Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome New Moon

Today is more than the beginning of a new year.

Fireworks last night in the Zocalo of San Miguel de Allende
shot on the phone of my friend Edgar Ladron de Guevara

January 1, 2014 marks the arrival of a new moon also known as a supermoon. The Moon will be closer to the Earth than usual. NASA tells us our celestial sidekick will be 30% brighter and 14% bigger. To qualify as a new moon the Earth's lunar companion has to come within 224, 851 miles of our planet.

Map of the Moon by Johannes Hevelius from his Selenographia. 1647.
This is the first map to include the libration zones. In astronomy libration
describes the oscillating motion of orbiting bodies in relation to each other. 

There's a kind of silent energy between the place we call home and our mysterious moon, like a secret dance that's always changing. The moon controls the ocean's tides and helps to stabilize the Earth. Even though the orbit of the moon looks stable it is actually drifting slowly away from us. As it pulls from our planet the seasons will be shorter and our days will be longer.

I've always been fascinated by the moon and it continues to 
manifest itself in my work. 

Celestial Orbit

The moon is a loyal companion.
It never leaves. It's always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light 
and dark moments, changing forever
just as we do.  -Tahereh Mafi

In San Miguel de Allende there is a tradition of naming your house and we named ours Manto de Luna which means cloak of the moon. Our friend, the late great typeface designer Doyald Young surprised us by designing a custom type for the name and we had it cut out of cantera. I designed our house number and incorporated the 3 into a moon icon.
The Moon must be wise at 4.5 billion years old. It's the only celestial body with features that are visible to the human eye. Religions across the globe have references to the moon and it's impact on literature and language is large.

Lunar Tarot

Ancient civilizations who studied the Moon learned to predict it's phases and movements. The Algonquin tribes who lived in New England and westward to Lake Superior gave distinct names to the full moon. January was called The Wolf Moon because as snow gathered deep in the woods you could hear echoes of howling wolves in the cold night air. When the Moon was given it's name astronomers didn't realize there were moons orbiting other planets. The official name of Earth's moon is...well Moon and they capitalize it to differentiate it from all the others. Our nocturnal jewel is the fifth largest natural satellite in the solar system.

Blue Moon

I've never seen a moon in the sky that, 
if it didn't take my breath away, 
at least misplaced it for a moment. -Colin Farrell

Blue moon is a metaphor for a rare event when an extra full moon appears every two to three years. The moon can actually appear to have a tinge of blue when atmospheric conditions and volcanic eruptions result in huge fires that leave particles in the atmosphere.  Scientists think the Moon was formed when an object crashed into our planet 4.5 billion years ago That collision was so gigantic that it sent a huge spray of material into space and that orbiting ring of debris formed the Moon.

Reaching for the Moon

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. 
-George Carlin

Coral spawns around the full moon and creatures heavily impacted by tides, carry an internal lunar clock. The Bay of Fundy is famous for it's enormous 40 foot tides that occur on a regular basis. The bay's unique geography ensures the amount of time it takes a water disturbance to travel all the way along the bay is the same as the time between the tides. Oceanographers call this a tidal resonance.
As a child I wanted to be an oceanographer. In fact I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau and used to imagine that I could drain the sea dry and go for a walk.

Reading to the Moon from Book Fiesta!

In Book Fiesta I had the chance to paint something I used to do as a kid. 
Read to the Moon. 
It's 2014. Go out and enjoy the Night Sky.


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