February’s Hungry Heart Full Moon 2017

Welcome February Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 2 of Volume IX 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 we’re up to, 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.)


   My Hungry Heart theme this month didn’t come to me in a flash; it revealed itself in stages and then went running through the whole post, especially these sections: Moon Names, Moon Poetry, and Just Sayin’.

 The moon will become technically full Saturday February 11 at 00:33 UTC, 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 UTC and 24-hour time.)

   Because exact fullness will occur this time just after midnight Saturday at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Friday night/early Saturday morning almost everywhere on Earth. Folks just west of the International Date Line (Philippines, Australia, etc.) will get an approximately equal show Friday and Saturday nights. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   The Lunar New Year culminates with the Lantern Festival on the night of the full moon. This is also when Tu B’Shevat begins. See the Celebrations section for pics and details.

   We’ve featured Snow Moon – the most popular name for this full moon – in a number of previous years, so this time I’m combining a lesser-known name with one I adopted myself…and like for a variety of reasons. Check out Moon Names and see what you think.

February Snow Moon

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SKYWATCH ~ Penumbral Lunar Eclipse | Comet-45P
   [1] At fullness the Moon will pass through the penumbra of Earth’s shadow. Not a big show, but may be interesting to some. [2] An annular solar eclipse at the time of the next new moon. [3] A chance to catch a comet on fly-by. [4] A reminder of the spectacular total solar eclipse this August that will cut right across the midsection of the United States. Click through to Skywatch for details.

   Two moon poems this time, capturing the mood of February (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), and fitting in nicely with this issue’s theme. Take a trip to the Moon Poetry section.

   In my opinion section, I continue the theme of All of Us with some words from me and another song that just about everyone knows. Methinks it never hurts to remind ourselves of what lives in the deepest part of all of us. Read and listen in the Just Sayin’ section.

  Astrologer Tanaaz offers us timely insight at this full moon and eclipse in Leo in Astrology. 

  In our Humor section, Calvin and Hobbes wonder at the night sky.

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Moon Dates and Times

February’s full moon       Saturday Feb 11 00:33 UTC; 2:33 am IST; 8:33 am AWST/PHT; 11:33 am AEDT
.                                             Friday Feb 10 8:33 pm AST; 7:33 pm EST; 4:33 pm PST; 2:33 pm HAST

February’s new moon     Sunday Feb 26 14:58 UTC; 4:58 pm IST; 10:58 pm AWST/PHT
.                                             Sunday Feb 26 10:58 am AST; 9:58 am EST; 6:58 am PST; 4:58 am HAST
.                                             Monday Feb 27 1:58 am AEDT

Daylight Time Begins    USA, Canada: Sunday March 12

March’s full moon          Sunday March 12 14:54 UTC; 4:54 pm IST; 10:54 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Sunday March 12 11:54 am ADT; 10:54 am EDT; 7:54 am PDT; 4:54 am HAST
.                                            Monday March 13 1:54 am AEDT

March Equinox               Monday March 20 10:29 UTC

Daylight Time Begins    Israel: Friday March 24  ||  United Kingdom: Sunday March 26

March’s new moon         Tuesday March 28 02:57 UTC; 5:57 am IDT; 10:57 am AWST/PHT; 1:57 pm AEDT
.                                            Monday March 27 11:57 pm ADT; 10:57 pm EDT; 7:57 pm PDT; 4:57 pm HAST

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

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Lantern Festival

   Last month we featured the Lunar New Year, officially known as the ‘Spring Festival‘ in China. The 15-day celebration culminates in the Lantern Festival on the night of the first full moon of the lunisolar New Year.

Lantern Festival on Full Moon

    The Lantern Festival will be celebrated in many countries this year on Saturday, February 11. (Refs: Wikipedia~Chinese New Year, Wikipedia~Chinese zodiac, Chinese Fortune Calendar)

Tu B’Shevat

   Tu B’Shevat is a minor Jewish holiday, also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot” – literally “New Year of the Trees”, which was historically related to the cycles of the fruit trees.  The modern name Tu B’Shevat is derived from the date on which it occurs: the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. This places it on or a day after the full moon, as the Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar, with each month beginning at a new moon. This year Tu B’Shevat will begin at sunset Friday (10 Feb) the night of the full moon, and finish at nightfall on Saturday (11 Feb). (More info: Chabad; Wikipedia)

Almond tree in blossom

Almond tree in blossom

Dried fruit and almonds

European Jews traditionally celebrate Tu B’Shevat by eating dried fruit and almonds.  Modern Israelis celebrate by planting trees in ecological awareness.

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Hungry Heart Moon

   As you know, many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Most of these names were appropriate for the season in which they occurred and were keyed to the goings-on in their natural environment.

