Moonstruck

As high and low tides are the earth’s oceans’ response to the moon’s gravity on a large scale, so are women’s menstrual cycles on a smaller scale. Whether we are greatly or hardly affected by our close (relatively speaking) cosmic neighbor, whether it depresses or impresses us, it has inspired humankind since we have had the capacity to observe its wanderings across the sky. Long before we understood that it revolves around the earth, as the earth does around the sun, we tried to explain its regular appearances and disappearances.

In ancient Greek mythology, the moon was thought to represent the Goddess Selene riding her silver chariot across the firmament at night, just as her brother, Sun God Helios, moved across the day sky in his golden chariot. The scientific terms selenology and selenography (the astronomical study of the moon, and the study of the physical features of the moon, respectively), still commemorate that divine lady of the night.

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Our ancestors prayed or sacrificed to it, or joined wild canines in howling at it. January’s first full moon is known as Wolf Moon, named after the hungry wolves that vocally lament scarce food offerings in the midst of the coldest and darkest month of the year. Its monthly waxing and waning are obvious to anybody who takes the time to gaze at the heavens, and special celestial events, such as eclipses, have always brought out admirers, just as it did a few days ago, when a Wolf Moon, which was simultaneously a Super Moon (a full moon that appeared larger and brighter, as its orbit reached the perigee, the shortest possible distance from the earth), was involved in a total lunar eclipse, thereby being transformed into a Blood Moon (in which the fully eclipsed moon took on a reddish color).

I am not one to set my alarm at 3 o’clock in the morning to witness most astronomical happenings, but I like to be aware of the lunar cycles. Even before I learned about this month’s planetary spectacle, I had sorted through some of my old moon photographs to prepare a blog post. As the sky in Colorado Springs was clear on January 20, and I did not have to set my alarm for the middle of the night, I was able to add a few additional lunar impressions to share with my follow moon lovers.

Complete lunar eclipse and Blood Moon (as “blood-red” as it gets with my limited technical skills)