August’s Lightning Full Moon

Welcome August Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 8 of Volume IX of Earth, Moon and Stars!

(click any of these section links that interest you)


   In this crazy world, we all can use something to bring a sense of calm and ease. In addition to whatever works for you (music, a walk in nature, etc.), I find that looking up — at the moon, the stars — connects me with stillness and tranquility. (After all, the site where the first humans set foot on the Moon’s surface is called Tranquility Base.)


  The moon will become technically full Monday August 7 at 18:10 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 technical fullness will occur this time about six hours before midnight at the Prime Meridian, almost all places on the globe will see closest to a full moon Monday night. But since to an unaided eye she appears full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, you will be able to see what appears to be a full moon Sunday and Tuesday nights, as well. That gives you extra odds if you are dealing with potentially cloudy skies. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact dates/times in some representative time zones, and how to find date and time of exact fullness in your time zone.

   With all the weather going on in North America, I thought “lightning” would be appropriate.  Find out the who and what in Moon Names.

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   Just a quick mention of the Perseid meteors, which won’t be much of a show this year (despite the rampant rumors). See Starwatch .

   A final for viewing the  BIG SOLAR ECLIPSE on the 21st – even if you’re not on the direct path. Also some info on the partial lunar (moon) eclipse, that will not be visible from North America, but will be from most parts of South and East Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.  Click Skywatch for details.

   My personal opinion section is taking a bye this month. Wishing you a happy summer!

  Cristina in Zodiac Poetry and the astrologers at Dana’s Mooncircles have more personal insights into this Aquarius full moon. Drop in at Astrology to see what inspiration is waiting for you.

  Watch out for Planet Calvin. See Humor.

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Lightning Moon

   We’ve explored some great moon names for August in past issues: since 2011 we’ve featured Red & Sturgeon, Dog Days (2013 and 2015), Fruit & Ducks, and Berries & Cherries. If you are sweltering right now and could use a refreshing laugh, go visit the Yellow Dog Super Moon issue — does it for me every time.

   With all the wild weather and fires going on now, I thought the Neo-Pagan Lightning Moon was appropriate for this full moon. (I’ve also seen it as “Lightening”, which reader Marc tells me is the older Middle English spelling.)

   Did you know that Arizona has a monsoon season? Friends visiting there this week brought my attention to it. Turns out it’s not just Arizona, but southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Who knew? People living there, for sure, but not moi — until now. Another reason I love writing this blog. If you’re interested in more info on this, check out the Wikipedia article North American Monsoon.

The Lightning Moon looks down on peacefulness and destruction

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Moon Dates and Times

August’s full moon        Monday Aug 7 18:10 UTC; 3:10 pm ADT; 2:10 pm EDT
.                                         Monday Aug 7 11:10 am PDT; 8:10 am HAST; 9:10 pm IDT
.                                         Tuesday Aug 8 2:10 am AWST/PHT; 4:10 am AEST

Partial Lunar Eclipse   Monday Aug 7 18:20 UTC; 3:20 pm ADT; 2:20 pm EDT
.                                         Monday Aug 7 11:20 am PDT; 8:20 am HAST; 9:20 pm IDT
.                                         Tuesday Aug 8 2:20 am AWST/PHT; 4:20 am AEST

                                         (See SKYWATCH for details)

THE BIG ECLIPSE      The total solar eclipse visible across the United States
.                                        Monday Aug 21 16:48 UTC.  Touches down in the north Pacific Ocean at local sunrise.
                                               (See SKYWATCH for details on when and how you can see it from where you are)

August’s new moon      Monday Aug 21 18:30 UTC; 3:30 pm ADT; 2:30 pm EDT; 11:30 am PDT
.                                        Monday Aug 21 8:30 am HAST; 9:30 pm IDT
.                                        Tuesday Aug 22 2:30 am AWST/PHT; 4:30 am AEST

September’s full moon    Wednesday Sept 6 07:02 UTC; 4:02 am ADT; 3:02 am EDT; 12:02 am PDT
.                                            Wednesday Sept 6 10:02 am IDT; 3:02 pm AWST/PHT; 5:02 pm AEST
.                                            Tuesday Sept 5 9:02 pm HAST

September”s new moon   Wednesday Sept 20 05:30 UTC; 2:30 am ADT; 1:30 am EDT
.                                             Wednesday Sept 20 8:30 am IDT; 1:30 pm AWST/PHT; 3:30 pm AEST
.                                             Tuesday Sept 19 7:30 pm HAST; 10:30 pm PDT

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

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   It’s that time of year again for everyone’s favorite meteor show, the Perseids. Did you happen to hear the rumor about the “best Perseid shower in 96 years”? Unfortunately, it’s just that — a rumor. The timing this year is not ideal, as Ms. Luna will be washing out the night sky just when you want it to be dark for seeing meteor streaks. If you’re still interested, check out EarthSky’s article on the 2017 Perseids.

‘Skyfall’ — a 2015 composite by Matt Dieterich. (See EarthSky)

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   Well, it’s almost here! The eclipse on the 21st will sweep a narrow path across the entire country—the first time this has happened since 1918. There will be another one in 2024, but it will not cut a swath across the entire United States, as this year’s will. 

