Thursday, June 12, 2014

Friday the 13th Full Moon !

Photo of the full moon over the Temple of Poseidon in Greece.
June Full Moon rising over Greece's Temple of Poseidon in 2008.
(Image Source: National Geographic Society)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The Full Moon in June of 2014 occurs shortly after Midnight, in the Eastern Time Zone, on Friday the 13th: at precisely 12:11 a.m. EDT / 4:11 Coordinated Universal Time.

A honey-hued-color Full Moon, around the time of the Summer Solstice (which will occur June 21, 6:51 a.m. EDT / 10:51 UTC), may have led to the traditional term of "Honeymoon," as weddings were traditionally held in June, when the good weather days of Summer would begin. The term "Honeymoon" can be traced as far back as 1552. At that time, marriage was compared to the phases of the Moon, with a Full Moon analogous to the wedding, the most happy time of a relationship.

To the Algonquin Indians of North America, the June Full Moon was known as the Strawberry Moon. This was due to the relatively short harvest season for strawberries, which always came in June.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the June Full Moon is also known as the Flower Moon and the Corn-Planting Moon. In Europe, the June Full Moon was known as the Rose Moon.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the season of Winter is about to begin, the June Full Moon is known as the Oak Moon, Cold Moon, and Long-Night's Moon.

Almost two days after Full Moon, at the end of Flag Day (June 14) at 11:00 p.m. EDT / June 15, 3:00 UTC, the Moon reaches perigee, the closest point in its orbit to the Earth, at a distance of 362,065 kilometers. So even two days earlier, the Full Moon may appear a little larger than normal.

Also, remember that if you display the American Flag on Flag Day (as recommended by the Flag Code), the Flag Code does suggest that the Flag should be taken off of display by local sunset (long before the Moon perigee), unless there is artificial lighting of the Flag for nighttime display (Sunset for Pittsburgh: June 14, 8:52 p.m. EDT / June 15, 0:52 UTC).

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th (which dates to the 19th century) seems to be an amalgamation of two superstitions from earlier in history: the number "13" as an unlucky number and the day "Friday" as an unlucky day.

In the 1960s, the Pittsburgh-produced, national children's television program, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," used a puppet to end this superstition in the minds of children. In the long-time PBS program (which actually started airing nationally on the earlier National Educational Television network), King Friday the 13th was the monarch of the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe."

Program creator Fred Rogers got the idea for the puppet character, when he participated in an earlier program, "Children's Corner," which began broadcasting on the local Pittsburgh educational television station, WQED-TV channel 13, in 1954.

More on the Full Moon: Link >>>

More on Full Moon names ---
Link 1 >>>
Link 2 >>>
Link 3 >>>

More on the Honeymoon: Link >>>

More on Flag Day (National Flag Foundation, Pittsburgh):
Link >>>

More on Friday the 13th --
Astronomical: Link >>>
Superstition: Link >>>
King Friday the 13th: Link >>>

Source: Glenn A. Walsh, Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

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