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When was the full moon in the night of New Year’s Eve?

Today is the last day of 2012 and we asked ourselves when there has been or will be a full moon in the past or the future at the turn of the year. What a fascinating picture, if you are imagining also the full moon next to the firework welcoming the New Year. The spectacle of humans meets the eternal beauty of the universe … [read more] “When was the full moon in the night of New Year’s Eve?”

Kiss me!

Fitting into the Christmas period, we are hanging up a virtual mistletoe and calling upon all lovers out there to kiss each other! The custom has a long tradition in many countries. The symbolism of fertility and vitality play as much a part as the search for the possibility of making the kiss in public socially acceptable. The mistletoe helps to overcome the inhibition, which can stand especially between two people before their first kiss. And incidentally, for every kiss one berry of the bush is plucked – until no berries are left. [read more] “Kiss me!”

The full moon of the Native American Indians

Like all natives of a country, the Native Americans, as inhabitants of the American continent, have a connection to the moon events and the full moon, too. It appears in mythology as much as in the relevant lifestyles. Instead of the term »Native American Indian« the term »indigenous peoples of the Americas« is generally used nowadays. It is strived for to be politically correct. [read more] “The full moon of the Native American Indians”

Mola mola – the ocean sunfish (moonfish)

The »sunfish« is called »moonfish« in many languages. It is the biggest and heaviest bony fish in the world, weighing up to 2,500 kg and showing off up to 3 m length and 4 m height! It can grow over 100 years old. Its Latin name »mola mola« derives from its shape, which reminds of a »millstone«, but apparently, also the Moon was the force behind the naming: [read more] “Mola mola – the ocean sunfish (moonfish)”

Nena and the full moon

Nena and her band belong to the most successful artists in German music history. With »99 Luftballons« from 1983, she made a name for herself internationally and also reached 2nd place in the US charts with the English version »99 red balloons« [*]. This has only been accomplished by very few German musicians.

In the song »Vollmond« [full moon], also from 1983, Nena sings about the silver Moon and describes the romantic longing and restlessness, which can capture us during a full moon: [read more] “Nena and the full moon”

Property on the Moon?

Times and times again, you read about the possibility to purchase lunar property. Is this to be taken seriously or more of a gimmick or a clever sales idea? If looked at more closely, some astonishing details are coming to light …

When the manned space flight started in the 60s and a trip to the Moon became more likely, nations tried to regulate the topic such as ownership in space, and created an »Outer Space Treaty« in 1967,  which prohibits states to use space or its celestial bodies for self-serving or military purposes. This treaty was signed by 98 states, amongst them the superpowers, at the time USA and Soviet Union. [read more] “Property on the Moon?”

Full moon magic in »Corpse Bride«

Fitting in with today’s full moon and the forthcoming events of Halloween, we dedicate this article to the stop motion movie »Corpse Bride« (2005) by Tim Burton, the master of bizarre and subtle productions. The movie is based on a Russian legend »Corpse Bride« and captures the story of a wedding between two people of varying social backgrounds (Victor & Victoria) or rather differing worlds (Victor & Emily), with the resulting tension. [read more] “Full moon magic in »Corpse Bride«”

Full moon delicacies

Today, we would like to focus on a more culinary subject of everything that can be eaten or drunk and is prepared in connection with the full moon. Apparently, there is a multitude of vendors (especially in Switzerland), who regularly manufacture their products at the full moon and who detect that the quality of their foods differs from the foods, which have not been produced in connection with any lunar happenings. These products appear to sell accordingly and successfully. We have not been able to fathom out whether this is really related to the Moon – it might also be that the consciousness of the acting persons is different, or that the customers bring along the appropriate willingness to appreciate the reference to the full moon. [read more] “Full moon delicacies”

Adam Elsheimer paints the Moon like no one before

More than 400 years ago, the German artist Adam Elsheimer (1578–1610) painted the picture »Flight into Egypt« (1609), where he depicted the well-known biblical scene of the escape of Joseph and Maria with the Christ Child. The special feature of this painting is, that it shows the full moon and night sky with such a richness of detail on a scale not seen before. Scientists – like for example Dr. Christian Sicka of the ›Deutsche Museum‹ Munich – have examined this work and come to the conclusion that this is possibly the first correct astronomical true to life depiction of the night sky in paintings. One can easily recognise the lunar maria on the Moon’s surface and also the Milky Way, moreover a clear graduation of brightness with the individual stars. [read more] “Adam Elsheimer paints the Moon like no one before”

Ancient Chinese moon poems

Matching to the moon festival, which has just been celebrated in Asia, we are looking to the Far East and are going far back in time to the year 700 A.D. Back then, the Tang Dynasty ruled China, a powerful dynasty that remained in power for almost 300 years. And there were two poets whose names are still well-known today, Li Bai (701–762) and Du Fu (712–770; see fictitious portrait opposite). Both created magnificent works. Li Bai was already a little older and hence a few years ahead, Du Fu had apparently surpassed his idol – this is what is being said amongst scholars. [read more] “Ancient Chinese moon poems”

