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The Moon's place in the sky

  • 20-09-2022 9:16pm
    Registered Users Posts: 14,233 ✭✭✭✭

    First of all, a disclaimer, this thread may appear to be more suited to astronomy, but as weather enthusiasts are often avid sky watchers, I think it's perhaps appropriate to review the basic facts about the Moon's orbit in our weather forum. At the very least, it probably means that many more Boards members will happen to notice the thread and so the information will be more widely available.

    We've already had some discussions about the Sun's place in the sky, which changes mainly in the predictable seasonal way due to the fact that the earth's rotational axis is inclined at 23.4 deg to the orbital plane. That has changed very gradually over historical time frames, it used to be closer to 24 deg in the Neolithic period and is slowly on its way to a smaller value of about 22.6 deg in the distant future. Those changes have produced small but significant changes in the position of sunrise and sunset at solstice times of the year (the Neolithic observers would have seen the Sun rising very slightly further north at the summer northeast sunrise point, and also a bit further south than we see it nowadays at the winter sunrise).

    The Moon is unique among large satellites in the solar system in that it rotates in the ecliptic plane and not the earth's equatorial plane (which is where all the other major satellites orbit their planets). This is no doubt due to the larger solar gravitational force on our Moon compared to similar forces out five to thirty times further at the various other planets with large satellites. But the Moon does not orbit in the ecliptic perfectly, it is inclined to it by 5.1 deg, and that causes some interesting changes over relatively short cycles. Before getting to those, I will mention that the most familiar lunar cycle is "synodic" or related to the earth-Sun axis, so that we observe a cycle of lunar phases with 29.53 days between them, on average. Most laypersons are probably only familiar with this one lunar cycle. It basically forms the foundation of our calendar which had to be adapted to the differential (amounting to about 11 days) between twelve lunar months and a solar year. Cultures which use a lunar calendar adapt by adding periodic thirteenth months, which needs to be done roughly every third year and more precisely seven times every nineteen years. That is because the Moon almost returns to the same dates for full and new moon every 19 years (this does drift forward in the calendar by about a half day per century so it's not quite a perfect rule). The Jewish calendar, as one example, has an added month known as "second (twelfth month)" that is added when needed.

    Our calendar left behind the lunar connection when the Romans decided they wanted to have a solar-based calendar but the fact that months average just over 30 days and weeks are seven days (like the four phases of the moon) shows that the severance was not complete.

    There are several other lunar cycles of interest, and perhaps of particular interest now as we approach the peak of one of them. Some explanation is required.

    The fact that the Moon orbits in the ecliptic plane with a 5.1 deg inclination means that twice each lunation, it is that far above or below the ecliptic plane (the path in the sky where the Sun would be at various times of year). Now this cycle is not linked to the synodic month but to the sidereal month, defined as the period of time between the Moon's passage of fixed star reference points. That cycle is shorter by 2.2 days, and in more precise numbers, is 27.32166 days long. The Moon usually travels near two bright red stars that happen to be almost opposite one another in the sky, Aldebaran (in Taurus) and Antares (in Scorpio). So as one example, it would be 27.32 days between near conjunctions of these stars and the Moon. The Milky Way galaxy can be seen in dark skies to the left of both of these, and the Moon crosses at two points very close to its highest and lowest declination points in each cycle (declination is the difference between the ecliptic plane and the earth's equatorial plane along which declination is defined to be zero deg). Latitude, on the other hand, is the difference between the ecliptic plane and any given point.

    So on the average, the Moon crosses the galactic structure we call the Milky Way at about 23.4 North (full moon in late December) and 23.4 deg South (full moon in late June). However, that 5.1 deg differential is always moving, fairly rapidly by astronomical standards, in a retrograde direction (opposite to the Moon's forward motion along the ecliptic), and it takes only 18.6 years to perform one full rotation of the path. At the present time, we are approaching a peak in declinations where the 5.1 deg will be superimposed on the declination extremes. This will peak in summer 2024. The dates of recent declination peaks came in 1913.0, 1931.6, 1950.2, 1968.8, 1987.4, 2006.0 and then due again 2024.6. So already we are seeing quite a range in lunar declination that will be quite apparent at the winter full moons with the Moon riding very high, at almost 28 deg. I just happened to see the moon at this same position early this morning (not full because we are at a much different angle to the Sun) and it was quite close to the lower of the two stars Castor and Pollux. In the two following winters the full moons will be even slightly higher. And in the next three summers you'll really notice how low the full moons will be appearing as they transit in the southern skies at midnight.

