November’s Gathered Super Full Moon

Happy November Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 11 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!

(click any of these section links)


   If you’re new here and would like to learn first more about what’s going on here, click on Me to You to jump to my Intro section. (There’s a link there that will take you back to the above table of contents when you are ready.)


   The moon will become technically full Monday November 14 at 13:52 UT
, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UT-Universal Time.)

  Because technical fullness will occur this time in the middle of the day at the Prime Meridian, the cusp this time will fall around Iceland’s meridian, and thus Ms. Luna will appear there equally full both Sunday and Monday nights. Further west to the International Date Line will see closer to maximum fullness on Sunday night, while Monday night will favor folks east of the cusp. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   Remember though that since she appears full up to twelve hours either side of technical fullness, people almost everywhere will get a full show both Sunday and Monday nights. The closer you approach the Date Line from the east, Sunday night will be favored, while from the west side of the Line it will be Monday. Of course, all this depends on whether you are an early evening observer or a wee hours/early morning observer. So let’s just go out both nights and howl.

   This month we’re departing from the plant and tree moon name themes we’ve featured since June, and turning to the theme of Gathering in Gratitude. Check out Moon Names for the full story and some pics.

Dark Night Moon

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   The second in the current triad of “super” moons, this one will be the “superest” since 1948. (But not by enough that you will be able to discern.) Check out the Skywatch section for the details.

   Continuing the journey we began in our July issue, here’s the next installment in my attempt to pique your interest in how our nearest sky neighbor shakes, rattles, and rolls. As noted in July when we began this new adventure, since the details of this rather large subject can become complex, we’re approaching it in small, simple steps. Here’s the quiz question for this month:

.Q: In what way does the Moon orbit the Earth?

Full disclosure: this may be a trick question. Click Moonmotion to see the “treat” of an answer.

   In this next installment of my new personal opinion section Just Sayin’, I continue the theme of All of Us with a song that just about everyone on Earth has heard and/or sung. I feel it is appropriate right now, given the tenor of recent times.

  Astrologers Æterna and Molly Hall offer us insight at this full moon in Taurus in Astrology. 

  In continuation of our new Humor section, Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) is dismayed when the predictions of his horoscope don’t materialize.

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Moon Dates and Times

November’s full moon    Monday Nov 14 13:52 UT; 3:52 am HAST; 5:52 am PST; 8:52 am EST
.                                            Monday Nov 14 3:52 pm IST; 9:52 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Tuesday Nov 15 12:52 am AEDT

November’s new moon  Tuesday Nov 29 12:18 UT; 2:18 am HAST; 4:18 am PST; 7:18 am EST
.                                            Tuesday Nov 29 2:18 pm IST; 8:18 pm AWST/PHT; 11:18 pm AEDT

December’s full moon    Wednesday Dec 14 00:06 UT; 2:06 am IST; 8:06 am AWST/PHT; 11:06 am AEDT
.                                            Tuesday Dec 13  7:06 pm EST; 4:06 pm PST; 2:06 pm HAST

December Solstice           Tuesday Dec 22  04:49 UT; 2:06 am IST; 8:06 am AWST/PHT; 11:06 am AEDT
.                                            Monday Dec 21  11:49 pm EST; 8:49 pm PST; 6:49 pm HAST

December’s new moon  Thursday Dec 29 06:53 UT; 8:53 am IST; 2:53 pm AWST/PHT; 5:53 pm AEDT
.                                            Thursday Dec 29 1:53 am EST
.                                            Wednesday Dec 28  8:53 pm HAST; 10:53 pm PST

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

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Gathering in Gratitude Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the season in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

Grateful Moon

Grateful Moon

   In previous Novembers we’ve featured a number of folk names this full moon has been and is known by. The prevailing name that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report is Beaver Moon – the full moon following the Hunter’s Moon. We honored this name in 2011 (November’s Full Beaver Moon), 2012 (November’s Falling Leaves Beaver Moon) and in 2013 (November’s Frosty Tiger Shark Moon).  In 2014 we featured the Full Frosty Freezing Moon, and last year it was the Freezing Rivers Full Moon.

  At least two tribes indigenous to North America named this full moon Moon When All Is Gathered In: the Tewa Pueblo (Southwest, New Mexico) and the San Juan Native Americans (Southwest) (refs: American Indian Moons, Everything Under the Moon.)

