Moon Question of the Day

Is it true that the weather changes (good to bad, bad to good) at the full Moon?

Weather records confirm that the days following both the new and full Moons are most likely to be rainy or stormy. A winter full Moon is a time for long cold snaps. In April, the full Moon brings frost. Sailors agree that the full Moon "eats clouds." Two full Moons in a month increase the chances of flood. A pale full Moon indicates rain, and a red one brings wind. A Christmas full Moon predicts a poor harvest.

Last 7 Days

What is the temperature on the Moon?

Daytime temperature is about 235 degrees F. Nighttime temperatures can drop to -275 degrees F.

Where did the names of the days of the week come from?

The Babylonians named the days after the five planetary bodies known to them (Tuesday through Saturday) and after the Sun and Moon (Sunday and Monday). This custom was later adopted by the Romans. Emperor Constantine established the seven-day week in the Roman calendar in 321 and designated Sunday and Monday as the first two days of the week. The other weekday names in English are derived from Anglo-Saxon names for gods in Teutonic mythology. Tuesday comes from Tiu, or Tiw, the Anglo-Saxon name for Tyr, the Norse god of war. Tyr was one of the sons of Odin, or Woden, the supreme deity after whom Wednesday is named. Similarly, Thursday originates from Thor, the god of thunder. Friday is derived from Frigga, the wife of Odin, representing love and beauty.

Is there a rhyme about the color of the Moon and how this color can foretell the weather?

There are several, but the one most familiar to us is "Pale Moon doth rain, red Moon doth blow, white Moon doth neither rain nor snow".

Did something happen astronomically in 1962 that will not be repeated for 4,000 years?

In 1962 there was a Great Conjunction, or alignment of all the visible planets plus the Sun and Moon, along with a solar eclipse. Now that was unusual! Some sources mistakenly suggest that such a planetary alignment occurs only about every 4,000 to 6,000 years, which is not true.

What is the definition of sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset, especially regarding the exact times of day when they occur?

Sunset occurs when the upper edge of the Sun -- called the upper limb -- sinks just under the horizon; sunrise occurs when the upper limb rises just above the horizon. The same is true for the Moon. These events can happen earlier or later than expected because the atmosphere bends the light rays near the horizon in such a manner that the Sun and Moon can appear to be above the horizon when they are already (or still, in the case of sunrise and moonrise) beneath it.

Why do stars twinkle, while the visible planets (and our Moon) shine constantly when viewed?

First, the stars themselves do not twinkle. We are seeing the effect of Earth's atmosphere on the light they produce. The starlight is bent by moving volumes of air in our atmosphere. The bending effect makes the stars appear to be larger than points, to dance around slightly, and to change in intensity, which is what is commonly called twinkling. Planets don't usually appear to twinkle because they are close enough to Earth that they appear as tiny disks of light. The total intensity doesn't seem to change -- hence no twinkling is apparent to the naked eye.

What is a "Catfish Moon"?

We couldn't find specific information on a Catfish Moon. However, in colonial America, the full Moon of March was called the Fish Moon. This probably had something to do with the beginning of fish spawning season along the eastern coast of the United States. Old catfishermen believed the best time to fish was three days before a full Moon to three days after a full Moon. They also believed that the day of the new Moon (the dark of the Moon) was a good time to fish for catfish. Not that you asked, but we did discover a play entitled "Catfish Moon," written by Laddy Sartin, and an Australian blues band of the same name.

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