Saturday, May 5, 2012

Full Flower Moon, Supermoon

I had promised a discussion of Dismal Swamp flora today;
however, the idea that some readers might be getting swamp malaise,
caused by too many blogs describing the flora and fauna of the Great Dismal Swamp,
 coupled with news from NASA
that tonight's full flower moon is coinciding
with a phenomenon called "supermoon,"
prompted a last minute change.

So if the news of the supermoon has somehow escaped one's notice,
here's an invitation to go outside tonight, May 5th, 
starting at 11:34 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
to see May's full flower moon,
which has been described by NASA as
"14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons in 2012."

According to NASA, the supermoon occurs
when the moon is a little closer to the earth than usual
because it is in its perigee, the part of its orbit that is nearest to earth's center.
Here's a short video that explains the supermoon phenomenon
and what to expect from this month's full moon.

I've tried to photograph the moon before, but I don't have the proper camera equipment.
Here's the only photo I ever took that looked even remotely like the moon:

With tonight's full moon so close, it may be possible to discern the dry sea beds
said to pock the moon's surface.
And that thought reminded me of  a poem
that I wrote a few years ago about the moon:

Mare Serenitatis

earth's waters shimmer silver
to answer light's refrain
from her moon's sea of clouds
and its gentle sea of rain


So just imagine. 
 At the same time tonight,
 millions of people will come out of their homes
and gaze at the full flower supermoon in awe and wonder.
Don't miss it.
It should prove to be an astronomical occasion.

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