May’s Blue Frog Full Moon

Happy May Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 5 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!

(click any of these section links)

   Please feel free to leave a comment (down at the bottom) and let me know what you like or if you have any questions or requests. I’ll keep your comment private if you so request.


   No, silly . . . not a blue frog. It’s the “Frog Moon” and will also be a “blue moon”. Check out the details, below . . .

   The moon will become full Saturday, May 21, at 21:15 UT, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (Sunday morning from the eastern Mediterranean east to the International Date Line.) (See my December 2014 issue for clarification about UT-Universal Time.)

 Because fullness will occur this time a few hours before midnight at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Saturday night almost everywhere on Earth, although – as we like to point out here – she will appear to be full on both Friday and Sunday nights, too. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   The Native American Cree named the May full moon the Frog Moon, because this is the time that frogs become active in the Northern Plains and Canada. See Moon Names for details.

   A real “true blue moon” – real in the sense that it is an astronomical event. Also, Mars brightest in 10 years, and Jupiter and Saturn show off. See Celestial Events for details.

   The Buddhist celebration of Wesak is observed in many countries this full moon. See Celebrations for details.

   I tried to find a frog and the moon in the same song. The closest I was able to get was Ernie from Sesame Street singing “I’d Like to Visit the Moon”. Cute! See The Moon in Song for details.

 Molly Hall offers us some timely insight for this full moon in Sagittarius. See Astrology for details.

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Moon Dates and Times

May’s full moon               Saturday May 21 21:15 UT; 5:15 pm EDT; 2:15 pm PDT; 11:15 am HAST
.                                            Sunday May 22 12:15 am IDT; 5:15 am AWST/PHT;  7:15 am AEST
June’s new moon            Sunday June 5 02:59 UT; 5:59 am IDT; 10:59 am AWST/PHT; 12:59 pm AEST
..                                          Saturday June 4 4:59 pm HAST;  7:59 pm PDT; 10:59 pm EDT
June’s full moon             Monday June 20 11:02 UT; 7:02 am EDT; 4:02 am PDT; 1:02 am HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 2:02 pm IDT; 7:02 pm AWST/PHT;  9:02 pm AEST
June solstice                    Monday June 20 22:34 UT; 6:34 pm EDT; 3:34 pm PDT; 12:34 pm HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 12:34 am IDT; 6:34 am AWST/PHT;  8:34 am AEST

[ref: Moon Phases]

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“Frog” Moon

The Lovers (Phil Wolstenholme)

   I decided to feature the “Frog Moon” again — as I did in my May post three years ago — this time inspired by the plethora of these little amphibians in the area I’m living in now.  I heard the small frogs start up their mating croaks in the nearby marshes in March. And now the big bull frogs are bellowing at the little lake I jog around every evening.

  Whereas there is usually general agreement among the various Native American traditions as to which month a particular moon name is associated with, there doesn’t seem to be such concurrence for “Frog Moon”. According to Western Washington University’s American Indian Moons, the Omaha of the Central Plains called the March moon little frog moon, the Assiniboine of the Northern Plains called the April moon frog moon, while the Cree gave this moniker to the May moon, because this is the time that frogs become active in the Northern Plains and Canada.

   While some of this disparity can of course be attributed to the attempt to overlay the months of our solar calendar on the completely independent movements of Ms. Luna, I think we also have to take into account how far north or south a particular tribe lived. Considering that the Cree people did and do live in the Northern Plains and Canada, it’s probably too cold there for the little Anura to consider breeding before May.

Frogs as Bioindicators

Frog Species (Wikipedia)

Frog Species (Wikipedia)

   Whether you think of frogs as cute little creatures, slimy noise-makers, or poisonous threats, it turns out they are one of our best “canaries in the coal mine” when it comes to showing us the health of our environment. They are particularly sensitive to imbalances in the ecosystem — with populations now declining worldwide at unprecedented rates. You can find out more at Save the Frogs! and EcoHearth.

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   This full moon will be a “true” blue moon, true in the sense that it will be the third of four full moons in this season – fulfilling the original definition of “blue moon”, being an actual astronomical event. Nothing unusual to see – just a name that people made up. There can be only one of this type of blue moon in any calendar year, and there will be only three more of this type in the next seven years: 2019, 2021, and 2024. We dissected and discussed Blue Moons at length in previous posts. For some fun and to delve into this more deeply, click on over to my August 2013 and July 2015 posts.
(ref: Time and Date’s “What Is a Blue Moon?“)


   Mars Bright in Opposition and Perigee | Jupiter and Saturn Also Glowing


  “Opposition” describes when the Earth is in line between two celestial objects; that is, the two objects are on opposite sides of the Earth. Mars comes into opposition (with the Sun) approximately once every two years (because Earth’s orbit is smaller and faster). “Perigee” means “closest to Earth”. Near the time of opposition, Mars also reaches perigee, as you can see in this simplified diagram. This makes the Red Planet appear particularly bright.

