July’s Three Sisters Moon

Happy(??) July Full Moon

Welcome to Issue 7 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!

IN THIS ISSUE
(click any of these section links)

CURRENT EVENTS and THE MOON

  Why the (??) with Happy? While this isn’t the first time in human history that a large number of people have become unhappy, upset and agitated, it’s in our face now, and that’s what matters because now is all we have.

   Of the many reasons I write about the Moon, my original and still primary reason is to call people’s attention — even if for just a moment — to something that is both bigger than all of us and also represents something that is common to all of us, and therefore potentially uniting. It’s this all of us aspect that feels important to me — especially right now — if we as a species are ever to live in peace with each other — or even survive.

  With this in mind, I decided to add an opinion section to this blog that I’m calling Just Sayin’. Maybe not every issue . . . we’ll see. In this issue it’s about All of Us. I’m not going to leap into the fray of politics or social unrest in this blog — there’s more than enough of that available elsewhere. What I am going to focus on are attitudes and actions ~ contemplated or being taken today ~ that have the potential to affect life on Earth over the longer term — many generations ahead, as some wiser cultures have done . . . and do.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’

  OK – I admit it . . . I made up Three Sisters Moon for this month’s name. I explain all in Moon Names.

FULLNESS
   The moon will become full Tuesday, July 19, at 22:57 UT, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for clarification about UT-Universal Time.)

  Because technical fullness will occur this time close to midnight at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Tuesday night most everywhere on Earth. Not to stress, though, if you have clouds that night ~ she will appear to be full on both Monday and Wednesday nights, as well. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

MOON NAMES
   I derived Three Sisters Moon from a couple of Native American traditional names. The whole story in Moon Names.

STARWATCH
   There actually is a star grouping that some peoples call the Three Sisters. Can you guess what this (rather famous) set of three stars is? Click down to Starwatch for the answer.

SKYWATCH
   The famous Perseid meteor showers return, peaking on August 12! Check Skywatch for details.

MOON MOTION QUIZ
   We’re going to see if we can get a little more awareness of how our nearest sky neighbor shakes, rattles, and rolls. As the details of this rather large subject can become complex, we’re going to approach it in small, simple steps. Here’s the beginner’s question for this month:
.              Q: From what direction does the moon rise? And in what direction does it set?
See Moonmotion for the answer.

JUST SAYIN’
   In this debut of my new personal opinion section Just Sayin’, I embrace the theme of All of Us with an appropriate song — the first in a series that I will be featuring in succeeding issues.

MOON IN SONG
   Playing off the Three Sisters theme, I chose a song about the moon by a famous sisters quartet ~ who in this instance numbered three. (Can you guess who they might be from this hint?)

ASTROLOGY
   Molly Hall offers some timely insight for this full moon in Capricorn. 

HUMOR
  In our new Humor section, Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) checks his horoscope.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR
Moon Dates and Times

July’s full moon             Tuesday July 19 22:57 UT; 6:57 pm EDT; 3:57 pm PDT; 12:57 pm HAST
.                                          Wednesday July 20 1:57 am IDT; 6:57 am AWST/PHT;  8:57 am AEST
August’s new moon      Tuesday August 2 20:44 UT; 11:44 pm IDT;
.                                          Tuesday August 2 4:44 pm EDT; 1:44 pm PDT; 10:44 am HAST
.                                          Wednesday August 3 4:44 am AWST/PHT; 6:44 am AEST
August’s full moon        Thursday August 18 09:27 UT; 5:27 am EDT; 2:27 am PDT
.                                          Thursday August 18 12:27 pm IDT; 5:27 pm AWST/PHT;  7:27 pm AEST
.                                          Wednesday August 17 11:27 pm HAST

Check out Moon Giant to see Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone.

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MOON NAMES

Three Sisters Moon

    Many cultures in both hemispheres 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.

 The full moon in July is known by a wide variety of names. In past July’s I’ve featured Thunder MoonHorse Moon, Mead MoonPeaches Moon, and Hay Moon — with a wealth more still to discover. Even so, I’m starting to take more license in picking names for full moons. This month I’m calling it the Three Sisters Moon.

   I didn’t come up with this name out of thin air. The Cherokee on the East Coast of what is now the United States called the July moon kuyegwona, meaning “ripe corn moon“.

Har-Selu, Corn Mother, Goddess of the Harvest

Har-Selu, Corn Mother, Goddess of the Harvest (Steven Tyler)

   I found the above photo-art by steventylerrocks on RunTimeDNA. The caption there reads as follows:

“Selu is the Cherokee name for the Corn Mother who is worshiped by nearly all Native American tribes. She is called by many names but almost all literally translate to “Corn Mother” “Corn Maiden” or “Corn Woman.” often the name the Corn Mother Goddess is known by is used as the common word for ‘corn’ as well. Selu is the Goddess of the Harvest of course, but also wisdom, magic, hunting and various other domains.” 

