The moths »Actias luna« and »Actias selene« in the family of Saturniidae, carry the Moon in their name – maybe because they are attracted to light and we connect them with the night; although, they can also be active during the day. But perhaps it is because of the crescent shaped wings or the pattern on top of the wings, which remind us of eyes that may have contributed to the naming. Luna is the moon goddess in Roman mythology, Selene is the equivalent in Greek mythology. [read more] “»Actias luna« and »Actias selene« – two luna moths”
Frank Frazetta (1928–2010) was an American fantasy and science fiction illustrator and belongs to one of the greatest artists of this genre. With his distinctive style, he was as a great example to an entire generation of artists. His work continues to receive high appreciation, down to the present day.
He began with illustrations of covers for comics and books in the 60’s began (i.e. »Conan the Barbarian« or »Tarzan«), designed movie posters (i.e. »What’s New Pussycat?« or »The Fearless Vampire Killers«) and album covers. In addition, he created a lot of free art work. [read more] “»The Moon’s Rapture« by Frank Frazetta”
Inspired by his trip to the coast of Maine, USA, the American artist and lithographer Fitz Hugh Lane (1804–1865) – aka Fitz Henry Lane – created the full moon painting »Fishing Party«, in 1855. He was a representative of the American luminism, a painting style characterized by a specific form of light-flooded landscapes in the 19th century (lumen = lat. light). [read more] “»Fishing Party« by Fitz Hugh Lane”
The Sonoma Valley is a valley in California, close to San Francisco Bay and is also referred to as »Valley of the Moon«. The original Native American Indians who inhabited this valley, called it »sonoma«, which means »Valley of the Moon« in their language. The Miwok and Pomps were Native American tribes that spread in the northern part of California and also settled in this valley. In a legend of the Miwok tribe, it says that the Moon rose from the Sonoma Valley and is there in complete harmony with nature. [read more] “Sonoma Valley – »Valley of the Moon«”
Scorpions have the quality that they are fluorescent and glow when in contact with UV radiation. This becomes clearly visible, when they are directly exposed to UV light. However, the UV components, which are contained in the sunlight and the moonlight, are hardly sufficient to produce this glow to an extent that it is visible to humans. Still, scorpions appear to detect the UV components and hence react to moonlight. [read more] “The glowing of scorpions”
The antlion is the larva of the myrmeleon, which belongs to the net-winged insects. This insect grows to be 0.6 inches and predominantly stands out because of its large jaw pincers, which let you anticipate its predatory disposition. The antlion is famous for its sophisticated method catching prey. It digs funnels in the sand that function like a trap for other insects (i.e., ants or spiders). When prey steps on the edge of the funnel, the antlion begins to throw sand on the animal from the bottom of the funnel. The thereby created movements, activate the slipping of the funnel walls and transport the prey directly into the fangs of the antlion, who then kills them with its poison. [read more] “The hunt of the antlion at the full moon”
Even though the idea would be wonderful: this is not about trees that grow on the Moon, but about trees on Earth that grew from seeds, which orbited the Moon exactly 34 times, in a small canister, during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. For this joint project by NASA and USFS (US Forest Service), the astronaut Stuart Rosa took hundreds of tree seeds with him on this journey. Seeds of five different species of tree had been chosen: loblolly pine, sycamore, sweetgum, redwood and douglas fir. The seeds survived the weightlessness and also when the canister that contained the seeds, got destroyed in the vacuum of the decontamination chamber. The seeds had to be picked up individually after this incident. [read more] “Moon trees”
Our article “Fishing during a full moon” has already indicated the discussion about whether moonlight might influence the behavior of fish. Now we have found a study, which was conducted by Australian scientists in 2013, who have examined the diving behavior of 39 gray reef sharks in Palau (an island country in the Pacific Ocean), namely with regards to environmental influences, like water temperature and also lunar happenings, in particular the full moon and the new moon. They tagged the sharks with transmitters and thus were able to measure where and how deep they dived during certain times. [read more] “Sharks and the full moon”
Repeated attempts have been made creating a connection between lunar phases and natural disasters. To our knowledge, it has not been possible so far, to establish nor prove a causal link. Of particular note is the well known earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, which happened at the full moon. Was this a coincidence? Were there other tsunamis that occurred during a full moon? [read more] “Tsunami at the full moon?”