    At the opposite point of the cycle, the latitude counteracts the declination and the Moon crosses the Milky Way at around 18 deg N and then 18 deg S, making those full moons noticeably lower in winter and higher in summer. That was last the case around 2015.

    So the fact that the latitude cycle is a bit faster than the declination cycle gives ride to another period, the "tropical" period of 27.2122 days. That one does leave an imprint on temperatures, I have found in some research a small but repeating over long intervals signal where temperatures peak slightly after the Moon passes its lowest (-5.1 deg) latitude point, with a second smaller peak after passing +5.1 deg. I am still working out what physical cause and effect might account for this. The slightly longer declination cycle has some predictable temperature associations, most notably, a bit of a peak around winter full moons which are at the declination maximum (which I call northern max in my research). That peak could be the signal of weak tidal interactions in the atmosphere. Why are they weak when they are strong in the oceans? Most probably, it is because oceans have shorelines therefore tidal influences have to ebb and flow. The atmosphere only has partial constraining boundaries like high mountain ranges in a few cases, so whatever tidal effects may be ongoing do not hit boundaries and therefore would ripple out endlessly while dissipating. That might however cause an interference pattern which is basically the foundation of some research I have done on "timing lines" where lunar effects seem more concentrated around the hemisphere.

    I would present some of this data but as the claim is basically that the effects are small, and probably outside the range useful to forecasting questions, there would be little value in it. The longer 18.6 year cycle might also leave some faint signatures in the data, the claim was made as early as the mid-20th century by noted climatologists Bryson and Lamb that some predictable temperature and circulation results might follow the 18.6 year cycle. What I found doing my own investigation was that the zonal index seems to peak at around 3-6 years after the declination peak, at which point there was a blocking index peak. Then when the moon reached its lowest declination range, it seemed to be associated with a growing tendency for colder winters (peaking around 2-4 years after the declination minimum). Here again these signatures are interesting but not statistically large enough or consistent enough to use them very much in forecasting.

    A final lunar cycle of note is the "anomalistic" month which is the period between perigees in the lunar orbit. The range of the Moon's distance is something like 12% above and below its mean distance. At perigee, the Moon is closest to the earth. This happens every 27.55 days, which is 0.23 days later in each sidereal month. So unlike the precession of the nodes (which is retrograde), perigee is prograde relative to the declination cycle. It takes 8.86 years to rotate around the orbital path, and is currently set to a perigee near southern declination maximum. One practical effect of lunar perigee is that when it occurs at a total eclipse of the Sun, that eclipse has a longer duration in the path of totality. When the Moon is at apogee at a total eclipse, it will not fully cover the Sun's disk and the result is an "annular" eclipse. The forthcoming April 2024 total eclipse will be fairly close to lunar perigee so totality will last about twice as long as the 2 min 30 sec that we had in the recent August 2017 event. At perigee the Moon is moving somewhat faster through the sky. These variations can account for cases where the actual period between full or new moons is a bit different from the long-term average of 29.53 days. That can vary by at least 0.25 days in specific cases.

    So the bottom line here is that the Moon is subject to four observable cycles, and there are other minor wobbles that mean that while basically we only see the half of the moon facing the earth, we actually see closer to 57% of its total surface due to these "librations."