      All very interesting news to me.

  Then I discovered (at American Indian Moons) that some of the Algonquin (northeastern U.S. to the Great Lakes) knew this moon as matterllawaw kesos, meaning “squash are ripe“.

Squash under Full Moon (HerbMentor)

Squash Under Full Moon (HerbMentor)

   Hmmm. Corn and squash. You may know that indigenous peoples on the North American continent (and possibly elsewhere, too) figured out long ago that planting corn, squash, and beans together helped all three grow better. They called them the Three Sisters because they got along so well. This was an early development of what we now call symbiotic gardening or companion planting. I have yet to find a full moon named after any kind of bean, but as my dad used to say: two outta three ain’t bad.

   The idea that three sisters can not only get along together but actually benefit each other through their companionship, is also emblematic of the All of Us theme in this month’s My Thoughts section.

   Here’s a diagram of a three sisters planting, and a photo of a maturing three sisters garden.

Three Sisters planting diagram

Three Sisters planting diagram

 

Three Sisters Garden

Three Sisters Garden

   Annd … a bowl of a three sisters soup — one of my favorites:

Three Sisters soup

Three Sisters soup

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STARWATCH

Three Sisters in the Stars

  When you think of three stars together, what comes to mind?

   Of course ~ it’s Orion . . . one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. The three stars we’re talking about are the bright diagonal set that make up Orion’s belt. While this trio of stars is known by various names in different cultures, Afrikaans speakers in South Africa refer to this asterism as Drie Susters (Three Sisters) [Wikipedia].

   In case you were wondering, an asterism is a named pattern of stars that’s not one of the 88 officially recognized modern constellations. It may be part of an official constellation or it may be composed of stars from more than one constellation. [See Wikipedia “Asterism” for more.]

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SKYWATCH

The Famous Perseid Meteor Showers ~ Now Through Aug 23

  I added an abbreviated Perseid Skywatch section to this issue two days after it was published, so if you were an “early viewer”, you probably didn’t see it. Below is the expanded version – with an update from Friday down below.

   “Shooting stars” or “falling stars” (in español lluvia de estrellas “rain of stars”) the Perseids are arguably the favorite of the Northern Hemisphere meteor-watching set, both because they can put on quite a show and because it’s “summertime and the viewin’ is easy”. The show this year promises to be more spectacular than usual because the pros say they’ll be in “outburst” mode ~ the last time being 2009.  They are thus expected to appear at twice their typical rate at their peak Thursday night/Friday morning.

Meteor Shower (composite)

   Space.com quotes NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke: “This year, instead of seeing about 80 Perseids per hour, the rate could top 150 and even approach 200 meteors per hour.” According to my calculator, that’s 2 1/2 to 3 per minute, or approximately one every 18 to 24 seconds.

   Will it look like the above picture? No ~ that photo is a composite of frames taken over an hour or so. Each individual streak in the sky will look more like this:

Perseid meteor 2015 (eltiempo.es)

Perseid meteor 2015 (eltiempo.es)

  There’s no sound accompanying them, so it’s an entirely different experience than watching/hearing earthbound fireworks. If you’re moved by the silent spectacularness of nature, then this would be for you.

Where and how
.   A dark sky ~ any place away from city lights where you can see most of the open sky ~ the darker the better. (Of course, a clear sky without clouds is the best, but even with scattered clouds you can still see a lot.) A lawn chair that you can tilt way back or lie flat on, or a blanket on the ground are your best setup. You won’t need binoculars; they would in fact get in the way.

   Here is a diagram showing where to aim your head. Although meteors can streak just about anywhere, the radiant or apparent source of all Perseids is from the top of the constellation Perseus.

Perseid radiant location

Perseid radiant location (Sky & Telescope)

   I like this diagram because it locates Perseus in relation to Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia is one of the most conspicuous constellations right now because of her bright stars that sit in the shape of a recognizable “W”.

When
.   Although Earth entered the outer edge of Comet Swift-Tuttle’s orbital path (and thus its debris trail that is the source of the Perseid meteors) on July 17, their frequency is increasing now, with computer models predicting the main show in the wee hours before dawn on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (11, 12, and 13), with the expected outburst beginning Thursday evening and running into Friday morning.  
If you’re a graphy kind of person, here is a chart of predicted Perseid performance:

Perseids predicted ZHR (2016) [NASA]

Predicted Perseids ZHR (2016) [Bill Cooke NASA]

   Note that the ZHR (zenithal hourly rate ) (quoting now from the U.K.’s Telegraph website) “…is a normalised quantity based on how many meteors you’d see under perfect conditions watching the whole sky with the radiant directly above your head. The true visual rate will be lower and you can expect to see anywhere between 20-50 meteors per hour around Perseid maximum.” Note that while the rate drops precipitously after Aug 12, the show will continue in a less dramatic way all the way to Aug 23. So if you’re out before dawn on any of these warm summer nights, there’s natural entertainment awaiting you.

