Super moon tonight!

Moonrise by Jan Betton
(This illustration always reminds me of my daughter Jazzy and her little brother Jude.)

know the old folk custom of putting out a bowl of milk for the fairies?
Well tonight there is a super moon and if you want her moonbeams to
shine your way especially beautifully then you must put something out
for her. The moon likes laughter so float some her way — like a
mellifluous ribbon in the wind, like a balloon of happiness swaying
gently, like a handful of fireworks giggles. She wont be able to stay

Venus in transit: spectacle on high

Brightest and most beautiful

Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love. It is considered the brightest and most beautiful object in the heavens
next to the sun and moon, and is far brighter than any star. Read more about Venus at

The transit of Venus in 2004 as seen from the Royal Observatory
Greenwich in London.
Photograph: Ian
Waldie/Getty Images

venus in transit
By Annette Marie Hyder

photos make it look like the black navel
of the most delicious orange
in the universe

in my mind i always pictured it
as a tiny jeweled hummingbird
gliding across the giant blossom of the sun

but now i see it as venus waltzing
across a ballroom
whose floor is waxed with flame

she is hot (867°F) and sultry
as she gets lost in her lover’s gaze
until the two seem one

There wont be another one for a hundred years

Check out today’s “Venus in transit”. There wont be another one for a hundred years. Here in Minnesota it should be visible a little after 5:00 PM.

The Northfield Patch reports:

“A little after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, residents in southern Minnesota
will have an opportunity to witness one of the rarest predictable
celestial events: a transit of Venus.

Often referred to as the “Evening Star” or “Morning Star,” Venus is
the brightest natural object in our sky after the Sun and the Moon. As
the second planet from the Sun, it’s closer to the Sun than the Earth

A “transit” of Venus occurs when Venus passes between us and the Sun
in such a way that we can see Venus’s silhouette backlit by the Sun’s
brilliant light. It last happened in 2004, but it won’t happen again
until 2117. Unless you plan to shatter some human longevity records,
this is probably your last chance.

Were Venus either large enough or close enough to block out the Sun’s
light as it passed, we would call this event an eclipse, as we do when
the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. Venus, however, is a
little bit smaller than the Earth and about 27 million miles away. When
its tiny silhouette is viewed against the Sun, which lies another 66
million miles beyond, it can offer viewers a dramatic sense of the
solar’s system’s vast scale.”

“There’s a little black spot on the sun today” — King of Pain, The Police

Listening to King of Pain, The Police:

Links of interest:

i09: Everything you need to know to catch Tuesday’s rare transit of Venus (This piece is awesomely informative.)
The Washington Post: The last Venus transit for 105 years

my right ear

By Annette Marie Hyder

is a chocolate box
filled with your sweet confections
even the moon leans in closer
hoping to overhear

Super Moon

Check out the moon tonight — it’s the biggest and closest it will be all year. It is the perigee moon and it is awesome!

From Reuters:

“Super Moon” will light up Saturday’s night sky in a once-a-year cosmic
show, overshadowing a meteor shower from remnants of Halley’s Comet, the
U.S. space agency NASA said.

The Moon will seem especially
big and bright since it will reach its closest spot to Earth at the same
time it is in its full phase, NASA said.

Moon “is a ‘super Moon,’ as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent
brighter than other full Moons of 2012,” it said in a statement.

scientific term for the phenomenon is “perigee moon.” The Moon follows
an elliptical path around Earth with one side, or perigee, about 31,000
miles closer than the other, or apogee.

Moon will reach perigee at 11:34 p.m. EDT (0334 GMT on Sunday). One
minute later, it will line up with the Earth and the Sun to become full.

The last perigee Moon was on March 19, 2011, when it was about 250 miles closer than Saturday’s.

perigee full Moon can bring tides that are higher than normal but only
by an inch or so (a few centimeters). The effect can be amplified by
local geography, but only by about six inches.”

There’s a full moon, look out your window!

Calming touch
Annette Marie Hyder

The same full moon
that lays her hands
on the waves
calming the sea —
that same full moon
lays her hands on me.

Full Thunder Moon or Full Buck Moon

Live Science reports:

“The seventh full moon of 2011 will rise around sunset this week, and
it’ll offer a double treat as it appears pretty much the same when it
rises both Thursday and Friday evenings.

July’s full moon is known as the Full Buck Moon,
because it comes at the time of year when new antlers push out from the
foreheads of buck deer. The moniker dates back to the Native American
tribes that once lived in the northern and eastern United States.

Other names for July’s full moon include the Full Thunder Moon, because
thunderstorms are frequent in the summertime, and the Full Hay Moon”

Blue Moon Diddle

                         Image courtesy of

December 31 is not only the end of the year and the end of the decade. It’s a night with a second full moon in a calendar month–a “bluemoon.” 

National Geographic reports:

If the skies are clear, revelers looking up at midnight will get an eyeful of the second full moon of the month—commonly called a blue moon. The last time a blue moon appeared on New Year’s Eve was in 1990, and it won’t happen again until 2028.

A blue moon isn’t actually blue—as commonly defined, the name reflects the relative rarity of twofull moons in a month and is linked to the saying “once in a blue moon.”

Most years on average have 12 full moons, with 1 appearing each month.

The term “blue moon” can also refer to the rare instances when the moon actually seems to turn blue, as can happen under certain atmospheric conditions.

Rising in the east at sunset, the New Year’s Evefull moon will reach its highest point at midnight, noted JackHorkheimer, director of the Miami Space-Transit Planetarium and host of PBS television’s long-running show Star Gazer.