  While clearly the traditional reference is to gathering in the crops, I am taking liberty here to extend this to gathering in together in honoring and recognition of how we are better and stronger when we set aside our little differences and focus instead on how we are all similar. And how grateful we are not only for our bounty, but for each other.

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But Will You Be Able to Notice the Difference? 

  The full moon this month will be the second “super” moon in the current triad of full moons, beginning last month in October and ending next month in December. A lot of hay has been made around this coming “super” full moon, because that big ball of rock will loom closer to Earth at fullness than it has been since 1948, and won’t be as close again until 2034.

So What Exactly is a “Supermoon”?
   Because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical in shape, its distance from the Earth fluctuates throughout each month. Its closest approach is called “perigee” (meaning “nearest to Earth”). Quite regularly, perigee occurs near the time of a full moon, causing the moon to appear slightly larger and brighter than usual. On slightly rarer occasions, perigee and fullness occur within less than two hours of each other. That is the case this time.

   Astronomers have for a long time referred to the confluence of perigee and fullness as a “perigee full moon”. Then in 1979, astrologer Richard Nolle made up the term “super” moon, arbitrarily defining it as any full or new moon that is within 90% of perigee. That casts a fairly wide net, as you can surmise.

So What’s the Big Deal This Time?
This supermoon will be the closest to Earth since 1948, and will hold that record until 2034. But just like ads that shout “lowest price in town”, the real question is: “by how much?” If you can stand a tiny bit of number crunching, take a look at these distances of previous  full moons:

Year Date Distance
2011 March 19 356,575 km
2012 May 6 356,955 km
2013 June 23 356,991 km
2014 August 10 356,896 km
2015 September 28 356,877 km
 2016 November 14 356,509 km

   Compare 2011 with 2016. That’s only 66 km (41 mi) closer this time. As a percentage of the distance from us, 66 km is 0.0185%, or approximately two ten-thousandths closer than in 2011.

  In 1948, the full moon perigee was 356,461 km. In 2034, it will be 356,445 km. Comparing 1948 with 2016 (509-461 = 48 km) or 30 mi closer in 1948 than this time. As a percentage of the mean distance apart, that’s 0.0135%, or approximately one-and-a third ten-thousandths closer in 1948. Do you think you will be able to detect the difference?

What to Look for This Full Moon
   Though you won’t be able to distinguish this supermoon from other supermoons, you will be able to tell that it’s larger and brighter than when it’s an average full moon.

Supermoon vs. Average Moon

The supermoon of March 19, 2011 (right), compared to an average moon of December 20, 2010 (left). Image via Marco Langbroek, the Netherlands, via Wikimedia Commons.

  And as with any full moon, super or not, your best bet to be impressed by bigness will be when Ms. Luna is near the horizon. And if you want to be able to tell your grandchildren you saw it at its biggest, catch her somewhere between perigee (about an hour and a half just before technical fullness) and fullness. Check Seasonal Calendar, above, or TimeandDate for technical fullness times in your time zone. Subtract an hour and a half to determine perigee time. For moonrise and moonset times, go to this TimeandDate page. (Remember that at the full moon, the moon rises as the sun sets, and sets as the sun rises.)

  For lots more on the where/when/how/why of this phenomenon, plus some interesting photos, check out these web pages:
EarthSky   |   Snopes   |   Farmer’s Almanac   |   Space   |   NASA

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The Dance of the Earth and Moon

    Q: In what way does the Moon orbit the Earth?
    A: Trick question because, in actuality, the Earth and Moon dance together around their common center of mass. Now, aren’t you glad you asked?

The Earth-Moon Barycenter
   Though it is common to say that the Moon orbits the Earth, in fact they both orbit their common center of mass, known as the “Earth-Moon barycenter.”

Barycenter and the Two-Body Problem

   Gravity is the master dance caller in the universe. Technically speaking, the Earth, Moon and Sun are partners in a complex 3-way dance, because each one is influenced by the gravitational fields of the other two. (If you want to polish the pebble, you would include Jupiter, too, because of its very large mass.)

