Ephemera: Full Moon, 14 November 2016: The Dark Moon.


I love full moons. And, this month’s full Moon is on 14 November 2016,  in the constellation of Aries. If you get an opportunity to witness this one, it’s worth it (even a day later, if it’s cloudy).

‘I lost my hat while gazing at the moon, and then I lost my mind.’ Rumi

Full Moon Name: To those of yesteryear, Medieval England and Wiccan it was known as the Snow Moon, others call it the Hunter’s moon; and as I’m a latter-day Celt, I like to call it the Dark Moon, which was the name given to it by latter-day and current-day Celts.

Lunar Data: The Moon will be fairly close to Aldebaran on that day, though that star is in the constellation of Taurus. Interestingly, the planetary probe ‘Pioneer 10’ launched in March 1972 by NASA has now left the solar system and is heading in the general direction of Aldebaran. It will arrive there in approximately two million years time!

‘November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.’  Emily Dickinson

SuperMoon: This month’s full Moon is a ‘supermoon’. Because the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly elliptical rather an circular, sometimes in its obit it is further away from us, sometimes closer. This month it’s closer, and so will appear brighter and bigger than average. Infact, it is closest to the Earth since 1948, and it wont be closer than this until 2034. So, it will be worth seeing!

And, if you see the Moon near the horizon, it will look even bigger. A popular belief, stretching back at least to Aristotle in the 4th century B.C., holds that the Moon appears larger near the horizon due to a real magnification effect caused by the Earth’s atmosphere, but, this is not true. It’s just an illusion, the Ponzo illusion, but a good one to experience.

Nevertheless, it will be a great Moon to observe and my encouragement to you is to take some photographs of it, to gaze upon it, to ponder, and give thanks. There will be nothing quite like this for another 18 years.

‘In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.’ Cynthia Rylant

On This Day: You might also like to know that on the 14 November that Gottfried Kirch discovered the Great Comet of 1680 (Kirch’s Comet/Newton’s Comet); K C Gillette patented the Gillette razor blade in 1904; The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began domestic radio service in 1922, and  the game Candy Crush Saga was released as a mobile app for smartphones in 2012.

‘November’s sky is chill and drear,
November’s leaf is red and sear.’  Sir Walter Scott

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