Saturday, November 12, 2016

Still Life with Robin: Mooning for Better Times

Photo by Harrison Jones 
via Wikimedia Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

The past week has been fairly traumatic for the 95.6 percent of us in DC who voted for someone other than Donald Trump to become our President. We all need some way to soothe ourselves, calm our spirits with beauty and wonder – and what works better for that purpose than glow of moonlight? On Monday, November 14 we will be rewarded with a Super Moon,, the biggest and best one since 1948. The November Super Moon (called the "Beaver Moon" by the Farmers Almanac, which uses the Native American terms for each of the moons - see is the second of a trio of Super Moons that started with October's full moon on the 16th, and finishes up with December's full moon on the 14th. For a full explanation of what makes a full moon a “Super Moon” and why all three end-of-the-year moons pass the test, watch NASA's video at:

The NASA video above is clear but it relies on some explanations of scientific terms (“Syzygy” anyone?). For a quick write-up of the Super Moon phenomenon in simpler, more accessible language (to non-astronomers!) you might enjoy this piece on -- a site mainly known for debunking the many fictions and hoaxes that circulate on the internet, but in this case confirming the validity of the term “Super Moon” to describe the November 14 event. The Snopes explanation is here:

Our own local Capital Weather Gang has the most practical advice for moon viewing in Washington, DC, which is to look for the best views on Sunday evening, or else get up before dawn on Monday:  
“On Sunday afternoon, the nearly-full moon rises at 4:43 p.m. in Washington, while the sun sets at 4:55 p.m. The following morning, the moon sets at 6:36 a.m. — so if you scoot out of bed around 5 a.m., you’ll see the moon low in the western sky plump and full. The full moon rises Monday evening at 5:30 p.m., so look for it close to the eastern horizon.”   
Unfortunately, we may be in for some rain on Monday, or at least overcast skies – so your best bet appears to be to look for the moon on Sunday.

If you’re planning for a mid-November moonlight stroll and would like a soundtrack for it, try this: 
….and do try your best to keep all associations with lunacy out of your head!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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