When, in the course of its orbit around the Earth, the face of the moon is fully exposed to the sun's light, the result is, from the surface of our planet, a full moon--the moon rendered as a complete circle of shining light. This phenomenon occurs over a three-day period every 28 days. It is much beloved by moon worshippers, lovers, poets, and werewolves across the world.

Anyone who doesn't get a charge out of the sight of a full moon hanging in the sky or beginning to peek over the horizon should turn in their Human Race Membership Card now, as far as I'm concerned.

When, in the course of a practical joke, the face of one's posterior is completely unblocked by the covering of that person's pants and is fully exposed to the person being insulted. The result is, from the face of the insultee, anger and resentment. This phenomenon occurs whenever stupid people do silly things.

Next time you're in a book store, have a look at the book "Full Moon" by Michael Light. It is a wonderful book containing over a 100 color and black-and-white images from the Apollo missions.

All the images were digitally scanned from the NASA master negatives, and reproduced in the book on 10"x10" paper. The book has descriptions of each picture in the back, and an essay on the Apollo Missions by Andrew Chaikin. Truly a beautiful photo book.

Full Moon
Michael Light
Alfred A Knopf - New York, 1999

A myth that still lives among people nowadays is that there are more babies born during a night with a full moon than during the other nights of the month. This myth probably had its origin a few centuries ago.

It is known that streetlights (when there even were streetlights) gave very little light. When there would be a full moon and the doctor had to run off to a mother in labour, he'd find the streets more lit than on other nights. It is likely to believe that this struck his attention. He'd remember more clearly the births during the full moon, than the other ones, when asked afterwards.

Another explanation can be found in the fact that most people can hardly tell when the moon is fully lit. In the nights before and after a full moon, the moon looks full as seen by the naked eye. Therefore there will indeed be relatively more babies born during a 'full' moon.
Another myth still lives among people. It says that the moon can be half or full because of the earth's shadow.

Guys, the earth is far too small to have such impact. The moon is simply lit from the side during half-moon. When our shadow really hits the moon (rather accidentally), we call it eclipse, and it won't take three days.

Another souvenir of my visit to the 1996 Waterloo Poetry Festival, letta simone-nefertari neely's booklet When We Were Mud reached out and grabbed me with Rhonda, Age 15 Emergency Room and I didn't find this poem until much later. It's one of my favorite sexy poems: I like how the writing connects me to the smell and feel of her beloved's body in a very visceral but not excessively graphic way.

Looking at the moon through fogged glass panes,
I am remembering how full your breasts have become now;
swelling slowly each month
until this time when you and the moon
consummate your sisterhood

Your full soft breasts, I am imagining them
inside my mouth
my tongue tasting you till you rise and I am missing you
and the moon, she keeps smiling
but she is not enough

I am with you wherever you are now
We are riding a cocteau wave
and spinning round in blue circles
I want to kiss you but you are not here now
and the moon is too far.

I am manifesting love with you
Can you feel me kissing your back with me here
and you miles away and still moving?
Can you feel me brushing the back of your knee with my lips?
These body parts don't really have names,
just feels and you feel like rippling water
and soft green moss all the time

You are missing from me and the moon
she keeps smiling but she is not enough/ there
has never been anyone who can touch me
like you do even now when you are not here

Looking at this moon through fogged glass
panes, I am remembering our together
when we were so together that the waves
cradled us and lifted us to the moon
like a holy african/ ancient irish presentation of birth

When the waves lifted us
to sister moon
and we held each other because everything
real was so close,
we were bathing in it
and there was no difference in our bodies
even our smells were the same

This is not a love poem
this is a miss you badly poem

but if you were here i would drape this
not a love poem around you
and taste you exactly what it says

—letta simone-nefertari neely

As the Moon orbits the Earth, we see part of the Moon that is illuminated. When the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon, the Moon reflects back light to the Earth from its full disk, rather than just part of it. This is the Full Moon. Compare the following two diagrams

Full Moon

  ,'        `.
 /            \
(              )
|     Sun      |          O o
(              )
 \            /
  `.        ,'

Quarter Moon (Last Quarter) - aka Half Moon

  ,'        `.
 /            \           o
(              )
|     Sun      |          O
(              )
 \            /
  `.        ,'

In both cases, the side facing the Sun is illuminated, however in the Half Moon phase, we can only see the half of the disc of the Moon. The "Half Moon" and "Quarter Moon" confuses many - the "Half Moon" refers to half the disk, while "Quarter Moon" refers to a quarter of the orbit.

The Earth goes around the Moon in 27.3 days - this is known as the Sidereal Period. This is how long it takes for the Moon to go around the Earth with respect to the stars. The Synodic Period is 29.5 days and measures the time between two New Moons. This is the period used for Lunar calendars. The reason for this difference is that the Earth has moved around the sun over the course of the month. While the Earth - Moon - Distant Star line is the same after 27.3 days (the movement of the Earth doesn't have any noticeable effect upon distant stars), the the Earth - Moon - Sun line requires one to take into account the orbit of the Earth with respect to the Sun.

Realizing that the Synodic Period is 29.5 days, it is possible for there to be a month (February) without a full Moon. This has happened in 1809, 1847, 1866, 1885, 1915, 1934, 1961, 1999 and will occur again in 2018, 2037, 2067, and 2094...

Occasionally, the Moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth. This will only happen when the Moon is full, and we will see a lunar eclipse. During this time, the full Moon will appear to dim or change color (depends on how much dust is in the atmosphere). The next Lunar Eclipse is May 16, 2003 - however, it will only be visible in South and Central America along with Antarctica. Following that is November 9, 2003, which will be visible from the North, South, and Central America.

While it would seem that the Moon should often be in the shadow of the Earth, this is not the case. The Moon's orbit is inclined to the plane of the Earth's orbit about the Sun by 5 degrees. In effect, this can be seen as a bobbing up and down compared to the Earth. It is rare for there to be a Full Moon when the Moon is on the same plane as the Earth's orbit to the Sun.

Because of the importance of the full Moon in various cultures, they have been given names. The most common one known is the "Blue Moon" which occurs when a second full Moon occurs in a month or the third Full Moon when there are four Full Moons in a season. The specific definition is debated. Some various Moon names (many of these are from North American Indians):

  • January Moon After Yule, Wolf Moon, or Old Moon
  • February Snow Moon or Hunger Moon
  • March Sap Moon, Crow Moon, or Lenten Moon
  • April Grass Moon or Egg Moon
  • May Milk Moon or Planting Moon
  • June Rose Moon, Flower Moon, or Strawberry Moon
  • July Thunder Moon or Hay Moon
  • August Grain Moon or Green Corn Moon
  • September Fruit Moon or Harvest Moon
  • October Harvest Moon or Hunter's Moon
  • November Hunter's Moon, Frosty Moon, or Beaver Moon
  • December Moon Before Yule or Long Night Moon.
The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon that appears closest to the Autumnal Equinox and thus may appear in late September or early October.


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