If the fact that the total lunar eclipse this weekend is the last one until 2033 isn’t reason enough for you to stay up to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon, I’m not sure what is. Also, there’s the additional benefit of the full moon being mesmerizing to look at! Basically, the reason why the moon will appear to look so large in the sky is because it is in perigee, or the closest point to Earth during its orbit. In addition, the moon will be the closest moon we’ll see this year at only 221, 752 miles away.
Besides any astrological implications or effects it may or may not have on people in the days leading up to and following the night of the full moon, the moon has been proven to have an effect on the tides due to its gravitational pull. Sowing crops when the moon is waxing—or leading up to a full moon—is traditionally said to benefit the growth of those plants due to the lunar pull, as well. There are even ideal times to plant different crops depending on which sign the moon happens to be in, at any given time. Talk about practical uses for astrology! However, most people nowadays discount such strong connections to the planets and the moon due to our society’s tendency to consider astrology superstitious.
It makes sense that astronomy was the first science, as well as the subject of the earliest written observations, considering that the night sky are so dramatic. Constellations are tied to mythological stories, gods, and goddesses, and for centuries people have utilized the stars and planets for navigation and time-keeping. One of the most amazing things about the moon is the fact that, whether you’re in India or Canada, you can see the moon from anywhere—provided the sky is relatively cloud-free and you’re above the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the advances of the Internet, however, as long as you can access live streams of the eclipse online, you’ll be in luck!
All this talk of clouds has me thinking of pollution, as well. The effects of pollution are palpable where I happen to live. Because I live in a valley, we’re regularly forced to deal with the inversions that happen here in the winter, as well as the effects of smoke and other forms of pollution during the summer months. Essentially, smog becomes trapped below the skyline and the tops of the foothills, rendering the air quality less than ideal and, frankly, disgusting.
If you’re a fan of star gazing and the perpetuation of clean skies for our current—as well as future—generations, it would behoove you to assist with efforts to work for the good of our air quality and the environment at large. You can do this through basic common sense such as reducing waste, avoiding the purchase of disposable & single-use plastic, and recycling. However, more than individual actions, we as a nation and a planet need to get serious about working to develop and support technologies that are sustainable. A couple examples are solar energy and electric cars—which are within our reach, but only if all of us are aware of the forces working against their becoming more mainstream and strive to counteract those forces.
The Kyoto Protocol and Clean Water Act may seem disconnected from the topic of the upcoming lunar eclipse. However, they’re most certainly not. It’s all connected in the effort to live in a way that is more connected to the Earth and the environment around us. After all, how are we supposed to garden at night by the light of the full moon if the sky is too polluted to let the moonbeams through the clouds?