Friday, January 29, 2010

It better be clear tonight. I don't care about the cold.

Perhaps you have seen the news reports that tonight is going to be one of the best viewings of the full moon. The moon is at perigee, meaning it's closest to us in its orbit. It just happens to coincide with this full moon. I intend to be outside in the frostiness trying to take photos. I'm borrowing the tripod from the office just for this.

I think I've mentioned before that my dad loved to look at the stars. When I was around 12, he got a telescope as a family Christmas present. It was green and wasn't very powerful, but I saw some of the craters on the moon, smudgy rings of Saturn and a blurred big red spot on Jupiter. I also saw the neighbors feeding their cattle, chickens on the roof of the hen house and cows coming back to the barn in the evening. For a long time, I had the telescope. I don't remember if I gave it away, it broke or if someone else in the family has it. I know it's not in my house any more.

In reading about this event, I stumbled across names for the various full moons. Some I knew. Most I did not. These generally take their names from Native American tribes, chiefly the Algonquin, who lived from the East Coast to Lake Superior. Native Americans marked the passing of seasons by the name of the month of the moon.

January - Wolf Moon, Old Moon
February - Snow Moon, Hunger Moon
March - Worm Moon, Crow Moon
April - Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon
May - Flower Moon, Corn Planting Moon, Milk Moon
June - Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon (Partial Lunar Eclipse for this moon)
July - Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Hay Moon
August - Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Green Corn Moon, Grain Moon
September - Harvest Moon
October - Hunter's Moon
November - Beaver Moon, Frosty Moon
December - Cold Moon, Long Night Moon

Incidentally, the December full moon, which falls on the winter solstice, December 21st, is also going to be a full lunar eclipse. It will occur in the predawn hours but, if I get up early enough, I should be able to see the whole thing. They last around 73 minutes. I think the last one I got to see in its totality, Carole was still at home so it's been a good 2-3 years now. The partial eclipse mentioned above might be visible from Chicagoland but west coast people will have a much better view.

I'll post photos tomorrow.

Beverage: Earl Gray tea


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