  While eclipses of the moon can usually be seen from over a broad range of locations around the Earth, the shadow that the Moon casts during a solar eclipse is, by comparison, very brief (on the order of minutes when the sun is completely covered by the moon) and narrow (on the order of 100 miles wide). 

  If you don’t already have plans to be under the path, you will still be able to see a partial if you’re anywhere in the 48 contiguous United States. This map by the L.A. Times shows the shadow’s path, and will also give you the distance to the path from any location in the country.

   To see what the event will actually look like from any location, check out this interactive simulation created by Google and the University of California, Berkeley. Type in a location or zip code and you will see how the eclipse will look from there, along with the times during the 3-hour period when you can see it. For some maps, details and references, check out the Skywatch sections in my JanuaryMay and June issues. And for loads more details, this TimeandDate page.

Total Solar Eclipse Progression

   Just one word of caution — except under certain conditions, you risk blindness if you stare at the sun with your eyes unprotected. Just after sunrise and just before sunset are okay. Also, if you’re fortunate enough to see the sun totally eclipsed, that’s safe, too. But as soon as the edge of its disc starts to appear, you’ve got to use protection. Regular sunglasses are not good enough. See this article, and/or do a search on how to watch the solar eclipse.

Total solar eclipse

Partial solar eclipse



   Have you noticed that a lunar eclipse always occurs about 2 weeks before or after a solar eclipse? This is because the lineup of the Moon’s orbit with the ecliptic that allows one, also remains around long enough to allow the other. (The ecliptic is so named because eclipses can occur only on this path that the sun appears to take.)

   The  lunar eclipse this time will occur at this full moon. (A lunar eclipse can occur only when the moon is full). This one will be just a partial, but will not be visible from the Americas. It will be visible from most parts of South and East Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. More details, if you’re interested, at this TimeandDate page.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

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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. Because at fullness the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (opposition), it is in the zodiac sign that is opposite the sign that the sun is in. February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

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. But as you might suspect, there are a number of ways of looking at and dealing with a VoC moon. Our most recent astrologer discovery Dana Gerhardt offers this interesting and encouraging outlook: “Fall into the Gap” on her Mooncircles website.   

   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 Capricorn on Friday (4th) at 00:36. She will begin exiting Capricorn — thus becoming VoC — on Sunday (6th) at 09:21, remaining void for less than three hours when she will enter Aquarius at 12:15, remaining there until well past fullness, leaving Aquarius — thus becoming void again — on Tuesday (8th) at 19:07. At 21:56 — less than three hours later — she will enter the next sign, Pisces.
(All times here are UTC~Coordinated Universal Time. See my December 2014 issue for some clarification about UTC and 24-hour time.)

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Cristina ~  

Full Moon in Aquarius
Out of the Blue

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer based in Italy, who also runs her own website Zodiac Poetry — “Stars – Heart – Soul”, where her emphasis is on introspection and emotions and her love of words and art. You can read about her in depth on her About Me page.

   In her piece this month, Cristina tells us that this coming month . . .

. . . looks remarkably intense, as in ‘shaky’, ‘metamorphic’, perhaps ‘life-altering’. For some of us, it might even mark a prominent demarcation, a point of no-return to certain things and situations that have outlived their usefulness.

She also notes that . . .

Eclipses tend to shake up the status quo and bring significant developments about major life events

 To see her full take — and the technicals behind it – click on over to Cristina’s full article: Full Moon in Aquarius “Out of the Blue”. Because her style is both pithy and sensitive, I recommend that you set aside some undistracted time to absorb and reflect. 

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   Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer and a popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. You can read more about her at Dana’s bio. Her website, Mooncircles, is not just a blog by Dana – it is a professionally produced website where Dana features a number of astrologers writing on various approaches and aspects. You will definitely find something to capture your interest.

Aquarius Full Moon

   Rather than just one article, Dana’s website features a number of astrologers who offer a variety of personal viewpoints. (This personal approach is one of the big reasons I like her site.) Here are some brief teasers for her offerings at this full moon in Aquarius:

  Aquarius Lunar Eclipse: Radio Silence by April Elliott Kent
“I’m the molecular opposite of a summer camp girl. The few times I went away to camp, I was the miserable kid who counted the hours until it was time to leave.” [ . . . ]

  Aquarius Full Moon: The Call of Truth by Jessica Shepherd
“Last December I did something bold, and something absolutely terrifying. I told my husband I wanted to move.” [ . . . ]

  Aquarius Full Moon: Purification Ritual Mooncircles Archives
“[Fire and air signs] are great for purification rituals, [which are] especially powerful when the Moon is waning, a condition which begins with the Full Moon.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual by Dana Gerhardt
“Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you.” [ . . . ]

   You can access each article by clicking on its link/thumbnail, or all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Aquarius full moon

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Calvin and Hobbes . . .

   Planet Calvin in action . . .

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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 September,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of centeredness and purification.

~ Moonlight to all!

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   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena that I find interesting. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about heavenly objects, especially 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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  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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Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images or compositions (e.g. art, songs, poetry) appearing on it. Copyrighted works remain the property of their respective owners; permission, attribution and/or links are provided when applicable or 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.
This entry was posted in astronomy, Constellations, Folklore, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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