Jellyfish are fascinating beings and although, nobody would actually like to come into contact with them, we are mesmerized by them and admire their shapes, colors and almost etheric bodies, which are floating through the water – like entities from another world. And lo behold, there is also one kind that the Moon lent his name to: the »moon jellyfish« (lat. aurelia aurita).
Also in various other languages, you can find the word »moon« in the name these jellyfish: [read more] “The moon jellyfish”
Lions mostly hunt in the dark, as predators have more of an advantage if it is as dark as possible. Hence, the moonlight is a disturbing factor, because it makes the predators easily detectable by their prey. And when the full moon is actually in the sky, it then so happens, that the lions occasionally come away empty-handed. Thus commences a time at full moon (and shortly before), where the lions begin to starve and hence their urge to hunt increases. [read more] “Moon influences hunting behaviour of lions”
Who doesn’t enjoy seeing a shooting star in the night sky? It is said that a wish is granted, which is believed to come true if kept secret and not shared with anyone. And who doesn’t want our wishes to become a reality?
To put it in physical terms, a shooting star is a »meteor«, a luminous effect, which develops with the occurrence of a »meteoroid« (a more or less large lump of rock from space), which burns up in the earth’s atmosphere. Not to be mistaken, however, with a »meteorite«. A meteoroid is only called like that, if it hits the earth’s surface (and could actually cause immense damage). So, no need to be concerned: shooting stars are harmless and very beautiful to watch. [read more] “The shooting star night of the Perseids”
Ansel Adams (1902–1984) was one of the most influential photographers in the US, who particularly became famous for his magnificent black and white photography of American landscapes and national parks. He is the role model of many photographers and set standards with his shots. And as chance would have it, one of his most renowned photographs is an image with the rising Moon in New Mexico. [read more] “»Moonrise, New Mexico« by Ansel Adams”
There is a plant called Ipomoea alba in Latin, but it also goes by the name of »Moonflower«, because its blossoms open in the evening and at night and because its round, white shape reminds of the full moon. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions, in particular Argentina, Mexico and Florida. The moonflower is a climbing plant and belongs to the genus ipomoea, incidentally, the same genus as a sweet potato (especially cultivated in China, Nigeria and Uganda). [read more] “The moonflower”
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)”
Does the full moon light have an influence on how fish bite when fishing? Some claim it is pointless to fish during a full moon, but others are adamant that their catches are particularly good during a full moon and can barely be surpassed.
It can be assumed that it is more the moonlight, which could bear an effect, rather than the astronomical event full moon itself (which can also take place during the day, as we have already outlined). Hence, it should hardly make a difference whether one goes fishing in the night before/after or during a full moon itself, because the amount of light is roughly the same and is more influenced by clouds and weather rather than by the exact constellation of planets. [read more] “Fishing during a full moon?”
When natural forces are involved, people are mostly torn between fear and fascination. They are looking for the challenge to come into contact with these forces. At the same time, everyone has to respectfully recognize these elemental forces, sooner or later. This becomes impressively apparent in surfing, when a person is gliding on a metre high wave on a surf board. If he manages to stay in front of the crest, and not to be rolled over by the breaking of the wave, he is the winner and in the belief to control the element. If he is not able to do so, it mostly turns dangerous or at least uncomfortable. It is a risky game. [read more] “Surfing with full moon power”
Although, one could easily presume that full moon influences the reproduction of many creatures, this has really only been proven for some species. One assumes this is the case with wolves, specific insects or crabs and also many humans vow not being able to do anything other than to look for the closeness of the other (or the same) sex at full moon. But absolutely certain are scientist only about one animal species that may not even be considered an animal by many: the corals. Here it has been established that reproduction is dependent on water temperature and moon light. [read more] “Why corals adore the full moon”
When the sun light is reflected and diffracted in fine water droplets in the air, a rainbow arises. So what happens if the same occurs in the moon light, is there also going to be a rainbow? Well, we find the idea of a moon rainbow quite fascinating …
Let’s take a short detour into physics. What we recognise in a rainbow as an arched bow made of colourful light, are the spectral colours that develop when the “white” sunlight fans out in its different wavelenghts, which we perceive in different colours. This decomposition does also take place, when the light is sent through a glass prism. [read more] “A rainbow in the full moon light!”