Sunday, October 4, 2009
Taking a moment to appreciate a diamond upon black velvet~The Moon
In the true tradition of the season and our release of the Got Wolf? Anthology collection, I thought I'd touch on an interesting subject. Moon phases and cycles. We all know that moon phases affect both humans and animals alike. The moon controls the tides and has even been proven to affect people with psychiatric problems. In researching this subject, I've found some interesting information I'd like to share.
I have referenced the following information from a wonderful site: Keith's Moon Page:
Moon Phase Descriptions...
Although this cycle is a continuous process, there are eight distinct, traditionally recognized stages, called phases. The phases designate both the degree to which the Moon is illuminated and the geometric appearance of the illuminated part. These phases of the Moon, in the sequence of their occurrence (starting from New Moon), are listed below:
(1) New Moon - When the Moon is roughly in the same direction as the Sun, its illuminated half is facing away from the Earth, and therefore the part that faces us is all dark: we have the new moon. When in this phase, the Moon and the Sun rise and set at about the same time.
(2) Waxing Crescent Moon - As the Moon moves around the Earth, we get to see more and more of the illuminated half, and we say the Moon is waxing. At first we get a sliver of it, which grows as days go by. This phase is called the crescent moon.
(3) Quarter Moon - A week after the new moon, when the Moon has completed about a quarter of its turn around the Earth, we can see half of the illuminated part; that is, a quarter of the Moon. This is the first quarter phase.
(4) Waxing Gibbous Moon - During the next week, we keep seeing more and more of the illuminated part of the Moon, and it is now called waxing gibbous (gibbous means "humped").
(5) Full Moon - Two weeks after the new moon, the moon is now halfway through its revolution, and now the illuminated half coincides with the one facing the Earth, so that we can see a full disk: we have a full moon. As mentioned above, at this time the Moon rises at the time the Sun sets, and it sets when the Sun rises. If the Moon happens to align exactly with the Earth and Sun, then we get a lunar eclipse.
(6) Waning Gibbous Moon - From now on, until it becomes new again, the illuminated part of the Moon that we can see decreases, and we say it's waning. The first week after full, it is called waning gibbous.
(7) Last Quarter Moon - Three weeks after new, we again can see half of the illuminated part. This is usually called last quarter.
(8) Waning Crescent Moon - Finally, during the fourth week, the Moon is reduced to a thin sliver from us, sometimes called waning crescent. A while after four weeks (29.5 days, more precisely) the illuminated half of the Moon again faces away from us, and we come back to the beginning of the cycle: a new moon. Sometimes, when the Moon is almost new, it is possible to dimly see its darkened disk. The light from the Sun cannot reach this part of the Moon directly; but at this time the Earth (as viewed from the Moon) is at its full and very bright, and what we see is light reflected from the Earth, that then bounces back at us from the Moon. It's a long trip for this light: from the Sun to the Earth, to the Moon, and back to the Earth.
Now that we've covered the basic phases did you know we have a Blue Moon this month? A Blue Moon is when we either have two full moons within one month or four full moons in one season. The moon will be full tonight and again on Halloween! So perhaps we should all BEWARE when out and about on Halloween night, hmmm? You know what they say about how the crazies come out on a full moon, LOL and top that with ghouls, ghost, vampire, shifters and whatever other creatures will be wandering the streets on such a day.
One more thing I'd like to talk about today. Do you know that wolves, contrary to legend, do not howl at the moon? Their excitement is not any more profound on a full moon than any other night. The purpose of howling is to gather and help keep track of the pack, as well claim their territory, and encourages commaraderie. Individual wolves in the pack have distinct voices and when the pack howls together, they harmonize, thus the beautiful and eerie wolfsong. Howling tends to be more frequent in the coolness of the night and in the early morning when wolves are most active. The moon's visibility during these hours has no bearing on the wolves whatsoever. Wolves seem to lift their muzzles toward the sky for the single purpose of having the howl carry great distances through the air.
Hope you've enjoyed this information. I'll drop in later in the week with more moon and wolf information.
Don't forget to look for the releases this month of Got Wolf? Anthologies Volumes I & II at The Wild Rose Press.
Callie Lynn Wolfe
SE The Black Rose Imprint
The Wild Rose Press