Our One-And-Only Moon?

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Nearly Full Moon With Thin Veil Of Cirrus Cloud Over It | Image Tim Chuey

I have always been fascinated by that heavenly body that helps light up the night sky. I thought the Moon was cool when I was a kid and growing up during the “Space Race” made the Moon even more special because we were going to send humans on a journey that would end up having humans actually walking on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite. We have always seen the Moon as unique to our world, but that has changed, sort of.

Believe it or not we have what is being called a “mini moon” orbiting Earth. Astronomers in Tucson, Arizona discovered the tiny asteroid February 14, 2020 and its official name is 2020 CD3. NBC News.com announced the discovery in an article titled “New ‘mini-moon’ orbiting Earth – for now, astronomers say.” It is quite small, only 6-11 feet across.

Kacper Wierzchos, a researcher with the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab, is quoted as saying “BIG NEWS.” Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3. On the night of February 15th, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found a 20th magnitude object.” Wierzchos explains the the object’s orbit suggests that about three years ago is when it entered Earth orbit.

Kacper Wierzchos
Kacper Wierzchos, | Photo by researchgate.net

Again Wierzchos is quoted as saying “this discovery is a ‘big deal’ because, out of roughly 1 million known space rocks, this is just the second asteroid known to orbit Earth (after 2006 RH120, which was also discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey).”

Most of us have an attraction for the Full Moon. Whether it’s s Super Full Moon or just a normal one we even have legends and fiction relating to the effect the full moon has on humans. We have one every month and sometimes we are lucky enough to have two. They each have names and many have multiple names.

The Old Farmers Almanac | Image by slideshare.net

Most people have trouble understanding their relevance in today’s world so here is a tutorial on the derivation of those names. They originate from Native American lore mainly from the Algonquin tribes from around Lake Superior through New England. My source for these names, which I have used since I started doing TV weather back in 1972, is the Old Farmers Almanac. They have compiled the best and most detailed list that I have found.

Let’s get started with the month of January. It’s called the Full Wolf Moon because of the hungry wolves that would be howling outside the Indian villages during the cold winter. It has also been called the Full Cold Moon or the Full After Yule Moon.

The Full Snow Moon is the most common name given to February’s full Moon. That’s the month with the heaviest snowfalls in the Northeast. The Full Hunger Moon is an alternate which fits with heavy snow making hunting for game much more difficult. You get the picture. These names are very utilitarian. Very meaningful to the day-to-day life of Native Americans many years ago.

The most common name for March’s moon is the Full Worm Moon from seeing the robins finding worms in the ground under the thawing snow. Also called the Full Sap Moon referring to the sap starting to flow in the maple trees so they can be tapped for syrup. Apparently the settlers called this one, the last full moon of Winter, the Full Lenten Moon.

The Full Pink Moon occurs in April and refers to the herb moss pink, also known as wild ground phlox, a very early Spring flower. The coastal tribes called it the Full Fish Moon because it was the time when the Shad began their journey upstream to spawn. In keeping with the flora references another name is the Full Sprouting Grass Moon and lastly the Full Egg Moon.

May’s Full Flower Moon seems obvious because that’s when the flowers really multiply and bloom. The Full Corn (planting) Moon is another name along with Full Milk Moon.

Full strawberry Moon
Full strawberry Moon | Photo by mirror.cu.uk

June’s moon is called the Full Strawberry Moon and the name was used by every Algonquin tribe. In a good year the strawberries ripen in the month of June. The Europeans back home called it the Full Rose Moon.

July’s Catalina Sky Survey got its name from the buck deer getting their new horns at this time. Two other names given for July are the Full Thunder Moon (Peak of the thunderstorm season back East). The Full Hay Moon is the third July name representing the time to bring in the hay for storing.

The Full Sturgeon Moon of August apparently got its name from  the tribes that fish for sturgeon during the month. Other names are the Full Red Moon, since the moon appears to be red as seen when through the atmosphere as it is rising above the horizon, and the Full Green Corn or Grain Moon.

Next we get to the month of September where the Native Americans called it the Full Corn Moon because that is when the corn crop was ready for picking. It is also the Full Harvest Moon determined by being the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. Sometimes the Harvest occurs in October when the equinox is late.

The Full Hunter’s Moon is in October for the obvious reason of having to get the hunting completed before winter sets in. Other names used are the Full Blood Moon and the Full Sanguine Moon.

November’s moon is called the Full Beaver Moon, not after the Oregon Beavers, but because it was time to set the beaver traps before the waterways froze over in Winter. It could also be called the Full Frosty Moon.

Finally we get to the month of December. The Full Cold Moon is the most common name used for this month. It’s pretty obvious that’s because of the cold temperatures ushering in the Winter months. Two other names for this month’s full moon are the Full Moon Before Yule and the Long Night Moon referring to the longest nights of the year occurring in December.

Regardless of what name we give each full moon we are still fascinated by the the effect it has on us. In “olden days” the moon was blamed for people going crazy, thus the term lunatic was born.

We know the moon controls the tides and there are some who believe that the moon can have a direct effect on the human body, since it is made up of about 75% water. Many ancient peoples worshiped Moon gods.

Then we have the “Man in the Moon” for which songs have been written and movies have been made. Some people even thought the moon was made out of green cheese. I don’t know about you, but I find the moon a bit comforting. It’s one of the constants in my lifetime. It’s always been there and I hope it always will be.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can email me at: [email protected]ilynews.com

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