April 11, 2017 Full Pink Moon


Roughly every twenty nine and a half days, a full moon occurs when sunlight fully illuminates Earth facing side of the Moon. Phases of the Moon are a matter of perspective, perceptible refracted light in relation to lunar orbit define phases of the Moon. We see a full moon when it orbits on the exact opposite side of Earth from the Sun.

Depending on where you live the first full northern hemisphere spring, southern hemisphere fall moon falls on April 11, 2017. Native American¬† tribes dubbed spring’s first full moon the Pink Moon, named for wild pink ground phlox, the first bloom of spring. Also known as the Flower, Sprouting Grass, Egg and Fish Moon, spring’s first full Pink Moon is believed to have originated on America’s east coast with native Algonquin tribes.

http://fullmoonphases.com/pink-moon/

http://www.space.com/36040-april-full-moon.html?utm_source=sp-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170410-sdc

If you happen to fall under pink moonlight, ponder long ago and once upon a time. Gaze into the night, embrace prickles of instinctive wisdom with reverence for people who once called spring’s first full moon pink.Next, listen to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon….

 

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Once In A Blue Moon


Tonight’s’ full moon sets the stage for a Blue Moon on July 31st. “Blue Moon” refers to a second full moon in a calendar month. Our moon follows a 19 year loop called the Metonic Cycle – every 19 years phases of the moon recur on or near the same calendar date. Nineteen years has 228 months with 235 full moons, meaning 7 of those 228 months have a blue moon. Sometimes February’s short number of days produces 8 blue moons in a Metonic Cycle (February 2018 won’t have a full moon, pushing the extra moon to another calendar month)

Popular use of the term is credited to a 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine. Author James Hugh Pruett penned an article “Once In A Blue Moon”, Pruett inadvertently screwed up finer details when referencing the 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac – nevertheless “once in a blue moon” was born.

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/when-is-the-next-blue-moon

The Maine Farmers Almanac described blue moons as an extra full moon in a “season”. Each season – spring, summer, fall, winter typically has 3 full moons, when a 4th happens, the 3rd moon of that season becomes the blue moon. By this rule the next one falls on May 21, 2016. Although two distinctly different definitions exist, most people subscribe to the monthly club.

It’s possible to have 2 blue moons in a calendar year, the next time is January and March of 2018, followed by January and March 2037. Sometimes a rare year has both monthly (2 full moons in a month) and seasonal (3rd full moon of 4 in a season) – don’t hold your breath, it will be 2048 before the monthly in January, seasonal in August.

http://earthsky.org/tonight/first-of-two-july-full-moons-falls-on-night-of-july-1?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=b7d50b8a91-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-b7d50b8a91-393970565

 

Super-moon Totally Eclipses the Sun


Mark March 20, 2015 on your calender. If that day rings a bell, you might be pondering the spring equinox – a conclusion worthy of honourable mention yet no blue ribbon because this March equinox is so much more.

In a nutshell, the Earth has a wobbly axis. Twice a year (March and September) the “plane” of Earth’s equator passes the center of the sun, at that point our axis tilts neither away or towards the sun. Imagine a line perpendicular to the equator, a brief time when northern and southern hemispheres are illuminated equally – you have the equinox. Think of it as roughly equal hours of day and night. Due to a blinky wobble in Earth’s axis, this happens at different times each March, roughly on the 20th or 21st.

Lets talk Moon. A super-moon occurs when a new or full moon happens at the “perigee” or closest point of orbit to Earth. 2015 officially has 6 super-moons – new moons in January, February and March, full moons in August, September and October.

Moving on to Sun – a solar eclipse only happens when a new moon passes between Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on our planet. This conjuncture, or “syzygy” causes the Moon to fully obscure the sun’s “disc”, resulting in shadows cast upon earth.

So we have equinox, super-moon, and solar eclipse – what are the chances of them happening at the same time? If you guessed not very likely, I award you that blue ribbon.

Enter March 20, 2015 – one of those few days when cosmic circumstance delivers. If you miss this one, you’ll have to wait until 2034, 2053, or 2072.

http://earthsky.org/tonight/supermoon-to-stage-total-eclipse-of-the-sun-on-march-20?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=61218b132d-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-61218b132d-393970565#what

Composite total solar eclipse Aug. 1999 by Fred Espenak.

Early Harvest Moon


The Harvest is my favorite moon – many moons are worthy, only the Harvest Moon stops me in my tracks. Entrenched in Northern Hemisphere consciousness, striking chords in all who lay eyes on her – a primal moon, one that solidifies changing seasons, a moon demanding attention.

Since time began, a moon to coincide with Autumn harvest.  The closest full moon to fall equinox delivers a gift of light Рthroughout the year moons rise around 50 minutes later each day, at the fall equinox, the narrow ecliptic orbit of the moon results in only 30-35 minutes between moon rise Рtoss in the light of a full moon and farmers barely notice sunset and moon rise. Harvest safely tucked away before first frost Рthank you Harvest Moon.

http://earthsky.org/space/harvest-moon-2?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=b3fd1e54a1-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-b3fd1e54a1-393970565#special

The narrow angle of the ecliptic means the moon rises noticeably farther north on the horizon, from one night to the next. So there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise. Image via classicalastronomy.com.

This year the equinox happens on September 23. Depending on where you are in the northern hemisphere, September 8 or 9 heralds an early Harvest Moon. Click on the earthsky link above the graphic and scroll down to links within the story for precise details of official Harvest Moon risings in your Northern hemisphere location.

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