Our moon comes up. Our moon goes down. It just seems to go round and round. Here I’ve gathered some interesting factoids about the moon that may surprise you.
First, the simple fact I never heard of until recently: The full moon always rises at dusk and the new moon always rises at dawn. I don’t know why I never knew this, but it makes sense!
Phases of the Moon
The common phases of the moon are listed here:
- Full Moon: 100% luminous
- Wanning Gibbous: Less than 100% and more than 50% luminous
- Last Quarter: 50% luminous
- Waning Crescent: Less than 50% and more than 0% luminous
- New Moon: 0% luminous
- Waxing Crescent: More then 0% and less than 50% luminous
- First Quarter: 50% luminous (opposite side lit up from last quarter)
- Waxing Gibbous: More than 50% and less then 100% luminous
In the Northern Hemisphere, the right side is luminous after a full moon and the left side is luminous after a new moon. In the the Southern Hemisphere, it is reversed. Also, the Full and New Moons can actually be calculated down to the second of most or least luminosity! So a Full Moon is not just a day, but a moment.
Don’t be so Blue
A Blue moon is a moon that is full for the 2nd time in a given month. The term “Once in a blue moon” means very seldom because a blue moon is rare. The next Blue moon from now is January 31, 2018. More on the blue moon HERE.
When New is Better
In a coastal environment, some creatures like it better when the sky is dark. The New moon makes it that way since it rises in the morning. Sea turtles can see better to go lay their eggs and for the babies to get to the water. That’s why oceanfront houses should turn their outside lights off during sea turtle nesting season. Also,flounder sleep better (so some fisherman can gig the big ones).
A super moon is defined as a full moon that is as close as possible to the Earth. The size of the moon appears 14% or more bigger and the intensity is % brighter. It is technically called the lunar perigee. It is best to view them when they first come up or almost down so you have the horizon as a reference. When does a full moon rise (pop quiz question from the notes above)? At dusk! They occur 3-4 times a year.
Here are some examples:
- January 1, 2018. A full moon on the first day of the year is also called a “Wolf Moon”. It is the brightest all year.
- January 31, 2018: This is also a blue moon and in some places, a full lunar eclipse.
- December 22, 2018: Just a regular old supermoon.
HERE is a link to more info on supermoons.
Super-est of Super Moons
Did you notice the full moon I just mentioned on January 31, 2018? It is/was a most unusual event. The first occurrence in 150 years of a full supermoon that is also a blue moon (2nd that month) and a full lunar eclipse! The full eclipse will make the moon look red, often called a “blood moon”. So it will be a blood red blue supermoon! The only down-side is that the East coast of the U.S. won’t see it because the moonset is to close to dawn. The West coast will see it. I was actually in Seattle for this event! All you had to do is look up from 5AM to 6AM on Wednesday morning. The only problem: thick cloud cover. I did see pictures of it, but didn’t see it in person. Oh well, next time.
Certain moons during the year have names that were given long long ago. Here they are:
- January: Wolf Moon
- February: Snow Moon
- March: Worm Moon
- April: Pink Moon
- May: Flower Moon
- June: Strawberry Moon
- July: Buck Moon
- August: Sturgeon Moon
- September: Harvest Moon or Corn Moon
- October: Harvest Moon or Hunter’s Moon
- November: Beaver Moon
- December: Cold Moon
HERE is a link describing all those names.
Full Moon Moody
Many people believe that the Full Moon also causes mood swings. Increased 911 calls and reports of odd behavior increase on full moons. The birth rate goes up on a full moon. If you dig a hole and fill it in on a full moon, you’ll have extra dirt left over. All kinds of moon strangeness!
Fair thee well,
Current Northern Hemisphere phase courtesy of Moon Connection: