A Faint Eclipse on the Mourning Moon

Mourning Moon

The Full Moon for November is late, arriving tomorrow (the 30th) at 09:30 UTC, because the last Full Moon was on the last day of October. Here in Paradelle, the Moon will be full at 4:30 AM EST appearing opposite the Sun.

But the Moon always appears full for about three days around this time, so from Saturday night through Tuesday morning, it seems to most people that there is a Full Moon.

There will also be a very faint penumbral lunar eclipse. It will be nearly imperceptible, so you probably won’t see anything when you look up at that Full Moon even while it is happening.  I suppose a really careful observer, maybe with a telescope in a dark place, might see a subtle shading on the Moon

This celestial event made me think of the poem by Billy Collins, “As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse” from his collection, Nine Horses.

I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin…

That poem reminds me of  a solar system model that was in a number of my school classrooms where you could move the planets around the Sun which made me, like Collins, feel like “a benevolent god presiding / over a miniature creation myth.”
What you will be able to see in the night sky near the Moon during the eclipse is a reddish star called Aldebaran. That star is the Eye of the Bull in Taurus. The tiny dipper-shaped Pleiades star cluster (which is used in the Subaru emblem) will be nearby.

The November Full Moon has many names. In the past, we have used many of these names, especially those that apply to Paradelle nature signs, such as the Beaver Moon, Fog Moon, Moon of the Falling Leaves, Frost Moon, and Snow Moon.

In some pagan traditions, this is the Mourning Moon. Though many of us reflect on the year and make personal changes in our lives with the new year, this Full Moon can be seen as a time to let go of the past. If there is a bad habit, fears or emotions that are weighing you down, you are supposed to send them off as the moon rises Monday morning. A morning Mourning Moon for 2020 – a year many of us are quite willing to let go.

Pleiades and Subaru

It’d a cold rainy night in Paradelle so there will be no Geminid meteors to see. But standing in my driveway, Christmas lights were reflecting very nicely from the stars on the logo on my Subaru.

Subaru logoSubaru means “unite” in Japanese, but there is also a celestial meaning to the logo. The six star cluster represents six stars in the Taurus constellation that the ancient Greeks called them Pleiades and they represented the seven daughters of Greek mythological figures Atlas and Pleione.

But you only see six stars. What about daughter #7? There are seven stars but only six are visible to the naked eye, so only six appear on the logo.

Alcyone is the “queen who wards off evil” and is the central and largest star of the Pleiades constellation.

Asterope is a double star in the Pleiades constellation whose name translates as “lightning.”

Merope is the only daughter to marry a mortal so she shines less brightly than her sisters.

Maia was the eldest and most beautiful. According to Greek myth, Maia was a lover of Zeus and gave birth to Hermes.

Zeus also defiled sister Taygeta while she was unconscious! She went into hiding and to protect her she was transformed into a doe.

Celaeno was married to Poseidon. Her name means “darkness” and this “Lost Pleiad” is sometimes difficult to see with the naked eye.

And finally, there is Electra whose name means amber, shining and bright. She was the wife of Corythus and was also seduced by Zeus – what a horrible god – and gave birth to Dardanus, who became the founder of Troy.