January’s Super New Year’s Moon

Welcome January Super New Year’s Moon!

Welcome to Issue 1 of Volume X of Earth, Moon and Stars!


(click any of these section links that interest you)


   Only every 19 years (or so) is the moon full on New Year’s Day. Thus my name for this one. It’s also a “super” moon – the second in the current triad..

   The day the new year begins depends on which calendar one is using, so while New Year’s Day hasn’t always been January 1 (and isn’t everywhere even today), the beginning of a new trip around the Sun is universally met with much celebration and hope. Given the tragedies that we experience — whether natural or anthropogenic — the human spirit needs to be able to look forward to a brighter tomorrow.

   The moon’s cycle does that for most people, too. So having a full moon on New Year’s day is doubly auspicious! I wish for you and yours a year full of happiness, inner peace, and love!

Winter Moon by David Paul (2011) [FineArtAmerica]


  The moon will become technically full Tuesday, January 2 at 02:24 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 fullness at the Prime Meridian will occur this time just a couple of hours after midnight Tuesday, people most places on the globe will see closest to a full moon Monday night January 1 (and thus the reason for my name for her this time). Folks in the Far East (Hanoi, Perth and places east to the International Date line) are on the cusp and will see about equal fullness Monday and Tuesday nights. But as we like to point out, since to an unaided eye she appears full 24 hours or so either side of technical fullness, you will be treated to apparent fullness at least two nights in a row. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   I did it again and made up my own name for this somewhat special full moon. Details at Moon Names.

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  The first of two “super” full moons of 2018. (The second one coming at the end of this month.) Check out the Skywatch-SuperMoon section for the details.

  I always like it when I find some kind of creative expression that involves the moon. This poem by Chinese poet Shiwu was a serendipitous find. Click on Poetry for the poem and story.

  Featured for the first time here in EM&S last September, we bring photographer Jasman Mander back for a winter reprise. (And a little skywatch quiz to tickle your thinker.) Click on Art to jump to the photo.

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

  We continue with the third installment in our current Calvin and Hobbes’ space adventure series. See Humor.

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Moon Dates and Times

January’s full moon        Tuesday January 2 02:24 UTC; 4:24 am IST; 10:24 am AWST/PHT; 1:24 pm  AEDT
(1st of two this month)  Monday January 1 10:24 pm AST; 9:24 pm EST; 6:24 pm PST; 4:24 pm HAST

January’s new moon       Wednesday January 17 02:17 UTC; 4:17 am IST; 10:17 am AWST/PHT; 1:17 pm AEDT
.                                            Tuesday January 16 10:17 pm AST; 9:17 pm EST; 6:17 pm PST; 4:17 pm HAST

January’s “Blue” Moon    Wednesday January 31 13:26 UTC; 3:26 pm IST; 9:26 pm AWST/PHT
(2nd of two full                 Wednesday January 31 9:26 am AST; 8:26 am EST; 5:26 am PST; 3:26 am HAST
.     moons this month)    Thursday February 1 12:26 am AEDT  (sorry, Melbourne – not “Blue” for you🙁)

No full moon in February (except for places hugging the western side of the International Date Line, such as eastern Australia, New Zealand, and far eastern Russia, where the moon will become technically full just after midnight on Feb 1).

February’s new moon     Wednesday February 15 21:06 UTC; 5:06 pm AST; 4:06 pm EST; 1:06 pm PST
.                                           Wednesday February 15 11:06 am HAST; 11:06 pm IST
.                                           Thursday February 16 5:06 am AWST/PHT; 8:06 am AEDT

.                                   Find Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone at Moon Giant.

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“New Year’s 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.

   The prevailing names that the Old Farmer’s Almanac and other sources report for January are Wolf Moon and Old Moon; we treated these names in our January issues for 2011 and 2012. In 2013 we featured the Rowan Tree, while also mentioning Ice, Avunniviayuk, and Cooking moons. In 2014 we echoed Wolf, adding Joyful and Holiday. 2016 featured Old Moon again, while 2017 introduced the Quiet Moon.

Moon New Year by Emily W. Martin (The Black Apple)

.   With many more names waiting to be explored, I had to put them on hold for this one: I mean, how often do we have a full moon on New Year’s Day? Like any question involving the world calendar, it’s not that simple, primarily because, except for an infinitesimal instant, it is never the same day everywhere on Earth. A tantalizing subject that we’ll look into more when we do another piece on world time.

   For now, a look at the dates/times in the Seasonal Calendar above reveals that at the moment Ms. Luna is technically full, it will be January 1 only west of Time Zone UTC-2 (for example, eastern Brazil) to the International Date Line; everywhere east it will already be January 2. Regardless, I’m taking blogger’s license and naming this full moon:
New Year’s Moon!

   I looked up when the moon was last full on January 2 at the Prime Meridian (and thus January 1 west of UTC-2) and when it will be again:
1999  02:51 UTC
2018  02:24 UTC
2037  02:38 UTC

   The curious among you will note that the last time was 19 years ago, and the next time will be 19 years from now. And most likely you will be scratching your respective heads and going “hmmm”. Let’s just say for now: it’s no accident; we’ll discuss the Moon’s Metonic cycle in a future issue.

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  This full moon will be the first of two “super” moons this year; the second in the current troika of super full moons that began with the December 2017 full moon. Super moons often happen in threes, with the one in the middle (this one!) being the “super-est”.

So What Exactly is a “Supermoon”?
   Because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical in shape, its distance from Earth fluctuates throughout each month. Its closest approach is called perigee (“closest 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 was the case in November 2016, which saw the closest full moon perigee since 1948, and won’t be again (at fullness) until November 25, 2034.