“Full moons around winter solstice rise their highest for the entire year,”Horkheimer added. “Even if you are downtown in a large city, if it is clear at the stroke of midnight the moon will be very visible if you look up.”

In any location, the high, silvery orb will seem like a floodlight cast on the landscape, added Horkheimer, who is organizing a national moon-howling contest around this year’s blue moon.

“This is especially true where the ground is covered with a blanket of snow.There is nothing quite so spectacular as a snow-covered scene under a December full moon at midnight.” Source

Happy New Year’s Eve! And here is a Blue Moon Diddle — a riff off of the English nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle.

 Hey diddle diddle, the moon is blue
After Hey Diddle Diddle, English Nursery Rhyme
Annette Marie Hyder

Tell all the trees
let the rocks know too
the rivers shall be notified
about the moon’s blue hue.

The sky saved up all year
for this special surprise
so that this new year’s eve
would have an indigo moonrise.

Blue as a robin’s egg or
blue as in rare
we’re in on the wink
from the moon up there.

When the cat sees that
he  throws down his fiddle
he pulls out his iPod
and listens to Biddle.

The cow is amazed
that her graceful leap
sent her over the moon
she blushes at her own hoofed feet.

The little dog laughs to see such sport
and begins to chase his tail
when he catches it, he bites it
and then begins to wail.

The spoon is in a fine romance
the dish is his object of woo
her porcelain just  sparkles
at the romance and the view

of the moon decked out in party best
and champagne starlight going to her head.
That pretty happiness is two parts why
the two ran off and straightaway wed.

Happy winter solstice!

Image created digitally from public domain image of Neuschwanstein Castle

winter solstice

Annette Marie Hyder

winter solstice comes
like a hero to hold back
the encroaching night
a rescuer of day
who has been wasting away
in the stronghold of ice and snow

now the tread of light will lengthen
once again
diminishing the dark
step by step led out and leading
at the same time
because the sun swept down

balancing precariously on the edge of sky
to the lowest point and scooped victory
from the field and placed her to his right hand
and she let him
and so the days will lengthen
and so the warmth will come

green grass and golden light
will never be overcome
red berries will tell this tale
pine needles will stitch it
in the seamless sheets of snow

winds will trumpet this news
as the black birds crow
every rock will shout it
before the cold time’s done
and it will ring in caves of bone
all the way to Jötunheimr

National Geographic reports:

Today is the winter solstice and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s all due to Earth’s tilt, which ensures that the shortest day of every year falls around December 21.

Since ancient times people have marked the winter solstice with countless cultural and religious traditions—it’s no coincidence the modern holiday season surrounds the first day of winter.

During the winter solstice the sun hugs closer to the horizon than at any other time during the year, yielding the least amount of daylight annually. On the bright side, the day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days leading up to the summer solstice.

Read about the astronomy that defines the winter solstice, ancient civilization’s celebrations of the winter solstice and the connection between the winter solstice and Christmas here.

Mistletoe, Nargles and Norse gods
Winter solstice moon

Free show — Leonid meteor shower

One of the most spectacular meteor showers of the entire year

The Leonid meteor shower is underway and is predicted to last from November 13 to 20. The best time to view it was this morning after 1:30 AM. But if you were unaware of the heavenly spectacle, otherwise engaged or maybe sleeping — you might still catch a glimpse of it tonight or in the coming nights through the 20th.

The new moon will allow the Leonid meteor shower to dazzle in tonight’s darkness.

Ticket’s have been comped by Mother Nature. Enjoy.

Tips for the show
Related article and poem

Total solar eclipse envelops Asia in daytime darkness

Photo courtesy of AP images

coffee to go

tanka with kigo
Annette Marie Hyder

after one huge bite
the moon licks its sun smeared lips
looks for the waitress
at this heavenly diner
and says “put it on my tab”

Century’s longest total solar eclipse

The English word eclipse comes from the Greek word for “abandonment” or “a forsaking” (ekleipsis). Ancient peoples thought, among other things (see Missing Sun Motif in Solar Mythology), that the sun literally abandoned the earth during an eclipse. By that way of thinking, today, July 22, 2009, the sky shall be bereaved of the sun.

From the Associated Press:

TOKYO, Japan — Millions of Asians turned their eyes skyward Wednesday as dawn suddenly turned to darkness across the continent in the longest total solar eclipse this century will see. Millions of others, fearing a bad omen, shuttered themselves indoors.

Chinese launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. On a remote Japanese island, bewildered cattle went to their feeding troughs thinking night had fallen. And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse.

Starting off in India just after dawn, the eclipse was visible across a wide swath of Asia before moving over southern Japan and then off into the Pacific Ocean. In some parts of Asia, it lasted as long as 6 minutes and 39 seconds.

The eclipse is the longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting 6 minutes, 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer eclipse than Wednesday’s until 2132.

The celestial event was met by a mixture of awe, excitement and fear.

Read the entire article here.

Related links:
NASA Eclipse Web Site
Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest
Missing Sun Motif in Solar Mythology

Not related at all really:
Total Eclipse of the Heart Literal Video Version

The biggest full moon of the year

Photo courtesy of UCI Observatory

The howlingest best full moon of the year

It’s Friday and there’s a full moon. The full moon will be the biggest one of the year as
Earth’s natural satellite reaches its closest point to our planet.

Details are here.

The Farmer’s Almanac has a list of full moon names and their meanings. The Farmer’s Almanac says that full moon names date back to Native
Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. December’s full moon is called The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon.


Annette Marie Hyder

perigean tides —
i am oceans and wild seas
you are the full moon

tides rise and banks are flooded —
to the pull and sway of you