    The Moon is currently approaching its new phase, so I will use this thread to draw attention to interesting events in the Moon's orbital cycle(s) later in the autumn and winter. Because outer planets Mars to Neptune are moving slowly forward in the ecliptic plane, the Moon requires a bit of added time to reach them after each sidereal orbit. For Saturn the differential is about .07 days and for Jupiter it is closer to .18 days, so roughly every 27.5 days the Moon passes Jupiter (for Mars the period is closer to 28 days). Each planet has its own inclination to the ecliptic plane, most are above it when off to the April side of our orbit, and below it when over towards the October side, as Jupiter is now. There are times when the Moon passes in front of each of the bright planets, and this usually leads to a sequence lasting about a year while the geometries are close enough for an "occultation" to take place. Jupiter is approaching a point where occultations will take place, Saturn will reach a similar point about a year later. The bright stars Aldebaran, Antares, Regulus and Spica, all have periods in the 18.6 year cycle with occultations. Antares will have its occultations shortly after the declination maximum as the Moon needs to reach almost its lowest latitude when passing Antares. Aldebaran on the other hand gets its occultations near declination minimum as it is in the winter sky and nearly five degrees south of the ecliptic plane. Spica and Regulus are a bit more complicated as they happen to be close to the ecliptic. They can have two periods each 18.6 years with occultations. No other well known bright stars are ever occulted by the Moon. Asteroids can also be occulted, not an event visible to the naked eye, but a time for astronomers to get useful data concerning the probable dimensions of asteroids and whether or not they have fainter satellites (which might briefly remain in view while the parent asteroid disappears).



  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,845 Mod ✭✭✭✭igCorcaigh

    I already have stupid questions:

    Why is the Moon tidally locked so that we see only one side?

    Why do the cycle of the seasons (caused by the tilt in Earth's axis) correspond to the time it takes for the Earth to cycle around the Sun?

    Why does the moon almost very precisely fit into the perceived space of the Sun during the eclipse?

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,233 ✭✭✭✭M.T. Cranium

    I don't find those to be stupid questions, but not sure they all have or could have answers. Why is the moon (approximately) the same apparent size as the Sun? Other than a hint of an intelligent designer who wanted us to learn certain things from eclipses, I can't really identify anything that "explains" it, I suppose it's more of a random chance question, the rest of the large satellites of other planets are probably quite a bit larger than the apparent size of the Sun as seen from those planets, but one or two of them might be approximately the right size (but then no life forms would be able to witness this anyway). If you think about it, a Moon-sized planet would need to be x times further from any given outer planet, where x is that planet's distance from the Sun in a.u., to look the same size as the smaller Sun in their sky. Ganymede and Titan are perhaps 50% wider than the Moon so they would need to be 1.5x times as far. When I get some time I will look up some data, offhand I am not sure if all those large moons would look larger or smaller than the Sun. (and note that they would look essentially that way from other satellites in the system, the distance to the Sun is virtually the same).

    Why is the Moon tidally locked? This is a fairly common situation for satellites of planets. I think if you google Roche limit you might find answers to that one. Mercury is tidally locked to the Sun but at a ratio of 3:2 so all parts of Mercury (other than polar craters) see the Sun at various times. (to avoid confusion, the analogue is seeing the earth from the Moon, not the Sun, which all parts of the Moon do experience during the synodic month). You're going to find that the answer is some more complicated form of this statement -- the satellites are tidally locked because of the strength of the gravitational attraction exerted. But not every satellite is locked in, I believe Hyperion (one of Saturn's moons) exposes all parts of its surface towards Saturn at various times. Triton, Neptune's moon-sized satellite, goes around Neptune in a retrograde orbit but I think that one is also tidally locked.

    The middle question is easier to answer. We experience the four seasons in a year because that angle between our rotation axis and the orbital plane exposes us to a cycle of changing solar angles above our horizons. In the northern hemisphere that currently peaks around 21-22 June when the north pole is oriented towards the Sun. Six months later, the earth is at the opposite point in its orbit, the north pole is still pointing at that same point in space (near Polaris, the north star) but that now exposes the southern hemisphere to more direct sunlight.

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    " Why do the cycle of the seasons (caused by the tilt in Earth's axis) correspond to the time it takes for the Earth to cycle around the Sun?"

    The strong meteorological interest is the polar vortex-

    The North polar latitude (where daily rotation is zero) is turning into the dark hemisphere of the planet, thereby a radius between that location and the planet's divisor (separating light and dark hemispheres) begins to lengthen. It creates an expanding circumference where the Sun is out of sight along with solar radiation and so begins the strengthening of the polar vortex above the North pole and surrounding areas.