   I think uplifting traditions are important — especially during troubled times — as they link us to thought lineages that, having marinated over time, have refined their wisdom to essentials. That’s one reason I like these various moon names — and not just the popular ones.

   Snow Moon is the most common name for the February full moon; we’ve featured it in previous years: “Glistening“(2011), “Moon of Snow“(2012), and “Icy Snowy” (2014).

Golden Snow Moon

   Many Native American tribes who used Snow Moon for the moon preceding this one gave the current full moon the name Hunger Moon, in obvious reference to the difficulty in finding food when hunting game was scarce and plants were covered with snow.

A Hungry Moon by Don Oelze

A Hungry Moon by Don Oelze

   I decided to take license again (poetic or otherwise, despite reader/friend Marc’s protestations) and am marrying Hunger Moon with Heart Moon, a name not typically associated with a particular full moon. It seems to me this is appropriate both to the season (with Valentine’s Day approaching) and to the current world situation, where it appears that compassion has retreated in favor of alienation.

   I missed showcasing Heart Moon when the full moon occurred on Valentine’s Day in 2014 (my penchant for adopting my own names hadn’t kicked in yet), and I don’t want to wait until the next time it will happen – 2033. If I’m still publishing EM&S then, I’ll name it Valentine Moon.

Goddess Moon

   So a Hungry Heart Moon. Many hearts are full at this season, while many others are hungry. Let’s give Ms. Luna a chance to help all our hearts become full.

   See the Moon Poetry section for some inspiration along these lines, and the Just Sayin’ section for perspective and some healing music.

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A Barely Noticeable Dusky Eclipse

  In last month’s Skywatch we listed the four eclipses (two solar and two lunar) on tap for 2017. Check it out for the details, especially about the big total solar eclipse in August.

  As we noted there, the full moon this month will experience passing through the penumbra of Earth’s shadow, from a couple of hours prior to technical fullness until a couple of hours after. See Seasonal Calendar above for fullness times in some representative time zones, or this TimeandDate page, where you can plug in the name of your city and see times and an animation. This eclipse will be a tiny bit deeper than the penumbral eclipse we described in last September’s Skywatch. Check it out if you are interested in more detail about penumbrals.

   Some people are excited about this eclipse, but yours truly isn’t. Why? The “penumbra” is the outer region of the shadow in which there is still light visible from the Sun. This produces only a dusky, half-lit shadow on the Moon — barely noticeable from here on Earth. It’s not like a “partial” eclipse, in which at least some of the moon is completely darkened by the shadow’s umbra (no light). (In all fairness to astrology – this is merely my perspective from a purely astronomy/observing viewpoint. See the Astrology section for a more refreshing interpretation.)

    Admittedly, this eclipse will be as dark as penumbrals can get, since all of the Moon’s face will be awash in this quasi-shadow area, sliding right up to the edge of the dark umbra, but not entering it. Quoting here from TimeandDate‘s page for this eclipse:

It is often difficult to tell the difference between a penumbral eclipse and a regular Full Moon. However, this eclipse [will be] easier to spot than an average penumbral eclipse because the Moon travels through the darkest areas of Earth’s penumbra, only just missing the umbra, the darkest part of the shadow.

   The best seats in the house will be in Eastern North America, and all of Central and South America. Check out this TimeandDate page for an animation that will give you an idea of what you can expect to see,  along with times and locations where this eclipse will be viewable.

   Sky and Telescope has an excellent page on this eclipse, too, with some helpful technical details.


Other Upcoming Eclipses

   In a more spectacular vein, the new moon this month (Feb 26) will produce a pretty amazing annular solar eclipse, but you will be able to see it only if you are in the southern tip of South America or southern/western Africa (or out at sea between them).

Path of Solar Eclipse (2-27-17) [TimeandDate]

Path of Solar Eclipse (2-26-17) [TimeandDate]

   Annular solar eclipses are “almost” total, but with an impressive “ring of fire” around the edge of the new moon. This TimeandDate page provides an animation and diagram that will show you the what, when and where, plus a live stream program. And you can watch a live telescope stream via the Slooh website.

   Don’t forget the total solar eclipse in August (🌶🌶🌶🌶).  Below I reproduce the list of the four 2017 eclipses, with my “hotness” ratings.

February 10-11   Lunar    Penumbral (barely noticeable) 🥒
.                                              Most of the Earth (except Australia, South Pacific and Northeast Asia

February 26        Solar      Annular 🌶
.                                              Parts of the Southern Hemisphere

August 7-8        Lunar     Partial (but less than a quarter) 🥒🥒
.                                             Eastern hemisphere

August 21         Solar        TOTAL  🌶🌶🌶🌶
.                                            Path cuts a swath across the belt line of North America!