    So there you have it. Because of the space mechanics involved (the leading side of Earth “scoops up” these tiny grains of sand as it passes through the comet’s debris trail), your best bet is in the window from around midnight until dawn wherever you are, although people have been reporting sightings as early as 10 pm. And this year, though the moon will not exactly be cooperating to her fullest (as she will be waxing gibbous), she will be setting around midnight to 2 a.m. this week, so not a show-stopper. (You can check mooonrise and moonset times where you are by going to Time and Date and plugging in your location.)

  If you’re still with us and interested in more details, good sites are space.com,  EarthSky, Sky&Telescope, and this Washington Post article. Or just search for “Perseids”.

   Happy viewing!

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   [Update Friday 12 Aug]
.   I stayed out until 3am this morning and was rather disappointed. I went out to a hill near me where I had a view of the entire dome of the sky. In an hour’s span I saw just three bright streaks and two dim ones. Nice, but not the flurry I was expecting. Here are some mediating factors that affected my viewing and may be of interest to you.

   Transparency and darkness:  Most of the meteors are of the faint type, as they are produced by the smaller grains of sand that constitute the bulk of the comet’s debris trail. To see these, you must have access to a completely clear and dark sky, not compromised by city lights or moonlight. Additionally, you need to give yourself about 20 minutes to accustom your eyes to the dark.
.   In my case this morning there were a few spotty thin clouds and, while I wasn’t surrounded by city lights, there was a city area below me only about a mile away. So even though the sky dome above me looked black, it wasn’t the deep black of the clear, dark sky I recall from the desert the last time I went Perseid hunting.
.  
So how can you tell how dark and clear your sky is? The best way is to judge by the density of stars you can see. Here is a good visual comparison, courtesy of the L.A. Times:

Dark sky comparisons (LA Times)

Dark sky comparisons (L.A. Times)

   What I had was the “Suburban sky”. That means I could make out prominent star formations, such as Cassiopeia, but it wasn’t dark enough to allow fainter stars to be visible. Thus I probably was missing a bunch of fainter meteors. I was treated to three fiery streaks, so that was cool! I may look again tomorrow if I get myself up early enough before dawn.

   I hope you got to see some! We’ll track meteor showers in the future and let you know about any promising ones.

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MOON MOTION

 Moonrise and Moonset

   Quiz answer: So where do you look to see the moon rise and set? If you said “east” and “west” (respectively), you would get points, but not an ‘A’; as with most things astronomy-wise, it’s not quite that simple.

   The moon rises from an easterly direction for the same reason the sun does: the spin of Earth on its axis has us all twirling toward the east, so it is on the eastern horizon that objects in the sky appear first, and the western horizon where they disappear.

   Similar to the sun’s apparent motion, the position of moonrise varies with the seasons, due of course to the tilt of Earth’s axis. Complicating this, though, is the Moon’s orbiting around Earth. Thus moonrise varies from northeast to east to southeast, and moonset varies from southwest to west to northwest – – as do sunrise and sunset, but on a more rapidly changing cycle. Below is a more complete tabulation of these directions, courtesy of Cornell Astronomy’s Curious Team

Season Postion of Moonrise/set
 Phase> NEW 1st FULL 3rd
Winter Southeast/Southwest East/West Northeast/Northwest East/West
Spring East/West Northeast/Northwest East/West Southeast/Southwest
Summer Northeast/Northwest East/West Southeast/Southwest East/West
Autumn East/West Southeast/Southwest East/West Northeast/Northwest

   Note that the amount of variation will depend on viewing latitude. Also note that these directions are for the Northern Hemisphere; in the Southern Hemisphere the north-south directions are inverted.

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JUST SAYIN’

All of Us

   Perhaps sounding a bit political, but not really, as politics usually involves taking sides, and I believe that taking sides only contributes to and prolongs the pain of deep wounds we all carry from a very long past of “us vs. them”, like a multi-generation family feud that no one can remember the origin of. Every human on Earth feels this pain in one form or another. Fighting about it will never make the pain go away.

   To me, anything that is unifying helps us see we are all passengers in the same boat, and thus helps open compassion ~ for ourselves and for each other. That’s not so easy to see while we’re looking down at our own feet, but if we look up ~ or look down from way above ~ the perspective changes. The Moon and stars offer such a perspective. 

   I knew I wanted to feature a song about this here. My challenge became that I now have four songs all on this theme . . . and probably more coming. So I’m going to present one at a time in a series over subsequent months. Hopefully one of them will grab you. Of course, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment!