    The seasons are caused by two separate surface rotations acting in combination which can be affirmed by observing other planets. The expanding and contracting circumferences with the North and South poles at their centre is a more productive way to approach these surface rotations with a lot of exciting research ahead.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,233 ✭✭✭✭M.T. Cranium

    For the four largest moons of Jupiter, it would seem from the data that all four might appear larger than the Sun from the (gaseous) surface of Jupiter. Io would appear nearly four times as big, although slightly smaller than our Moon appears to us (it is roughly similar in diameter, and orbits a bit further away). Europa would be about twice the size of the Sun despite being the smallest of the four. Ganymede would appear larger than Europa and a bit smaller than Io as it is three times further out, and considerably larger. Callisto, just a bit larger than the Moon, would appear slightly bigger than the Sun, and at times if you were observing from a space orbit a little behind Jupiter, you could be in the same relative position to make Callisto appear like the Sun in the sky, albeit a Sun that would be one-fifth as large an object as we are used to seeing.

    Then for Titan (Saturn's largest moon) it would appear six times as large as the Sun (which out there would appear only one-tenth as large as it does to us here). Other moons of Saturn are generally smaller than Europa (the smallest of Jupiter's four large moons) but even so, several would appear larger than the Sun while two with an appreciable diameter would appear somewhat smaller. Moons of Uranus and at that distance also the Sun would appear more like bright points of light than spheres, and Triton from the vicinity of Neptune would appear much larger than the Sun there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,855 ✭✭✭Nabber

    Our climate is dependent on the moon, slowing our rotation and stabilising our axial tilt.

    When studying the moon many years ago I went down the rabbit hole of Diurnal, Semi-Diurnal, mixed, and non tidal bodies of water. This ultimately got me into sailing, which has cost more money than I'd care to acknowledge. The Mediterranean for example is non tidal, yet areas like Tunisia are tidal at about 1.3m and Gibraltar affected by the Atlantic by 1m.

    The density of the atmosphere is low in comparison to the oceans, it would be an interesting planet if that was not the case and the planet had two 'noticeable' atmosphere tides.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,233 ✭✭✭✭M.T. Cranium

    The moon was full a bit earlier today and if you can see it this evening you'll notice it has moved past Jupiter, have a look a bit later if you can't see Mars yet, it should be rising soon. The moon will be crossing the ecliptic in the next day or so, having spent the past 13.6 days below the plane (negative latitude). Although Saturn and Jupiter also have negative latitude at this point in their orbits, they weren't as far below the ecliptic as the moon so it passed below them as seen from the northern hemisphere. I have clear skies here (still mid-afternoon) so I will get a good view of the panorama of the moon and the three bright planets tonight. Will give a more detailed report of how Mars is situated relative to bright star Aldebaran and the familiar Pleiades star cluster. After all those rise, Orion comes up after midnight.

    Venus is currently very close to its passage behind the Sun (superior conjunction is on Oct 22nd) and is lost in the glare of the rising sun. It could be seen in the dawn twilight back around June and early July. We'll have it as a bright evening star this coming (late) winter and spring.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,569 Mod ✭✭✭✭riffmongous

    Saw the moons for the first time ever myself this evening through a pair of binoculars

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,233 ✭✭✭✭M.T. Cranium

    Just had a look, Mars is already past Aldebaran, and appears near the "northern max" position of the Milky Way over top of Orion. Due to parallax, Mars may backtrack slightly and appear somewhat closer to Aldebaran before we pass the red planet early in 2023. With the bright full moon, it was hard to spot the Pleiades tonight but once the moon is not in the midnight sky they should be easy to find. Mars has just moved above the ecliptic plane very slightly but the Moon will be at 4 deg above the plane by the time it passes Mars in a few days' time. Mars is quite bright, about twice as bright as Aldebaran and the brighter stars in Orion. Sirius was not above the horizon when I looked, at this point you might see it low in the southeast by 0200h (it often twinkles quite actively but its basic coloration is blue-white). It will be about equal to Mars in brightness later this winter when they are visible at earlier evening times for viewing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    It remains the easiest way to demonstrate that the Earth runs a circuit of the Sun along with the other planets insofar as it is both new and visual-

    The stars change position from left to right of the central Sun in response to the orbital motion of the Earth. If this is all observers can manage then there is little more to be said and they can enjoy it from a satellite tracking closely with the Earth around the Sun.

