Superb Moon 2015

For those aware that there is a thing called the sky, last night presented those of us located on the continental United States with the sight of a full lunar eclipse during a full moon. It was not only a lunar eclipse during a full moon, but it was a “supermoon,” as newspaper headline writers insisted.

The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle; it varies from 221,000 miles away to just over 252,000 miles away. Last night, it was at perigee, or its closest point in its orbit, and that coincided with the full moon. Thus, last night’s full moon looked enormous: 14% larger than the average full moon and many times brighter than average. And then the Earth’s shadow took it away in an eclipse, because that’s what the Earth does.
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A Rainy Day

A 1964 article in Nature with the euphonious title, “Nature of argillaceous odour,” gave the world the not-as euphonious-sounding word, “petrichor.” In it, two researchers attempted to scientifically describe what it is we smell when we smell the world after a rain shower and to give it a name.

The two authors coined the word, “petrichor,” which I have been mispronouncing in my head since I first encountered it last year, when an article on the Huffington Post started making its social media rounds. It has a long “I,” so say it like this: “petra,” then “eye-core,” which is not how I hear it in my head, with a short “i.”
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Moon Swoon June

In October, I wrote this:

The belief that there is a connection between things that happen on Earth and things that happen at around the same time in the night sky is such a seductive one that it has transcended human eras, societies, religions, and politics. Dictators and democrats alike have believed in auspicious and inauspicious times to begin initiatives or end policies. (Or lives.)
It is understandable that we humans would think of ourselves so non-humbly, that we would see ourselves not only as the conclusion to nature’s long, almost-eternal, statement, one that seems to have led to us, but that we would view ourselves as not merely a conclusion to nature’s statement, a period mark, but as THE conclusion, an exclamation point. To paraphrase a TV show: “We are the one who knocks.” We aren’t much, but we’re all we think about.
In the universal scheme of things, however, humanity’s history may not even show up as a comma in eternity’s sentences.
And this is just fine. Nature or the Big You Know Who Upstairs granted us a wonderful gift, life, for no reason at all, which is the definition of grace. And humans, many humans, were granted consciousness, which also was undeserved.— “‘The Way’,” October 28, 2014

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