More details? See EarthSky, Time and DateSky & Telescope, Eclipse 2017, Bustle, New Atlas.

Comet Fly-By

  Following the eclipse on Friday night, Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková will make its closest approach to Earth in its 5 1/4-year orbit around the Sun ~ at 10:30 p.m. EST. According to this article in the Washington Post, “The greenish comet will be visible by telescope and binoculars, but not to the naked eye.”

Comet-45P (NASA)

Comet-45P (NASA)

   For more details, times, photos, and diagrams on the eclipse and comet, see the following articles: Washington Post, UK’s Mirror, EarthSky.

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The Moon and I
by Mustafa Tattan

The Moon and I

Hunger Moon
by Jane Cooper

Hunger Moon

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Continuing the “All of Us” Theme

   I introduced this section in last 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, October, November, December and January posts offered songs I’d found expressing this idea in a variety of styles.

   This month the song picked me. As Hungry Heart evolved, it became clear to me that underlying all the pain and angst in this world lives the belief-conviction that love has somehow gone away. Not an original idea by any stretch — you can hear it from pop songs to sermons. But while it’s one thing to talk about it, it’s entirely different (and much more powerful) when it’s direct experience.

   For me, unification with Love is a big part of the experience of bathing in Ms. Luna’s light. And listening/moving to songs like this month’s featured: written by John Lennon and recorded by The Beatles, All You Need Is Love was released as a 45 rpm single (pictured below) in July 1967. According to the Wikipedia article on this song:
When asked in 1971 whether songs like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs, [Lennon] answered: “Sure. So was ‘All You Need Is Love’. I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.”

   Click the image of the record sleeve to open the YouTube page where you can listen to The Beatles sing this song.


There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where
You’re meant to be
It’s E-Z.

   Click this AZLyrics page for the full lyrics.

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Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

    Zipping Along. 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.

   Opposition. Some folks have wondered how the moon can be in one sign (Cancer, for example) when the “current” sign is something else (Capricorn, for example). The answer is that the current astrological sign that everyone is familiar with is the sign that the sun is in. (That is called your “sun sign” in astrology.) When the moon is full, it is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (“opposition”), so at fullness, the moon is in the sign that is opposite the current sun sign. The diagram of the Moon’s orbit in last August’s Moonmotion section will help you visualize opposition.

   Astrologers divide up their heaven into 12 equal pieces, like a pizza: 


   So you can see that when the sun is in the sign Capricorn, the full moon will be in the sign on the opposite side of the pizza . . . Cancer, in this example. Here’s a table that expresses the Moon’s opposition throughout the year, based on the above chart:


  Note that we are talking astrological signs here, not actual astronomical constellations; the constellations that you see in the sky have drifted over the eons and thus no longer line up with astrology’s signs. If you feel like diving into the details of signs and constellations, check out the series we did here in EM&S throughout 2014 on “Astronomy and Lore of the Zodiac”. You can sample its beginnings with the January ’14 issue

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 entered the sign of Cancer the Crab on Tuesday (7th) at 07:02, and began exiting Cancer — thus beginning VoC — Wednesday at 21:59. She will then enter the sign of Leo on Thursday at 09:41 and remain there through and after fullness, leaving Leo and becoming void again on Saturday at 05:52. Later that day she will enter the next sign, Virgo, at 13:51. (All times here are UT~Universal Time.)

Full Moon in Leo

Off On A Tangent

   Well, it looks like my usual go-to online astrologers have taken this full moon off, so I picked a new feed that looked promising in the hopes it might afford you some insight you may have been seeking.

Tanaaz ~  

Intuitive Astrology:
February Lunar Eclipse

   Tanaaz Chubb is a professional content writer and producer who, among a number of endeavors, manages and directs Forever Conscious – an online holistic community that focuses on spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.

 In her Intuitive Astrology post for this full moon and lunar eclipse, Tanaaz relates the following:

. . . [this] Eclipse in Leo represents the opening of a new gateway and a starting point into the energies of 2017. Eclipses act like doorways into different energy paths, and are powerful enough to transform, shift and change the direction and flow of your life. 

   Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest into taking a look at Tanaaz’ full article: February Lunar Eclipse 2017. There’s a lot of good material there – and on other pages on her website – so you will want to set aside some quiet time to read and digest.

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Leo Full Moon

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Calvin and Hobbes: What’s Up With the Stars?

   Found another Calvin and Hobbes on astrology that you might enjoy. Here C&H ponder a question that people have asked for eons . . .

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

   Here’s a little bit about me and what this blog is about. I’ve been fascinated with astronomy ever since I learned to read. I’m also interested in how objects in the heavens influence people. In this blog I collect facts and folklore (mostly from the Web) about our moon and other sky phenomena.

   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 March,
here’s wishing all of us a month of connection and love.

~ 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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