    Those who are a bit more adventurous can see Venus presently moving from a morning appearance to a twilight appearance or from right to left of the central Sun while in about 9 months it will change from left to right of the Sun or from a twilight to dawn appearance over a number of weeks just as it did during the last famous transit of the Sun it did a number of years ago-

    Things like parallax don't survive contemporary imaging as the stars change position in an orderly procession, however, this would be throwing good information after bad for 21st century observers.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    Leaving the wondrous technicalities to the amazing experts.... Out here with no street or any artifical lights nearer than the distant orange harbour/pier lights...

    The clear night sky is breathtaking over the ocean. Standing at the gate gazing rapt.

    Sometimes I make my way to the lane and the darkness on clouded nights is like being blind or dead. Just BLACK.

    My first winter out here I learned the safety measure of leaving a light on at the cottage. I literally got totally LOST in the sheer darkness of "before humanity". I had the dog then and she took me home.

    Elemental forces urging respect.

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    One of the oldest interpretations of the moon is found on a neolithic stone [Kerbstone 52] built into a monument that also has an equinox alignment-

    The moon is lost to the glare of the Sun for a number of days and our ancestors understood this, but these were observant people rather than what today is called an 'expert'.

    Of all the works I truly feel comfortable with is Plutarch from which I learned so much about how our ancestors reasoned during a period of our human history -

    Our heritage in these matters is so much older and richer than present company allows and there are no experts when we all share the same observations as the moon runs a circuit of the Earth, an observation we share with all cultures in antiquity.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    The moon moves !

    Currently moving away at 3.8cm per year, but it wasn't always so fast.

    the Moon was around 321,800km (± 6,500km) from the Earth 2.46 billion years ago. That's around 62,000km closer to the Earth than it is now (the current position is 384,300km away) — or 1.5 times the circumference of Earth. The finding also suggests the length of the day on Earth was 17 hours at the time.

    The Milankovitch cycles back then were 11,000 years rather than 21,000

    Based on stromatolites which have layers of growth during the day and more sand at night a 2004 paper published by Chinese researchers, they determined that 1 billion years ago there were 516 days in a year, 12.9 months per year, 40 days per month, and 17 hours per day. I haven't found that paper though .

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

     "they determined that 1 billion years ago there were 516 days in a year, 12.9 months per year, 40 days per month, and 17 hours per day. I haven't found that paper though ."

    There is a person over in the astronomy forum whose only purpose seems to be to run in and scream about banning over what is effectively an easy observation to explain and understand as it is new. It is a matter of matching the graphic with current imaging as Venus passes behind the Sun on the opposite side of the solar system than the slower moving Earth-

    The assertions you present above relating to planetary dynamics and timekeeping lack logical consistency and are fairly recent in response to abysmal notions that spawned 'leaps seconds'.

    "At the time of the dinosaurs, Earth completed one rotation in about 23 hours," says MacMillan, who is a member of the VLBI team at NASA Goddard. "In the year 1820, a rotation took exactly 24 hours, or 86,400 standard seconds. Since 1820, the mean solar day has increased by about 2.5 milliseconds." NASA

    That train wreck emerges from an equally foolish notion where the planet is meant to currently rotate once in 23.93 hours-

    Rather than explore the reasons how the average 24 hour day along with the Lat/Long system serves to demonstrate how timekeeping refers to planetary dynamics, the theorists just dug a bigger hole for themselves and everyone else.

    If the idea is to get into a pointless fight for banning purposes then that is normal, if it is a point of departure to discuss how weather and especially cyclical weather explains planetary dynamics and visa versa, then something good will come out of the process.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    A classical scholar here so yes to all you say. Deeply interested in very early history also... Do you know the Dingle peninsula?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,417 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    A good reason not to try and generate energy from tides, because that would increase the rate at which the Moon's distance from the Earth is increasing, albeit by a small amount.

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    More like someone who adores the perspectives inherited from antiquity.

    I have visited the Dingle peninsula many times for that view.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    Oh so well expressed.. Thank you. I longed to live there but it was not possible. Out here it is a different depth. Not even antiquity in human terms. A purity. elemental like the gales. Seeing the moon and stars without close contamination from light as we are on the edge of a Dark Sky area. Dingle is so ... weather -held too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    I see what you mean, there is also the dark sky area in Tyrone and Mayo that are wonderful places to visit and indeed any woodland such as Lough Key near me.

