To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. -Psalm 136:7-9
There is just a ridiculous amount of stuff happening with the night sky these days. Mom and dad always taught us to appreciate the stars and nature and it is just part of who we are. 🙂
Take a look at these paragraphs from NASA, the basis of this article shoehorn notwithstanding:
The Next Full Moon is a Supermoon, a Blue Moon, and Rakhi Purnima.
The next full Moon will be Wednesday night, August 30, 2023, appearing opposite the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 9:36 PM EDT. The planet Saturn, just a few days from its closest and brightest for the year, will appear near the Moon. As evening twilight ends (at 8:42 PM) Saturn will be 5 degrees to the upper right of the Moon, and will appear to swing clockwise around the Moon as the evening progresses. The Moon will appear full for 3 days around the peak of the full Moon, from Tuesday night to Friday morning.
This will be a supermoon. Publications use different thresholds for deciding which Moons qualify as “super,” but all agree that in 2023 the two full Moons in August qualify.
This full Moon will be the second full Moon in August, making it a Blue Moon by the newer definition introduced by Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946. The older definition of Blue Moon, dating back to at least the 1500s, is the name for the third full Moon in a season that has four Moons. By this definition, the full Moon in August 2024 will be the Blue Moon and this full Moon, as the last full Moon of summer, shares some of the seasonal names from my posting for the August 1 full Moon. Neither of these definitions has anything to do with the color of the Moon, so the Blue Moon will not actually look blue. See also https://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/watchtheskies/07jul_bluemoon.html to learn about a time when the Moon actually turned blue!
A few observations and shoehorned thoughts come to mind:
- Pray for the memory units. I get it that the actual science is weak on full moons and their affect on behavior. I do get it… There is probably questionable science. However, I know far too many folks that visit like I do that know when the full moon is happening by the behavior of the vulnerable. Here are some previous pieces I did on the topic, among the several…: LINK and LINK and LINK
- Interesting how all of these planetary events happen at once. Things tend to clump, whether it be astronomical clumps or dementia symptom clumps.
- The NASA piece said: “As usual, the wearing of suitably celebratory celestial attire is encouraged in honor of the full Moon. Take care of your siblings, let go of grudges, and here’s wishing you a good year!” Not bad advice, regardless what shape the moon appears today. 🙂
- Isaiah 66:23 says: ““And it shall be from new moon to new moon. And from sabbath to sabbath,
All mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the Lord.” When we are tempted to discount God’s presence in all of this, don’t forget such verses.
- “Saturn will be 5 degrees to the upper right of the Moon, and will appear to swing clockwise around the Moon as the evening progresses.” One of the warning signs of dementia is “Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships”. While these visual cartwheels may be fine in space, they are bad for us on the 3rd rock from the sun… Depth perception gets wonky and driving becomes hard. In addition, the field of cognition (not seeing, but rather understanding what you see) gets more and more centralized like an opposite version of Macular Degeneration.
- “On Thursday night, August 24, 2023, the bright star Antares will appear near the half-full Moon, so close that for much of Canada, the US, and northern Mexico the Moon will pass in front of Antares.” Antares is interesting for many reasons, not the least of which, to me, is that it appears to be losing weight. OK, mass… Star-facts.com says it this way” “Since evolving away from the main sequence, Antares has expanded to a size of 680 to 800 solar radii. It is losing mass through a powerful stellar wind that has enshrouded the supergiant in an envelope of gas illuminated by the star’s light. The gas cloud is sometimes called the Antares Nebula. Antares has lost about 3 solar masses of material from its initial mass.” Losing weight is an interesting factor in dementia too. Mom went to the memory unit and immediately started GAINING weight. They sweets cart came around early and often and mom, both not remembering she had eaten and suddenly REALLY liking sweets, gained weight and size. All the while her brain kept losing mass. A sudden sweet tooth is common in dementia. Mom has lost all of that sweet tooth weight plus interest since she eats very little these days, but it does bring to mind one small point of disagreement within some members of my care team: how much sweet goodies/weight gain is ok? My take…and I could be wrong here (and I struggle with obesity…wait…no, I actually come about obesity quite easily…not a struggle at all…but I digress) is that mom has a DNR/no heroic measures and said very clearly she just wants to be pain-free and not alone as she fades away. To me that means HOHOs with a milkshake chaser is sometimes a fine meal, thank you very much! My stepdad tends to lovingly and logically focus on the healthy foods. I get it…but give the sweet lady some treats now and then already!
- “Sunday night into Monday morning, September 3 to 4, 2023, the planet Jupiter will appear near the waning gibbous Moon. As Jupiter rises above the east-northeastern horizon (at 10:16 PM EDT) it will be 8 degrees to the lower left of the Moon. The Moon will reach its highest in the sky for the night 6.5 hours later (at 4:45 AM) with Jupiter 6 degrees to the left of the Moon. Morning twilight will begin about an hour later (at 5:40 AM).” Jupiter rises? Waning gibbous??? Both of these are perfectly normal astronomical concepts, but to me they sound like silly talk. When your loved one with dementia starts struggling with speech, be careful to NOT give up…they could VERY well be understandable. Watch for the non-verbal cues. Is there a grimace? What is the cadence like? Does he/she SOUND happy/sad regardless which words come out. Don’t rush to throw their waning gibbous out with the verbal bathwater. BUT…I know, it is hard and I am VERY sorry 🙁
- “Sunday morning, September 10, 2023, the bright star Pollux will appear above the waning crescent Moon. As the Moon rises on the northeastern horizon (at 2:10 AM EDT) Pollux will be 3 degrees above the Moon. Bright Venus will rise on the east-northeastern horizon 2 hours later (at 4:07 AM), appearing about 20 degrees below the Moon, with Pollux 4 degrees above the Moon. By the time morning twilight begins 1.5 hours after that (at 5:46 AM), Pollux will have shifted to 5 degrees above the Moon with Venus 19 degrees below the Moon.” Pollux is one of two “twins”, along with Castor. Earthsky explains it thusly: “Pollux and Castor are noticeable for being bright and close together. That’s likely how the early stargazers came to identify them as twins. And it’ll be helpful to you, too, when you’re trying to spot these two stars in our night sky.” Stay bright, friends, and stay close together with your loved one as a twin. Help others see both that there are millions suffering and that they are precious, as unique as these stars, and worth of your gaze and love.
Update: Mom has had a streak of seizures, but things seem to be waning…or is it waxing? The one where it is less. 🙁 She ate better yesterday and maybe getting better, at least relatively, is on the horizon. Regardless, we love her dearly and will do our best.