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The Moon

Astronomy

The Moon

Supermoon by PH Morton

Of all the heavenly bodies, the moon is on the top of the list that had become a good source of superstitions, inspirations, songs & music and it had become also an agony aunt for many broken-hearted, especially lovers.

What is it about the moon?!!!

Did you know?

 

  • The Moon is written with a capital letter because it is a proper noun.  It is Earth’s satellite which was named Moon.
  • The Moon with the Earth is known as the double planet.  It is so large in relation to the Earth compared to other satellites with their parent planets in the Solar System.
  • The Moon has no atmosphere.

 

First Day of December

Blue Tree, Photo by PH Morton

Christmas Holiday!

First Day of December

 

Hello friends and visitors.

It is the first day of December, where life and leisure are going to become hectic and busy especially if you are still working. There will be endless Christmas parties, friends reunion, family reunion, etc,

There will be expensive Christmas shopping.  Just be careful with the spending.   Try to buy things you can afford to give.

Let us also remind ourselves what Christmas is all about.  Who is being celebrated and perhaps even for just this month (if we cannot manage to do it throughout the year), let us be mindful of others.  Give love on Christmas month. 🙂

By the way, meteorological speaking, today is the first day of winter in the UK, etc.

Keep warm, be safe and healthy.

Merry Christmas and hope you all really have a good one.

What is a Harvest Moon?

Harvest Moon, Photo by PH Morton

What is a Harvest Moon?

Harvest moon is a full moon.

It heralds the coming of autumn when farmers are believed to take in their harvests from the field before the frost gets to them.

What makes a harvest moon more special than being just a full moon is that it appears larger and orange and it occurs in September during the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

That is the autumnal equinox?

It is that time when the earth’s equator is directly in line with the center of the sun.

As the Northern hemisphere has its autumn equinox, the Southern Hemisphere is starting its Spring equinox.

 

25 September 2018 – Harvest Moon

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

As astronomy is a hobby & keen interest of mine, I eagerly awaited the lunar eclipse. This lunar eclipse had more publicity due to the fact that it coincided with the appearance of the so-called Supermoon.

 

The term would be perigee new moon or perigee full moon.

When the moon change in its orbit and is closest to earth, this is called a perigee (within 98 per cent closest to the earth).

When it is a full moon and it is 98 per cent of its closest orbit (perigee) to the earth this is commonly called a supermoon. There can be 4-6 supermoons in a year.

There won’t be a perigee full moon in 2017 because the full moon and perigee won’t realign again (after November 14, 2016) until January 2, 2018. The next supermoon lunar eclipse will be in 2033.

As I have just retired from my work career,  I could fortunately stay up Sunday evening to the early hours of Monday morning. 🙂 I had my trusty camera ready and waited in the garden. weather conditions were ideal, as not too cold after midnight with some wisps of white cloud that conveniently disappeared; so a clear dark sky for the show to begin!

Around 2am, the top left of the moon was starting to be covered by earth’s shadow as it crept across the moon’s surface.

Lunar Eclipse begins - Photo by PH Morton

Lunar Eclipse begins – Photo by PH Morton

 

Totality and complete earth cover happened at around 3 am.

Total Lunar Eclipse (Totality) - Photo by PH Morton

Total Lunar Eclipse (Totality) – Photo by PH Morton

totality

A lunar eclipse totality lasts much longer than the spectacular  solar eclipse that is over in a few minutes. I watched the eclipse for 3 hours. The moon’s surface facing the earth becomes an amazing  coppery colour. Some cultures call it a ‘Blood Moon’ because of the reddish hue and regard it as a bad omen.

Of course the colour is caused by the sunlight being scattered through the earth’s thick atmosphere so the moon is never blacked out like the sun becomes briefly  in a solar eclipse at totality. The moon does not have an atmosphere anywhere as thick as the earths to scatter any light.

At sea level on Earth, we breathe in an atmosphere where each cubic centimetre contains 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules; by comparison the lunar atmosphere has less than 1,000,000 molecules in the same volume.

It’s faint trace of atmosphere contains molecules including helium, argon, and possibly neon, ammonia, methane and carbon dioxide. There is no oxygen as abundant on earth.

I managed to get some reasonable photographs as  the eclipse was finishing  around 5am.

Lunar Eclipse ending - Photo by PH Morton

Lunar Eclipse ending – Photo by PH Morton

During my eclipse vigil in our back garden into the small wee hours as we say, a curious urban fox came close to me to see what I was up to then wandered off!

I could hear an owl hooting in the distance and field mice moving in our Blackberry bush/tree. The garden is indeed a fascinating place at night 🙂

Second Full Moon of the Month

Yesterday on Friday 31  July there was a rare astronomical event close to home that many might not have noticed, a second full moon of the month.

They sky over London last night was generally clear and where I live in NW London was exceptional with few clouds.

I gazed up and saw a full moon. what was unusual is that it was the second full moon in a calendar month.

 Second Full Moon of the Month

I took this photo of it at around 1 am (Saturday morning) from our back garden.

Second Full moon July AKA a 'blue moon'

Second Full moon July AKA a ‘blue moon’

 

Normally  there are 29.5 days between full moons and therefore a full moon once a month. Such moons are known as a ‘blue moon’

A blue moon is defined  as the second full moon in a calendar month.  We have a saying that a rare event or happening occurs ‘once in a blue moon.’

The next Blue Moon will be in May 2016.

Even rarer, are have two blue moons in a  calendar year this last  happened in 1999. There were two full moons in January and two full moons in March and no full moon in February. So both January and March had Blue Moons.

The  full moon is given a name for each month of the year it appears.

January: the Wolf Moon, February: the Snow Moon, March: the Worm Moon, April: the Pink Moon, May: the Flower Moon, June: the Strawberry Moon, July: the Buck Moon, August: the Sturgeon Moon, September: the Harvest Moon, October: the Hunter’s Moon, November: the Beaver Moon, December: the Cold Moon.

More well-known here are the Harvest Moon in September as centuries ago, this full moon helped farmers gather their harvest in at night. The Hunter’s Moon appears brighter and larger, which aided hunters at night in fields and forests.

Enjoy gazing at our constant,  closest, changeless, celestial neighbour 🙂