Harvest Moon Time


The full moon closest to the fall equinox is the ” Harvest Moon” – those of us in the northern hemisphere can expect a behemoth moon rising shortly after sunset tonight. Harvest moons appear larger because of the ecliptic orbit of our moons path in relation to the earth. The same phenomenon that sees the moon rise 20 minutes or so earlier than  normal, forcing us to view it through thicker atmosphere – accounting for characteristic orange monster moons.

The harvest moon is familiar to just about everyone – our moon has many names, depending on the time of year. January brings the wolf moon; named by native Americans and medieval Europeans for the howling of hungry wolves in the dead of winter. February sees the storm, snow and hunger moon rise in the icy sky. Native Americans called the last full moon of March the worm moon after worm trails that appeared in the thawing snow. The Pink moon of April is for blossoming trees, also known as the sprouting grass, fish, and egg moon. May’s flower moon or corn planting moon is followed by the strawberry moon to native Americans or rose moon to Europeans. Native Americans saw the full moon of July as the buck moon, for male deer shedding their antlers. The sturgeon moon of August for plentiful fish, also called the green corn, grain, and red moon. September’s harvest moon is followed by the hunter’s moon in October. November has the beaver or frost moon, finally the cold or long night moon of December.

I went outside for an early howl at the harvest moon. Clouds wrapped every corner of the sky, and still the moon cast my shadow. Second thoughts on considering my neighbour’s baby, compounded by scrutiny from the old woman in the window of the retirement home, stifled my bravado. Instead I did a little moon dance while humming Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.

A link to sunrise/sunset locater…

http://www.sunrisesunset.com/predefined.asp

The link that will answer any astronomical question…..

http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications/data-services

Earthsky link to Harvest Moon,,,,,

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/harvest-moon-2

Galactic Alignment


Mayan people were great time keepers. Able to calculate the length of a year, predict the spring and fall equinox, even understand that earth wobbled on its axis. As the much publicised Dec. 21, 2012 draws near; hype surrounding the end of the Mayan calendar swells. Barely a whisper is spoken of the fact the Mayan people had many calendars, some with dates thousands of years into our future.

Rather than ponder “end of days” or prophecy; why not come to our senses, and understand what is going to happen on Dec. 21. In relation to our known history it will still be a special day. Once every 25,800 years  a “Galactic Alignment” occurs. On Dec. 21, our winter solstice coincides with this event.

Simply put – at the winter solstice this year the earth and sun will be aligned with the galactic equator; the centre of the milky way.

By all means click on the links to learn more about this rare alignment. Certainly of interest; in particular the alignment of Sagittarius. In the 1970s a scientist monitoring radio signals from space noticed an anomaly coming from the constellation Sagittarius. He circled it and wrote “wow”. This is known as the “wow event” – the only unconfirmed radio signal from space.

Getting back to my point – the Mayans kept track of things. We know they had many calendars. I suspect  the “long count calendar” that ends on Dec. 21 is nothing more than an astounding countdown to a celestial event. How they were able to calculate this event with remarkable accuracy, we’ll never know. Archaeologists have managed to recover few pages from the Mayan daytimer. Lost to history, courtesy Spanish Conquistadores,  temple robbers, and grave looters, are the pieces that put this puzzle together.

Rather than dwell on end of days hype, I suggest we ponder the cautionary tale of ancient prophecy. Lets not confuse scientific documents with creation or prophecy myth. All ancient cultures, Hopi, Mayan, Egyptian, Greek, you name it – have similar stories to explain catastrophic natural events.  They all shared a connection to our natural world that we sadly take for granted.

We should all take a moment to ponder the accomplishments of not only the Mayan, but all ancient cultures. Be ashamed by our lack of regard for the world that sustains us, and take time to gaze at the stars. On Dec. 21 a rare galactic alignment will occur, be humbled by the fact the Mayans figured it out. The end of the Mayan calendar is simply a headline grabbing interpretation of a single Mayan observation. Probably nothing more than a simple multiplication table to the Mayans.

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Time To Switch Hemispheres


Sept. 22 the fall equinox arrives. Earth doesn’t orbit the Sun straight up and down, it’s tilted on a rather wobbly axis of about 23 degrees. Twice a year the angle of orbit mirrors the angle of tilt resulting in the axis neither turning towards or away from the Sun. This is the equinox, the point at which Northern and Southern hemispheres switch seasons as the Earth continues along its endless path. At the equinox both hemispheres receive about the same amount of sunlight, their days and nights the same duration. Equinox is derived from the Latin words aequis meaning”equal” and nox meaning “night”.

Ancient cultures built mind boggling structures for the sole purpose of marking the equinox. Stonehenge and Machu Pichu are two of the better known astrological observatories tirelessly heralding in the equinox with scientific precision.

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-autumnal-equinox-of-2012

Stonehenge from the Epoch Times