as last month, has special meaning for a special someone in my life.

Beautiful Moon

Beautiful Moon (freetopwallpaper)

   “Bella Luna” was written by Jason Mraz, who recorded it and included it on his 2005 album “Mr. A-Z“. You can see two stanzas of the lyrics below, with links to the full lyrics and to Mr. Mraz singing it on YouTube.

Mr. A-Z by Jason Mraz

Bella Luna (2005)
(by Jason Mraz)

(Click here for the original 2005 version sung by Jason Mraz)

Mystery the moon
A hole in the sky
A supernatural nightlight
So full but often wry
A pair of eyes a closing one
A chosen child of golden sun
A marble dog that chases cars to farthest reaches of the beach
And far beyond into the swimming sea of stars

May I suggest you get the best
For nothing less than you and I
Let’s take a chance as this romance is rising
Oh, before we lose the lighting

(Complete lyrics at AZLyrics.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 just exited Leo the Lion and is currently “void of course“. She will move into Virgo the Virgin Monday (about seven hours before exact fullness). She will remain there while full, moving on into Libra on Wednesday.

Full Moon in Virgo

Full Moon in Virgo

Molly Hall ~  

Virgo Full Moon ~ “Practical Magic”

   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:

  Virgo Full Moons mean that the sunny ginormous companion is in Pisces. Virgo and Pisces are signs of devotion and magic, all along the spectrum from the worldly to the otherworldly.

  This is a Full Moon for letting the imagination have full revelatory rein. It’s also a big one for a rush of mystical images or feelings. You could get a flash glimpse of a bright, wholesome future.

   To read details of how Virgo and Pisces (the sign the sun is in right now) are possibly affecting us, check out Molly’s page Virgo Full Moon ~ “Practical Magic”. And to see how this full moon affects you according to your specific astrological house, check out her très intéressant page “Virgo Full Moon in the Houses “Spring Cleaning”“.

   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 farewell and her plans going forward.

Full Moon in Virgo

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 March, here’s wishing all of us a month of imagination and creativity!

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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.
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