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 Moonlight Topaz

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Other than the moonstone, there are more minerals with the Moon being part of their name: the moonlight topaz. The topaz is a compound of aluminum, fluorine and silicon and has the hardness value of 8, on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness from 1 (= selenite) to 10 (= diamond). Which means it is a very hard mineral. Topazes exist worldwide, but most findings originate in Brazil. When conditions are favorable for the growth of this mineral, their weight can easily reach up to 220 lb and more. The biggest topaz that was ever found, was 3.3 ft long and weighed 2.5 tons (Mozambique, Africa).

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Surfing with full moon power

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.

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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 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.

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Sonoma Valley – “Valley of the Moon”

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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.

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Tecciztecatl – the moon god of the Aztec

The Aztec were indigenous people (natives), who lived in Central America between the 14th and 16th century, in the area of today’s Mexico. Just like all primordial nations, they had a variety of deities and Tecciztecatl is the god of the moon. Many stories about the Aztec have been passed on, most of them appear sinister and cruel. Also their ending, precipitated by the Spanish conquerors, was bloody and does not belong to the chapters man can boast about. And so, you look to the past with split feelings.

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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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Tsunami at the full moon?

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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?

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Lunatic – the mad side of the moon

As already mentioned in our article about sleepwalking, a connection was made in the past between the moonlight and people, if their conduct was odd, crazy or threatening. One assumed that the moonlight caused this behaviour and spoke of »lunatic«, which derives from the Latin »lunatus« and means more or less »influenced by the moon«. In English, this terminology »lunatic« has been used for many forms of mental illnesses over many centuries. Because many of these disorders could not be explained for a long time (and there are still plenty of questions today), one was in need of a point of reference, a word that would accompany on the path of darkness. The Moon was very convenient.

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