Mars Oppositions

Mars Oppositions (CBC News)

   On Sunday (May 22) the Red Planet will come into opposition again. We say our Moon is “full” when it is in opposition, so we could say we will be witnessing a “full Mars” (although nobody calls it that). This opposition will be its brightest in over ten years, rivaling Jupiter (though very evidently redder).  It will be even closer and brighter in 2018, but why wait?!

   Being in opposition, Mars will rise at sunset, peaking in the sky around midnight. Since it doesn’t move that quickly, you will be able to observe bright Mars for many days before and after opposition. While you will be able to spot it with your naked eyes, a pair of good binoculars will make an even bigger impression. For more details, see Brightest Mars in 10 Years by EarthSky, and Mars at Perigee from In-the-Sky.

Night Sky May 22 (EarthSky)

Night Sky May 22 (EarthSky)

   Accompanying Ares (Greek name for Mars) in the night sky, you will also be able to see Jupiter and Saturn glowing brightly. See May 2016 Guide to the 5 Bright Planets by EarthSky for more details.


   Perigee will occur on May 30.  Quoting from “Mars at Perigee” on “Although every opposition of Mars is associated with a perigee, the two events typically occur a few days apart owing to the significant ellipticity of Mars’s orbit.”

   Quoting from NASA: “In 2016, the planet Mars will appear brightest from May 18 to June 3.” Here is a diagram from NASA’s “Mars In Our Night Sky“:

Mars-Sky-Viewing-May 2016

Mars Sky Viewing May 2016 (NASA

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   This full moon highlights the Eastern celebration of Wesak (Vesak, Vesākha or Buddha Purnima), at which time people who follow the Buddhist tradition in many countries celebrate the time when the Buddha reached enlightenment; thus regarding this full moon as the most powerful of the year. Sometimes informally called “Buddha’s Birthday”, it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and passing away (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha.

The Colors of Sri Lanka! (by PS Harshendra)

The Colors of Sri Lanka! (PS Harshendra)

   Many festivals are held surrounding this day, often beginning days ahead and continuing for days afterward, and always full of color. The actual dates of celebration vary by country and local tradition; many celebrated it last month on the full moon in April. More interesting details at Malaysia Public Holidays and Wesak Festival Global Meditation.

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“I’d Like to Visit the Moon”

Ernie I Don't Wan't to Live on the Moon

Ernie “I Don’t Wan’t to Live on the Moon”

   I tried to find a frog and the moon in the same song. I was thinking Kermit from Sesame Street, but the closest I was able to get was Ernie singing “I’d Like to Visit the Moon”. Cute! Here is the first stanza:

Well I’d like to visit the moon,
On a rocket ship high in the air.
Yes, I’d like to visit the moon,
But I don’t think I’d like to live there.

[See the complete lyrics here.]

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Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

  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. She will enter Scorpio on Thursday and then Sagittarius on Saturday (less than 3 hours before technical fullness), and will remain there until Monday, when she will begin moving into Capricorn.

Moon Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is moving from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. You can find interesting VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley’s.  

Sagittarius Full Moon

Molly Hall ~  

Sagittarius Full Moon ~ “Retro Arrows”

Tree arrow (Colin Anderson / Getty Images)

Tree arrow (Colin Anderson)

   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 Sagittarius and the various planets in retrograde to tell us about the bright and sunny outlook available to us:

   Bright and sunny Sagittarius is a cure-all for those times when it feels like the walls are closing in. It’s jovial bounce in the habitual rhythm of the everyday. It’s possible to…have an exhilarating breakthrough.

   A Sagittarius Full moon is one for illuminating visions … [and]…break through stifling conditioning. In the days leading up to the Full Moon and after, entertain possibilities that give you that tingle inside, the zing of optimism.

   Hopefully that gives you the flavor of Molly’s post for this moon. For all the juicy details, click through to “Sagittarius Full Moon ~ Retro Arrows”

   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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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.

Sagittarius Full Moon

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If you like something you see here, or have an idea about something you’d like to see covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting to share about the Earth, Moon, or Stars, 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 June, here’s wishing all of us a month of blooming and exhilaration!

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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 so request.

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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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