March’s Full Lenten Moon

Happy March Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 3 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!


      • What’s Cookin’ ~ Full moon Wednesday
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Moon name “Lenten” Moon
      • Moon fine art ~  Anthonie van Borssom
      • Celestial Mechanics ~ The almost non-eclipse
      • Lunar Celebrations: Easter
      • The Moon in Song ~ “Moonglow”
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Libra: Courage and re-balancing.

   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 Wednesday, March 23, at 12:01 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 UT-Universal Time.)

   Because fullness will occur this time at noon at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Wednesday night to everyone from the East Coast of North America east to the International Date Line. The rest of North America will be on the cusp, and so folks there will see about equal fullness both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Further west to the Date Line, Tuesday night will be the best bet, although to the casual observer both nights will appear about equally full. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

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

   More moon fine art, this time by Dutch artist Anthonie van Borssom. See Moon Fine Art.

CELESTIAL MECHANICS – Penumbral eclispse
   The Moon will be eclipsed by the penumbra of Earth’s shadow only, making it almost a non-event. See Celestial Mechanics for a few details.

   The timing of Easter is dependent on the moon – in a way. See Celebrations for details.

   Another romantic moon song “Moonglow”. 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.

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Moon Dates and Times

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; 11:01 pm AEDT
Easter (Western)               Sunday March 27
April’s new moon              Thursday April 7 11:24 UT; 1:24 pm IST; 7:24 pm AWST/PHT; 9:24 pm AEST
.                                              Thursday April 7 1:24 am HAST; 4:24 am PDT; 7:24 am EDT
April’s full moon               Friday April 22 05:24 UT; 1:24 am EDT; 8:24 am IDT
.                                              Friday April 22 1:24 pm AWST/PHT;  3:24 pm AEST
.                                              Thursday April 21 7:24 pm HAST; 10:24 pm PDT
Passover                              Friday April 22 to Saturday April 30
Easter (Greek Orthodox)  Sunday May 1
[ref: Moon Phases]

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Lenten Moon

Lenten Moon (Julie Zumwalt)

   Christian settlers in the New World named the March full moon the Lenten Moon, and considered it the last moon of winter. See the Celebrations section below for the link to Easter. (ref: Moonconnection)

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Anthonie van Borssom

A River Scene By Moonlight (tumblr)

   Anthonie van Borssom (1631 to 1677) was a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter. He was probably a pupil of Rembrandt in the years 1645-1650. More of his work can be seen here(ref: Wikipedia)

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Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

   There are three principal classes of lunar eclipse: total, partial, and penumbral.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

   In a total eclipse, all of the Moon moves into the Earth’s umbra, or full shadow. We had beautiful examples of this last year. (This could be called an “umbral” eclipse, but no one uses this term.) In a partial eclipse, a portion – but not all – of the Moon moves through the Earth’s umbra. In a penumbral eclipse, the Earth blocks only some of the Sun’s rays from reaching the Moon, casting only a faint shadow on the Moon, causing a slight change in coloration of a portion of its disk.

   The eclipse this time will be only a penumbral one, making it difficult to even discern. (Not worth staying up late or getting up early for, in my book. You can check times for visibility where you are by visiting this TimeandDate page and plugging in your location. You will also be able to see an animation of what this eclipse will look like.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

   The next “big things” in eclipses won’t occur until August 2017 (total solar eclipse) and January 2018 (total lunar eclipse). In the interim, two annular solar eclipses will occur September 2016 and February 2017. We will feature each of these before they occur. If you can’t wait, you can get details now at this TimeandDate page.

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   Many people are aware that the dates for the celebration of Easter are related to moon phases, but the majority of them do not realize that for the Western Church, these dates are not determined by astronomical observation, but instead are based on tables constructed by the Church in 325 CE at the First Council of Nicaea. In the West, Easter will be celebrated this coming Sunday, March 27.

   By contrast, the Eastern/Greek Orthodox Christian church uses actual astronomical observations to determine the date of Easter. They will observe Easter five weeks later this year, on May 1.

   For more interesting details on this subject, take a look at my post from April 2015, and also this article “How is the date of Easter determined?

   What about Passover? In most years, Passover and Easter come very close together, since the date for Passover is also determined by the Moon’s phases. However, this year Passover will occur in late April. We will go into more detail on the “why” of this in our April post.

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   Another classic popular moon song, “Moonglow” was birthed in 1933. Though starting out before my time, it continued to be popular into my era (50’s and 60’s), becoming a jazz standard and enjoying wide exposure when Morris Stoloff combined it with the theme from the movie Picnic to produce the instrumental medley “Moonglow and Theme from Picnic” that went gold, sitting at number one on the charts for three weeks in 1956. It can play in my head when I’m walking under a romantic moonlit night sky with a special someone.

Couple Walking Under Moonglow (Leslie Allen Fine Art)

   The music for “Moonglow” was written by Will Hudson and Irving Mills, with lyrics by Eddie DeLange. Both vocal and instrumental versions became popular, recorded by the likes of Ethel Waters, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Harry James, June Christy, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Rod Stewart.

  You can see the first stanza of the lyrics below.  I’ve provided a link to the full lyrics, plus links to a variety of versions you can listen to on YouTube.

Moonglow (June Christy)

Moonglow (1933)
(by Will Hudson, Irving Mills, and Eddie DeLange)

(Click here for a version sung by Carly Simon)
(Click here for a version by June Christy)
(Click here for a version sung by Doris Day)
(Click here for a live performance by Rod Stewart)
(Click here for the Morris Stoloff medley “Moonglow and Theme From ‘Picnic'”)

It must have been moonglow
Way up in the blue
It must have been moonglow
That led me straight to you

(Complete lyrics at Metrolyrics)

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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 complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign. Currently in Virgo, she will enter Libra Wednesday (a little over five hours after exact fullness). She will remain there until Friday, when she will move on into Scorpio.

Full Moon in Libra (dothework6to7)

Molly Hall ~  

Libra Full Moon ~ “Radical Rebalancing”

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from the positions of the stars and planets. For this full moon, Molly takes into account Luna’s position in Libra, Sol’s occupation of Aries, the lunar eclipse, and Mercury’s jaunts ~ to come up with these themes:

  • courage
  • shared battles of the warrior
  • moving out of stagnation
  • time to be emphatic
  • more authentic relationships
  • re-balancing focus between “other” and “self”

   For the full story, click through to Molly’s post “Libra Full Moon – Radical Rebalancing” 

   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 five years beginning in 2010, Emily was head priestess at Virgo Magic, based in Portland, OR. This past December Emily announced she decided to re-focus 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 an exposition of her plans going forward.

Full Moon in Libra

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 April, here’s wishing all of us a month of courage and connection!

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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.

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