   Last month (December) times of perigee and fullness were separated by almost 17 hours. This first full moon in January will be separated from perigee by only 4.5 hours, making it the closest, biggest, and brightest of 2018.

   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.

What to Look for This Full Moon
   Though with an unaided eye 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, and especially than when it’s a tiny, further-away “micromoon”.

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. Check Seasonal Calendar, above, or TimeandDate for technical fullness times in your time zone. For moonrise and moonset times in your location, go to this TimeandDate page. (Remember that at the full moon, the moon rises as the sun sets, and sets as the sun rises.)

   While this supermoon will be closer to Earth than it was last month, the difference in size and brightness will be so small you won’t be able to tell the difference without a visual reference for comparison. But it will be large and bright and beautiful, so if clouds cooperate, go outside and take a moon bath!

  For lots more on the where/when/how/why of this phenomenon, plus some informative photos and videos, check out these web pages:
EarthSky   |   Newsweek   |   Space(1)   Space(2) |   NASA


   The next full moon after this one will also be in January (in almost all parts of the world). The Jan 31 moon will not only be full and super, it will also be “blue” and eclipsed!! So fasten your seatbelt and tune in for the next issue of Earth Moon and Stars for the skinny!

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Stripped of conditions, my mind is at rest
Emptied of existence my nature is at peace
How often at night have my windows turned white
as the moon and stream passed by my door

Shiwu (Stonehouse)

   Shiwu (his nom de plume) was a Chinese Chan poet and hermit who lived in the 13th/14th centuries during the Yuan Dynasty. I found this poem displayed on a wall while walking through Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts early last month. Caught my attention not only because of the moon imagery, but also the depth of feeling in it.

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Jasman Lion Mander

Star Trails over Moonlit Crater Lake by Jasman Mander

   Here is how the photographer describes this photo:

                      Star Trails over the famous Caldera at Crater Lake National Park
Star trails are photographed from the rim of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon on a freezing night. The moon had just risen while it illuminated the white snow around the majestic caldera.

   So that’s moonlight lighting up the snow and lake! And the star trails show how the stars appear to move. This was obviously a time exposure, so his camera had to be firmly planted so it wouldn’t move.

Skywatch quiz:
Q1: Can you figure/guess what direction Jasman had his camera pointed?
Q2: Judging from the star trails, how long do you think he had his shutter open?

   I discovered Jasman Mander after the “big eclipse” last August and included a composite eclipse photo he made in my September issue. Since then he has given me permission to feature any of his work that may fit in my theme. If you like this photo, you will find many more – plus original artwork – at his website manderstudio.com.

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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. Last February’s Astrology section has a more detailed explanation.

Zodiac Constellations

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 began exiting Gemini — thus becoming VoC — on Sunday (31st) at 23:38, remaining void for just under nine hours. The next day (Monday, Jan 1) she entered Cancer at 08:10, remaining there until the next day (Tuesday, Jan 2) at 22:46, when she will again become void.  Eight-and-a-half hours later she will enter the next sign, Leo.
(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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Full Moon in Cancer

Cristina ~    

Full Moon in Cancer

   Cristina (formerly known as Æterna) is a professional astrologer/tarot reader 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. She tells her own personal, revealing story on her About Me page.

   At this moon, Cristina wades — no, dives — into the feminine versus masculine divide, creatively using the Moon Tarot card as her entrée into the subject.

Feminine versus masculine. Intuition versus strength. Imagination versus logic. We’re left with this gap to mend, with this personal and collective wound to heal, these gender stereotypes to smash, as we try to regain our primal wholeness, beyond all cultural constructs.

   She continues with cogent wisdom:

Regardless of what we identify with, we can be both tender and fierce. Assertive and protective. Emotional and commonsensical. Strong and vulnerable. We can midwife ourselves.

   If this piques your interest, just click over to her full article: Full Moon in Cancer “Howl”. As always, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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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.

Cancer 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 their offerings at this full moon in Cancer:

  Cancer Full Moon: Taproot
.                 by April Elliott Kent
“I’m not a sound sleeper. The question each night is not whether I’ll wake up, but whether I’ll be able to get back to sleep once I do.  . . .  Embarking on a new year as the Sun travels arm-in-arm with Saturn in Capricorn, it’s time to make serious resolutions and confront our nighttime phantoms.”[ . . . ]

  Cancer Full Moon: Clear-Hearted
.                 by Jessica Shepherd
“Holidays generally leave me feeling over-extended, irritable and in need of alone time. It’s the enforced socialization that puts me over the top.”[ . . . ]

  Make New Year’s Full Moon Magic
                by Dana Gerhardt
“We don’t have local Moon temples anymore. Yet it’s still possible to cultivate a deep practice in the lunar mysteries. An auspicious way to begin 2018 is to connect with the Super Full Moon on the first night of this New Year. All it takes is you, the Moon, and a simple prayer.” [ . . . ]

  3-Minute Moon Ritual for Cancer/Capricorn Moon
by Dana Gerhardt
“Drawing down the moon… Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit.” [ . . . ]

   An inspiring collection — very appropriate for the new year. You can access each article by clicking on its link or thumbnail. Or access all of the above — and lots more — on the home page of Mooncircles.

Full moon in Cancer

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Calvin and Hobbes

“Lost in Space”
(third in the “interplanetary” series that we began in November . . .)

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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 second “blue” full moon in January,
here’s wishing you and me and all of us
a month of clarity, calm, and bright hope.

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

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