»The shepherd in the Moon« (Romania)

The Rumanian fairytale »The shepherd in the Moon« tells the story of a shepherd:

He once came to a rich nobleman and received the gift of a piece of land and a herd of sheep from him. He settled as shepherd and began to play beautiful melodies on his flute at night, which – as you’ll find out later – reminds him of his deceased beloved. These songs were so wonderful that all sheep gathered around him to listen, even the ones of the neighbouring shepherds. They now became envious of the flute player and tried to blacken his name with the nobleman. But when he stuck by the shepherd with the flute, the other shepherds made attempts on the life of the good shepherd and tried to kill him. He escaped and left the country full of grief and pain.   [read more] “»The shepherd in the Moon« (Romania)”

The death of Cyrano in the full moon light

Cyrano de Bergerac (1619–1655) was a French writer, who was less famous for his own pieces [*], but better known through the writings about him by Edmond Rostand (1868–1918) from 1897. The piece was called just like himself »Cyrano de Bergerac« and premiered as stage play in Paris in the same year.
Up until today, it has been staged and filmed many times. The movie that is surely most famous is the one with Gerard Depardieu in the leading role from 1990. All dialogues are versified, which lends everything a historicising but also an intense, poetic effect. [read more] “The death of Cyrano in the full moon light”

The full moon in Venice

If you ask two lovers to which city they would like to travel to, to express their love, many will probably name two cities:  Paris and Venice. While Paris embodies a variety of aspects of love, being the »city of love« (obviously also the erotic aspect), Venice stands especially for the romantic encounter between people. This must surely be the reason why so many weddings are celebrated and honeymoons are spent there. [read more] “The full moon in Venice”

Neil Armstrong – pioneer on the Moon

Neil Alden Armstrong (1930–2012) was a US American astronaut, who was the first man to set foot on the Moon as the commander of the Apollo 11 mission on 21st July 1969, and hence the first to step on a foreign celestial body. The mission was preceded by a fierce competition about the »reign« of space, between the then super powers USA and Soviet Union, so that the success of Apollo 11 turned out to not only have a historical meaning but also had a political relevance.   [read more] “Neil Armstrong – pioneer on the Moon”

The smurfs and the »blue moon«

The end of August 2012 will bring another »blue moon«. This is what you call the second full moon within a month. It happens from time to time, because the lunar cycle is shorter, with its averaging 29.5 days, than the normal calendar month. Just like in August of this year, with a full moon on 02.08. and one on 31.08.2012. We have already described here why this double full moon is called »blue moon«. [read more] “The smurfs and the »blue moon«”

Selenography – maps of the Moon

Looking at the Moon, you can recognise the spots on the surface with the naked eye, which are termed lunar maria and have always been inspiring people’s imagination. It is actually molten rock that rose to the surface during the origin of the Moon and then hardened. If looked at closer and using a telescope as an aid, you are able to make out mountains and valleys and a large amount of craters. In short: they are landscapes that give our Moon its face. [read more] “Selenography – maps of the Moon”

Shakespeare and the full moon

We figured it would be obvious to look for the full moon in the works of England’s most famous poet William Shakespeare (1564–1616). Surprisingly, the »moon« is to be found more often, however the word »full moon« appears in the original text only once, namely in »King Lear«.

The text of the comedy »A Midsummer Night’s Dream« (approx. 1595), contains the moon a whopping 52 times (28 times in the last act alone) and it can be assumed that Shakespeare was thinking of the full moon when he wrote these lines. Although it is not described as the »full moon«. [read more] “Shakespeare and the full moon”

Not more accidents at the full moon!

Especially, because many people report that they are a bit
»out of it« at the full moon, it seems natural to think that more accidents could happen during this time. There are several studies [*], which have carefully examined both, the full moon and also other moon phases with the continuous identical result: no recognisable correlation between the moon events and accidents. [read more] “Not more accidents at the full moon!”

A hotel on the Moon?

A hotel on the Moon – that sounds quite utopian if not absurd.  Fact is, there are people thinking about colonising and inhabiting space or other celestial bodies, since man has been busy flying into space. And if we believe the statements of different companies that are planning hotels beyond the Earth, there has to be a great demand. This would actually be also necessary to make this project lucrative. Or is it merely the prestige and publicity, which are reaped by such an undertaking and hence would justify it? [read more] “A hotel on the Moon?”

The career of William Turner

Photography had not yet been invented when the British painter J. M. William Turner (1775–1851) created his painting »Fishermen at Sea« in 1796, where he depicts a nightly scenery at a tempestuous sea, which is lit by the full moon midst heavy clouds. This painting was the first exhibited oil painting by the then 21 year-old Turner and marked the beginning of a great career. [read more] “The career of William Turner”