I was mooned, last night. Okay, cheap laugh. What I mean is that I ventured outside to take in the beautiful view of the full moon…sorry, I mean “supermoon”…no, it was even better than that, it was an extreme supermoon, which simply means the point at which the full or new moon is at its lunar perigee, or closest to the Earth. But at 356,577 km away, last night’s moon may not have seemed close to us, but in celestial terms, it just took one small step toward us in its monthly dance around the Earth.
The moon, being our closest neighbor, seems to hold the greatest fascination of all celestial bodies. Many tales have been told to explain the phases of the moon, eclipses, blood moons, and yes, super moons. And it has been blamed for natural disasters, acts of lunacy, and affairs of the heart.
It is a scientific fact that the moon’s gravitational pull affects the Earth’s tides, (That in itself makes me a fan of the moon.) but is it strong enough affect us directly?
What does that extreme supermoon last night mean? Nothing, really, except maybe some higher tides, although, there are some, astrologers in particular, who read much into celestial events. And those who follow these soothsayers believed last night’s event would create a world full of hurt. Sorry to disappoint you….
Of course most of us are not inclined to believe such dire premonitions, as deadlines for the end of the world have come and gone many times. But since the beginning of our sentience, mankind has been fascinated by the night sky and how it affects our little blue planet and its inhabitants. For mankind, it was the lure of the unknown which began the search for answers to the events happening around him - everyone loves a mystery - and when it couldn’t be explained scientifically, due to lack of knowledge, it’s the imagination which raced to find a satisfactory conclusion. Constellations were not only given names, but stories to explain how they got there, and a whole pseudo-science was built around them and other celestial bodies. I have to admit that, as a teenager, I owned a book on astrology and used it to see if my friend’s personalities matched their signs, but that was all in fun.
To an astrologer the moon holds a part of our destiny within its grasp. To an astronomer, a full moon is simply a lunar phase that occurs when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun. To a poet, it might mean the life spring from which all romance flows. Whatever your theories on the moon’s effects one thing can’t be denied, it is beautiful and everyone likes to be mooned…er, you know what I mean.