   This time I chose an oldie:

“The Moon Belongs to Everyone ~ The Best Things In Life Are Free

   I found a recording on YouTube of Ol’ Blue Eyes singing this song on a radio show, but apparently never pressed into a record. Click on the photo to be taken to the YouTube page where you can hear it.

Frank Sinatra "The Best Things"

Frank Sinatra “The Best Things”

   I guess it’s pretty obvious why I chose this song this time. Here’s the first stanza:

The moon belongs to everyone
The best things in life are free
The stars belong to everyone
They gleam there for you and me

You can see the complete lyrics on this songlyrics page.

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THE MOON IN SONG

A Moon Song by Three Sisters

   Rounding out our Three Sisters theme, I looked for a song about the moon sung by a sister trio. There weren’t as many as I had hoped, and of the ones I did find most were not exactly uplifting. But I lucked out and found the Lennon Sisters on an old Lawrence Welk show. Do you remember them? I remember all four of them when they were quite young and just starting out back in 1955. Luckily for this search I found three of them singing “Moon River”, so that counts as Three Sisters, yes? Click on the photo to watch and hear a YouTube clip of their performance on The Lawrence Welk Show in 1965.

'Moon River' Lennon Sisters

‘Moon River’ by the Lennon Sisters

   Audrey Hepburn made “Moon River” famous when she introduced it to the world in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). With music by Henry Mancini and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, it won both Academy and Grammy awards. Subsequently covered by many other artists, Andy Williams adopted it as the theme song for his TV show [Wikipedia]. Click on the poster below to see a clip from the movie with Audrey singing this song.

If you’re interested in the lyrics, you can see them here.

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ASTROLOGY

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.

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 Moontracks.

   Referencing the above tables, we find that Ms. Luna will be VoC Sunday from early morning until mid-afternoon, when she then enters Capricorn. She will remain in Capricorn until she reaches the moment of technical fullness on Tuesday (see Moon Dates and Times, above, for times in some representative time zones) and right then will begin leaving Capricorn, remaining void until 11:10 pm Tuesday night when she will enter Aquarius, remaining there until Thursday night. (Times here in EDT.)

Full Moon in Capricorn

Molly Hall ~  

Capricorn Full Moon in the Houses
Earthed Changes — Which Life Sphere?

   Molly Hall is resident astrologer at about.com, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from traditional interpretations of the positions of the stars and planets. Molly tells us this Capricorn full moon focuses us on Earthly Power and illuminates:

Survival themes, wisdom of experience, strong roots and traditions, spiritual ambition and wise actions. A key is finding traction, a weight for the feet, from the awareness of practical realities — without being dragged down by it to a point of inertia.

   Hopefully that gives you the flavor of Molly’s post for this moon. For more details ~ including forecasts for each House ~ click through to “Capricorn Full Moon in the Houses”

   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.

Capricorn Full Moon

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HUMOR

Wondering About Astrology

   Friend Ken, a dyed-in-the-cashmere fan of Calvin and Hobbes, let me know about a series of cartoons by Bill Watterson that poke fun at astrology.  While Ken didn’t come right out and dare me, he did make it plain that he didn’t think I would be of a mind to post any of them here.

  Well, I like a laugh as much as the next guy, so here we go, Ken. There are six in this series – I’ll publish one each month for the rest of this year.

Calvin and Hobbes on Astrology

Calvin Decides to Believe in Astrology

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FROM ME TO YOU

    Thank you, dear reader, for visiting EM&S this “moonth”. I hope you liked it.

   If you especially liked (or disliked) something you saw 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.

   Note that I now have a separate page called ARCHIVES which contains a list of all the titles I’ve posted since the inception of this blog. The titles are clickable, of course. Easier and more informative than just the dates that appear in the right-side Archives column. (I’m slowly learning more things I can make WordPress do. There’s a lot there!)

Until the full moon in August,
here’s wishing all of us a month of
wisdom and realizing big dreams!
~ Moonlight to all!
Marty

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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 the astrologers I feature 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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A NOTE ON WRITING STYLE

    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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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

   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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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when known. If there is content 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 item in question and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.

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

2 Responses to July’s Three Sisters Moon

  1. M. Lou says:

    Aquarianman, thank you for continuing to improve on what is already a very interesting and informative blog. I love the inclusion of Calvin and Hobbes and look forward to reading more of your personal thoughts. I appreciate your info about the upcoming Perseid Meteor Showers due to be in “outburst” in August. I saw some spectacular pics on the site you linked to, space.com. Thanks again!

    • aquarianman says:

      Thank you for your gracious comments, M. Lou. Happy you are liking the improvements here. I welcome any ideas you or anyone who visits here have for making the blog even spiffier!

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