The full moon knowledge

Here we begin our little journey to the full moon. A few words about the fascinating quest of the greater purpose, that includes the full moon circulating through our lives. In layman’s terms and not always scientific (astronomy experts – don’t look too closely!). We would like to wish you illuminating moments. Enjoy!

How do you define a full moon?

A full moon is when the Sun and the Moon are facing opposite, being in opposite direction from an Earth perspective.

This might feel astonishing if one imagines that the Moon is on one side, the Sun on the other and the Earth in between? Shouldn’t the Earth throw a shadow onto the Moon? Bingo – this is exactly what she does! But only when the Moon is exactly on the Earth orbit, the so called “ecliptic”. When this takes place, we speak of a lunar eclipse!

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How long is the interval between two full moons?

The Moon needs 27.33 days to circle around the Earth. Something that is also referred to as “sidereal time”. But because the Earth orbits the Sun, just like the Moon orbits the Earth, the Moon has to travel two further days in order to resume the same position to the Earth and Sun. This is then called the “sidereal time”. In order to determine the point of time of the reoccurring full moon, the sidereal time serves as basis.

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When is full moon in Europe, Asia or America?

The answer is: “everywhere at the same time”. This refers to the so called Universal Time (UT) though, which is used for general astronomical events. We have already learnt that full moon is an astronomical event, where the moon, sun and the earth play a role by being in a specific position. So, full moon takes place at a specific time in the outer space. This point of time is specified by astronomers namely by the Universal Time.

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How long is the full moon?

There are multiple ways of approaching this question. If we look at it from a purely theoretical standpoint, we might be tempted to say that the full moon is infinitely short, since the phases of the moon are changing continuously. The moon is not yet quite full shortly before the full moon, and is already waning shortly afterwards.

However, there is a practical aspect that lets us quantify the full moon as a finite and measurable span of time: Since the Sun is significantly bigger than the Moon, its rays are able to reach just a little over half of the Moon’s surface. This means that the timespan in which the visible side of the Moon’s surface is irradiated (as seen from Earth) is longer than infinitely short.

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And is it all the full moon’s fault?

Whether scientists, astrologers or esoterics, they agree on one thing: the moon influences earth and life on earth. For instance, it regulates the tides through its magnetism. Also continents feel the consequence of this magnetism and either raise or lower their position sometimes up to 26 cm.

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Sex and the full moon?

In nature it is a known fact: for some animal species, mating takes place at full moon. However, the examples that can be found on this subject are rather simple. Full moon serves in some cases indirectly as the cause (for instance through the high water levels during the tides that the horseshoe crab uses to deposit its eggs) or also as the signal for both sexes of a species to begin at the exact same time to safeguard their future existence (a particular type of fly or also corals). It is understood that also wolves are led by full moon when it is time to mate.

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It is said …

… that people are looking for an argument at full moon or are especially happy …

… that if full moon is surrounded by a haze, a person dies …

… that you raise your hat three times to the moon (being a man) or you make a curtsey (being a woman), in order to protect yourself from misfortune until the next full moon …

… that whoever does not chink glasses with full moon at least once, does not deserve any happiness [Greek toast] …

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Information about a lunar eclipse

Easily explained

During a lunar eclipse, the Moon moves through the shadow of the Earth. Which means, that the Earth is positioned quite exactly between the Sun and Moon and casts its shadow onto the Moon. This is only possible at full moon and if some other requirements are met. Depending on whether the moon passes the partial or the core shadow of the Earth, we speak of a partial or total lunar eclipse.

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The full moon of Aboriginal Australians

In Australia, the “southern land” (lat. terra australis), full moon has been shining for millennia for its natives, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. According to estimates they inhabit this continent since more than 50,000 years, while Europeans only began to settle there 200 to 400 years ago. We would like to make a connection to the full moon, which is very much part of this fascinating culture, who, like many others, had to endure many wrongs during the course of more recent history.

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Is »the moon« feminine or masculine?

In view of the two original principles »feminine« and »masculine«, it is tempting to attribute the feminine, receiving principle to the moon and the masculine, creative principle to the sun. And most languages, where nouns posess articles, do reflect this, like for example the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian). However, there are a number of languages, for example German, Norwegian, Polish, Slovenian, Serbian or Czech, where the moon is masculine.

So, does the moon contain more masculine quality, after all, than originally assumed?

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“Rupes Recta” – a line on the Moon

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“Rupes Recta” is the name for a long line, which is visible on the Moon’s surface. The name derives from Latin and means “straight fault”, but due to its prominent shape, it is also called “Sword of the Moon”.

Rupes Recta is located at the edge of the lunar mare Mare Nubium and is one of the best known escarpments of the Moon. It is more than 60 miles long, with a width of 1–2 miles and a height of around 800 feet.

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»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.  

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The biblical Moon

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We have already searched and found the word »full moon« in the Bible, but only in two places in the Old Testament (Psalm 81:3–4 and Proverb 7:18–20). This is surprising, because the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples must have taken place during the full moon, and hence, should have been mentioned in the New Testament.

We have extended our research and have looked for the word »moon« in the Bible. Here too, most passages can be found in the Prophetic books and Psalms of the Old Testament. However, there are also two places in the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke and Mark.

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“Full Moon Silhouettes” by Mark Gee

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“Full Moon Silhouettes” is an almost 4 minute real time video by the Australian photographer and visual effect artist Mark Gee, where the rise of the full moon is shown, above Mount Victoria lookout in Wellington (New Zealand). You can see an uncut sequence where the Moon rises from the lower right corner above the horizon, and ascends to the left upper side (because this takes place on the southern hemisphere!). The visitors on the lookout are visible as black silhouettes in front of the yellow Moon and its luna maria.

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The Moon on the run?

When looking at the Moon, how slowly it travels across the night sky, one could easily forget that we are moving with a staggering speed through space with our Earth and our Moon. Furthermore, there is the rotation of the orbs to each other, which remains hidden from our senses as well. Only the mind knows of these astronomic connections and only for a short period of time (measured by our existence).

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Let’s go

Let’s begin the New Year 2011 with the opening of the full moon blog. A true innovation to the full moon pages.

For everyone, who is not quite sure what a blog is, let’s say it is a kind of an Internet diary. The word »blog« is an abbreviation of »weblog«, which again derives from »web« (for Internet) and »logbook«, a term used in maritime shipping for recording daily events. Interestingly enough, it is mentioned in WIKIPEDIA that logbooks are of great importance in legal cases involving maritime commercial disputes, and therefore mandatory to be kept and not on a voluntary basis. As blogger (name of someone who writes in a blog), we certainly would not keep this rule, but encourage spontaneous participation and think it should be fun, and whenever possible, we will establish a connection to the full moon.

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The Moon and Mark Twain

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There is a famous quote by the American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910), taken from his satirical travel guide »A Tramp Abroad«, published in 1880: »Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.« He alludes to the astronomical fact that the Moon only turns one side towards the Earth, due to its synchronous rotation. The reverse side of the Moon remains hidden to us when observed from Earth.

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The Moon illusion

Have you ever wondered, after you took a photograph of the full moon that the Moon looks much smaller on the picture than as it appears to you in real? This effect occurs particularly when the Moon is above the horizon. This is a so-called Moon illusion, which is an optical illusion, meaning it can only be seen this way through our perception and is therefore not depicted on the photograph.

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