    It isn't all about technical details nor is it drawing attention to how much humanity does and does not know, it is a sense of being part of the spectacle all through the day when time permits.

    " We praise you, Lord, for all your creatures,

    especially for Brother Sun,

    who is the day through whom you give us light.

    And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,

    of you Most High, he bears your likeness.

    We praise you, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars,

    in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair."

    St Francis of Assisi

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    Oh wonderfu! I know Lough Key well from my first years in Ireland after a decade on a bare Orkney island. Loved it. Now I am offshore in Mayo for the durarion. A Francisan at heart. Not a scientific bone in my old body but sheer love. I see there is a permanent resident on Inishkea now... yearn... Just the totality and uncompromising simplicity of "weather" in isolation. It rules. It is a way of life. That is what St Francis knew and meant. Beauty and barbarism! Live within it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    My goodness, the islands are gorgeous -

    The rawness of an Atlantic storm is an experience and being caught in the middle of a 952 mb powerhouse will remain with me on a trip from Iceland to the Canaries on a large trawler. Now I go to Mullaghmore to enjoy the force and marvel at the surfers who roll with the punches of a magnificent wave so I imagine taking the rough with the smooth is part of your experience.

    I have no doubt that the moon's cycles effect human behaviour just as the daily cycle or annual cycle do. There is a sadness when nature goes into dormancy presently for the next 3 months and celebrated as Samhain where the death of the old year mixes with the advent of the New Year and retained as All souls or Halloween-

    I am sorry that people neglect the planetary and lunar cycles as the seasons are cyclical weather when it all comes down to it and to a lesser extent so is the daily cycle of weather. In any case, there is much to explore and little to regret.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    Living in urban settings is very different from deep rural. Which is why I am out here on an increasingly depopulated place .

    It precludes other considerations as we see with the chaos caused by "bad" weather,

    St Francis brought the two aspects together. His deep faith and love of Jesus AND the natural world he lived in with no dwellings. I catch glimpses of that here. Iit is deep deep respect for creation and all its ways. ALL. No bad weather. Just weather.

    As with the dedicated skilled weather folk here of course.

    Have a look at Inishglora... If i ever went there I would never be able to leave. NB women were not allowed in the beginning.. And it means leaving the way we live now, As Francis did of course. Two strands with his calling. I wrote some of this in one of my books.

    Today wind and rain in their powers. In control. We can only adapt. Co operate.

    Agree totally - with your post

    I never got to Inishkea. When I moved offshore there was no permanent year round residence there else who knows?

    Spent a whole summer just island hopping and exploring and with the practicalities of supplies, housing etc. Not sure if there is year round resdency there even now. That would be truly awesome.

    Anywhere offshore and coastal gets lashed by gales. Only one ferry crossing this week. Already in October.

    Many days I am outside at night moongazing and at first light. The ocean is on all sides. My first months here I was without electricity, Magic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    Thank you.

    We are part of all there is so nothing belongs to us. There are no 'laws of nature' for humanity to write and it was always really an idea that humanity has to reason one way as a 'method' and therefore every bit as anarchic as being undisciplined. In this respect, secular theology dulls those centres in human existence which should be the most active where our own lives connect to the greater Life of creation through inspiration.

    Being impressed with creation, it becomes possible to admire those people in the past who shared their views and genuine researchers have always acknowledged this feature-

    "When a natural discourse paints a passion or an effect, one feels within oneself the truth of what one reads, which was there before, although one did not know it. Hence one is inclined to love him who makes us feel it, for he has not shown us his own riches, but ours. And thus this benefit renders him pleasing to us, besides that such community of intellect as we have with him necessarily inclines the heart to love." Pascal

    That is a more expansive version than the equivalent saying-

    “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it in himself” Galileo

    Sometimes society is forced to follow a narrative where they are led to believe humanity is on an upward march towards a Tower of Babel 'knowledge' conclusion or a theory-of-everything, however, both you and I know it is becoming more intimate with creation and so we carry around a chain rather than a treasure with human 'laws' imposed on creation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    Small comment; Galiieo is wrong. Period. We pass on our learning and skills by teaching them..Many folk but not all have the ability to learn skills but they do have to learn them.. Former teacher in many fields here.