   For general purposes, people usually consider the Earth and Moon as an example of what is known as the Two Body Problem, of which there are innumerable examples in our galaxy alone. Other examples of two bodies orbiting a common center of mass include all the binary star systems. Closer to home, Jupiter and the Sun dance around their own common center of mass, which btw lies outside the Sun’s perimeter.

  Below is a simplified diagram of what’s going on between Earth and the Moon. If you want to delve more deeply into this subject (and see some animations), see the article “Barycenter” (Wikipedia).

Earth-Moon Barycenter Diagram

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Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in July’s issue to offer a more unifying perspective on the troubles and pain we humans continue to inflict on each other. Many poets have expressed how calming the moon can be, due ~ among other things ~ to her perspective from above, her constant blessing of us while we deal with chaos below, and also to her silence. (See Just Sayin’ in July’s issue for my expansion on this point of view.)

   This perspective sees all of us as equal passengers on this bright blue marble. My July, August, September and October posts offered songs in a variety of styles I’d found expressing this idea. I think this theme of inclusivity and dissolving the artificial barriers we’ve created between us is so crucial to saving us from ourselves, I’ve continued it this month with a song from my generation, Imagine by John Lennon of the Beatles. Click the photo to open the YouTube page where you can watch and listen to him singing it – with Yoko Ono by his side.

“Imagine” John Lennon (with Yoko Ono)


Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

   Click this AZLyrics link for the full lyrics.

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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.

Moon in Signs and Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is in transition 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. Each astrologer chooses their own method for calculating times of beginning and ending VoC. You can find interesting (though differing) VoC info and tables at Dr. Standley and at Moontracks.

   Referencing the Moontracks table, we find that Ms. Luna will enter the sign of Taurus on Sunday (13th) at 02:23; she will remain there until she becomes full on Monday (14th) at 13:52, at which time she will begin exiting Taurus and (according to Moontracks) become VoC. She will then enter the next sign, Gemini, the next day Tuesday (15th) at 01:23. (Times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Taurus

Æterna ~  

Taurus Full Moon
“Spirits in the Material World”

   Æterna is a professional astrologer based in Italy, who also runs her own website Aeternalight Astrology “The Cosmic Path to a Conscious Life”, where she claims introspection and compassionate understanding as two of the major assets she brings to her astrology practice.

   For this full moon in Taurus, Æterna addresses the “very real concerns we have to deal with while walking our spiritual path.” Insightful and reflective, Æterna brings in an astrological perspective:

Now is the time to talk about Taurus, its organic, calming energy, its unapologetic affirmation of the importance of our bodily dimension. Its link with the basic conditions that allow us to survive and thrive, as spiritual beings, in a material world. Its rulership over everything we’re still allowed to care about even as spiritually minded people – financial self-sustenance, material goods. 

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest in taking a look at Æterna’s full article: Full Moon in Taurus – Spirits in the Material World. Because her style is both sensitive and pithy, you will want to set aside some quiet time to read and reflect on what she writes. 

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Molly Hall ~  

Super Full Moon in Taurus ~ Earthing Possibilities

   Molly Hall is resident astrologer at, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from traditional interpretations of the positions of the stars and planets.

   For this super moon in Taurus, Molly says:

Deep longings surface, and desires are strong, [and] the chances for practical magic are high. That means shifting a situation at a deep level, or tapping soul wisdom for the answer to an everyday issue. Take time to settle into those deeply relaxed states that allow you to ally with the natural world, the Earth and its rhythms.

   Intriguing and practical at the same time. Additionally, Molly offers a forecast for Taurus in each of the twelve Houses. To get the full 4-1-1 on this full moon, check out Molly’s article “Taurus Full Moon ~ Earthing Possibilities“.

   In addition to her insights around full moons, Molly offers the following helpful articles:

   Also visit Molly’s front page for lots more interesting astrology.

Full Moon in Taurus

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Calvin and Hobbes: Bewildered with Science

   In this fifth installment of the Calvin and Hobbes series we began in July, Calvin is dismayed with the (non-)results of his horoscope’s predictions . . .

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

   If you especially liked 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. And please don’t be shy about sharing this post with friends if you like it!

   Note that I have a separate post 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 December,
here’s wishing all of us a month of inner calm and humor.

~ Moonlight to all,

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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 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 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.


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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