The Many Names of the Moon

For some reason, the human species feel that they have to name
everything around them. And when they do, they seem always to
exaggerate. Whether it is with the size, color or other attribute,
it never seems to look natural to me.
For some reason, the human species feel that they have to name everything around them. And when they do, they seem always to exaggerate. Whether it is with the size, color or other attribute, it never seems to look natural to me.

Have you ever seen a red-breasted robin? I haven’t. Though I have seen an orange-breasted robin. So how about a blue moon? I have been viewing the Moon all my life, and have yet to glance upon one that was blue.

So the name “Moon” or “Satellite” just wasn’t good enough for Earth’s little partner, we needed to give it more names. How about if we give the Moon a different name for each month? Well, too late, that has already been done.

There are many traditional names for the full moons of each month of the year. It is doubtful that they have much meaning in our society today, except for the “Harvest” and “Hunter’s” moons, and the more popular “blue moon”, which we have already figured out isn’t really blue.

So, for your interest only, or for those crossword puzzle enthusiasts, here are the monthly full moon names:

January: Old Moon, or Moon after Yule. Yule is Christmas.

February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon or Wolf Moon

March: Sap Moon, Crow Moon or Lenten Moon

April: Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Easter Moon or Paschal Moon

May: Planting Moon or Milk Moon

June: Rose Moon, Flower Moon or Strawberry Moon

July: Thunder Moon or Hay Moon

August: Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon

September: Fruit Moon or Harvest Moon

October: Hunter’s Moon

November: Frosty Moon or Beaver Moon, probably because beavers are active in preparation for winter.

December: Moon before Yule or Long Night Moon, a name appropriate because the midwinter night is long and the Moon is above the horizon a long time.

Well, there you are. Very interesting, for what it’s worth. Go out and spread the word. Maybe we need to give that a name, too.

Constellation of the month: Aquarius

In the hot, dry countries of the Middle East, it is common to hear the calls of men going through the streets carrying bladders or jars full of cool water, which they will pour out for you into a cup. Aquarius is the Latin word for such a water seller. Like “aquarium,” a water zoo, the word comes from “aqua,” the word for water.

In this constellation the man is quit thin, just a long line of three stars. His jar is a small triangle of stars with a fourth star in the middle. This is the one part that is easy to pick out. It lies on the equator of the sky. The water pouring from the jar is some fine lines of stars stretching south. Not the most exciting constellation in the sky, but it still might be exciting knowing that you can fine it among the more famous ones.

If you didn’t get enough of the planet Mars two years ago, when it was at its best, then you have another chance to view our neighbor again almost at it’ best. On the evening of Oct. 29, Mars will be at its closest to the Earth and therefore will be viewed at its largest. It won’t show as large as in 2003, but nonetheless, it will be the largest Mars will get for the next 13 years. This time, however, Mars gets twice as high in the sky for observers at mid-northern latitudes than it did in 2003, permitting more hours of sharp views.

So get out those dusty old telescopes and point them to the sky and see what you can see. There is more than just the planet Mars to view out there. Don’t forget family and friends, when you do. You don’t have to worry about telling them what they are looking at, the sky is perfectly capable of speaking for itself. Clear skies.

October Sky Watch

Oct. 3 New Moon

Oct. 4 First day of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Like other days in the Muslim calendar, it begins at the preceding sunset, and like other months it can vary depending on when the Moon is first seen.

Oct. 4 Rosh Hashanah, first day of the Jewish year 5766 A.M. The Jewish day actually begins at the previous sunset. This is the sunset of the young Moon’s appearance closest to the autumn equinox.

Oct. 4 Moon is 0.81 degrees south of Mercury

Oct. 4 Moon, Mercury, and Jupiter within circle of diameter 2.32 degrees

Oct. 5 Mercury is 1.3 degrees south of Jupiter

Oct. 7 Moon is 1.4 degrees south of Venus

Oct. 9 Mars and Jupiter are at heliocentric opposition; that is, they are on opposite sides of the Sun.

Oct. 10 Moon at first quarter

Oct. 12 Moon is 4.4 degrees south of Neptune

Oct. 14 Moon is 2.3 degrees south of Uranus

Oct. 17 Full Moon

Oct. 17 Partial eclipse of the Moon

Oct. 18 Epsilon Geminid meteors

Oct. 19 Moon is 4.7 degrees north of Mars

Oct. 21 Orionid meteors

Oct. 25 Moon at last quarter

Oct. 25 Moon is 4.2 degrees north of Saturn

Oct. 26 Moon is farthest from Earth (apogee – 251,381mi)

Oct. 30 Change clocks back one hour(spring forward; fall back)

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