    Will come back to this thread soon. Life is a little complicated at present. Wish I were on Inishglora!

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    It's a good day to chat about the moon insofar as a partial solar eclipse occurred today, although the weather was poor enough where I am. In March 2015 when there was low cloud cover, it created an amazing spectacle as the clouds provided a natural shield, dull enough to watch the event yet not too dull to obscure it.

    At the same time the moon was passing between the Sun and the Earth in its monthly circuit, Venus is passing behind the Sun on the opposite side of the solar system to the Earth-

    In this case, there is no need to teach a person other than put observations in front of them and they will appreciate it as a spectacle rather than just a fact-

    There is no right nor wrong to these things, there is only what is best and this reflects on our understanding of our solar system and terrestrial surroundings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    This elemental weather... would dearly love to be on Inishglora in this. This is what St francis meant, the purity and singleminded energy of it.

    west Mayo offshore

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    "After proceeding a few steps farther, he cried out again with a loud voice: "O Brother Leo, thou little lamb of God! if the Friars Minor could speak with the tongues of angels; if they could explain the course of the stars; if they knew the virtues of all plants; if all the treasures of the earth were revealed to them; if they were acquainted with the various qualities of all birds, of all fish, of all animals, of men, of trees, of stones, of roots, and of waters - write that this would not be perfect joy." St Francis of Assisi

    He goes on to say that gifts are part of us, yet do not belong to us. Our vocation is to enjoy and promote what is best even in a hostile atmosphere including an atmosphere of silence. I can affirm that to love is more important than to be loved for any particular attribute, to understand as to be understood when humanity takes to itself what it cannot control, bring lightheartedness to where there is darkness and dullness of mind and heart. Such was the life of St Francis and is of Jesus.

  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402

    Both Mercury and Venus are currently passing behind the foreground central Sun moving from right to left or, as seen from Earth, moving from a morning to twilight appearance. As Mercury moves faster, it should overtake Venus as both planets travel out of range of the C3 camera-

    This is an entirely new demonstration that the Earth and other planets travel around our parent star yet I cannot even post it in the astronomy forum. This is really wrong considering how much Earth sciences, including climate and weather, rely on planetary dynamics.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,233 ✭✭✭✭M.T. Cranium

    Moon was in total eclipse last night as seen from western hemisphere, but clouds prevented me from getting a view. The northern maximum declination occurs on the 12th. Anyone who gets a chance to see the moon in coming days will note that it is riding exceptionally high and will appear almost overhead at some point during the nights, moving well to the north of familiar constellation Orion.

    The December full moon will not produce an eclipse, as the Moon will travel above (from north-south perspective) the earth's shadow cone, and the northern maximum will then occur just two days later. Full moons timed for about 21st to 25th December occur simultaneously with the northern maximum. The latitude maximum comes a few days later now, and that point is steadily advancing (in a retrograde direction relative to moon's path) towards northern maximum which it overlaps in 2024.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    It is hard in our noisy "civilisation" for many to even imagine that deep silence that Francis lived in. As you know the early Franciscans had no monasteries but lived what we call "rough" ie at close quarter to all manner of weather. It was as much a part of their lives as breathing. So of course this changed his entire experience of weather.

    Nearly 5 am out here in mid-Atlantic and I know that deep deep silence at first hand as i know the exremes of wind and rain. My home has thin walls and ceiling. So weather affects deeply .

    As I am sure you know as soon as the Franciscans became "respectable" and were "adopted " by royalty and a sturdy roof over their heads, they lost all that we read here. That close affinity with creation.

    There have been and are a few "breakaway" new Franciscan orders and other monastics who escape to deserts and wild places to recapture that deep spiiriual affinity that Francis had. The weather is not a separate scientific entity. There are thus no expectations. Their web pages reflect this. But elsewhere his profound interaction has degenerated into a sentimental and superficial approach.

    And out here I catch at the edges . Everything here is dependent on "the weather".. It controls

    Fascinating! Thank you..

    In the deep peace and silence after tumult.