Thursday, October 18, 2007

Many moons ago...

Native Americans gave titles to the full moons. Here are a few worth viewing:

Wolf Moon. The first full moon after Christmas. In January, in the Northern parts of the US and Canada, the cold temps and frozen ground give very little for the wolves to eat. A full moon at night at this time of year helps their nocturnal hunt. Listen for the howls.

Worm Moon. The last full moon of Winter. In March, as the ground thaws worm castings make their way to the surface of the soil. Robins return and Spring is only days away.

Blue Moon. The name of the second full moon that falls in the same month. This year it was in the month of May. Despite what the poems and songs say, "once in a blue moon..." happens about every three years. Since the moon usually appears a whitish-blue, it's not so much the color of the moon but more the mood of the viewer.

Red Moon. Also called the Sturgeon Moon as the large fish are easiest to catch in the Great Lakes warmed by the summer sun. The moon appears to be a hazy orange-red and is larger than all other previous moons. This is because the moon (and earth) is close to the sun at this time of year. This is the last full moon before the kids go back to school.

Harvest Moon. The reason we have harvest dances (okay, a bit of stretch). The full moon that is closet to the Autumn Equinox -- usually the end of September or beginning of October. The corn, pumpkins and most summer crops are ready for harvesting. A great thing to celebrate.

Source: Joe Rao, Hayden Planetarium, New York. (

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