The REAL Pink Full Moon …

pink moon

Last month I mistakenly posted that the March full moon was the pink one. I was wrong. 😦

Here is a great article from the Huffington Post about tomorrow night’s “Planetary Event!!”

By: Joe Rao

Published: 04/22/2013 06:32 PM EDT on SPACE.com

This month’s full moon, which falls on Thursday (April 25), always reminds me of one of the first times I viewed the April full moon

When I was very young boy living in New York, there was a popular television weathercaster by the name of Carol Reed. While not a meteorologist, she had an upbeat personality and always finished her reports with what became her personal catch phrase: “And have a happy!”

One evening, Carol commented that it would be clear for everyone to get a good view of that night’s “pink” full moon. When it got dark, my mother accompanied me outside expecting to see a salmon-colored moon, but all we saw was a full moon that looked the way it always did: yellowish-white with not a hint of pink.

While I don’t recall the year of this episode, I can state most definitely that it took place in the month of April, since many years later I learned that traditionally the full moon of April is called the “pink moon,” a reference made to the grass pink or wild ground phlox which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring season. [How 2013’s Full Moons Got Their Peculiar Names]

So on Thursday night, when you look skyward at this year’s version of the “pink” April full moon, remember not to take the term literally!

A bit of an eclipse

While this month’s full moon may not look pink, if you live in Europe, Africa or much of Asia, you will notice something a bit different about it, because it will take place on the night of a lunar eclipse.

Unfortunately, in North America, none of this eclipse will be visible, since the actual instant of full moon occurs on Thursday afternoon (April 25), when the moon is below the horizon.

Beginning at 2:04 p.m. EDT (1804 GMT), the moon begins to meet the Earth’s shadow; a little over two hours later it arrives under the middle of that shadow. By then the moon will have just risen and will be visible low to the east-southeast horizon as seen from Ireland, and will be setting over south-central Japan in the morning hours of Friday, April 26.

Feeble at best

If we were to rank a total eclipse of the moon as a first-rate event, then what is scheduled to be seen on Thursday for those living in the Eastern Hemisphere would almost certainly fall into the third- or even fourth-rate category; in fact it might add new meaning to the term “underwhelming.”

During the first 110-minutes of the eclipse, the moon’s northern hemisphere pushes ever-so-gradually into the Earth’s partial shadow, called the penumbra. The outer two-thirds of this are too subtle to detect; but then perhaps by 3:30 p.m. EDT (1920 GMT) you may realize you are beginning to detect the ever-so-slight gradient of a soft grey darkening around the top of the moon.

At 3:54 p.m. EDT (1954 GMT), the moon’s northern limb finally makes contact with a much more abrupt shadow, the blackish-brown umbra. This chord of shadow on the moon grows and retreats over a span of less than half an hour; yet at its deepest at 4:07 p.m. EDT (2007 GMT), the partial eclipse will reach its peak at a puny 1.48 percent as the moon’s northern (upper) limb literally grazes the umbral shadow and remains in contact with it until 4:21 p.m. EDT (2021 GMT).

This dark shadow’s coverage can be described as feeble at best. To the unaided eye, even to those with acute visual skills, it will hardly cause a perceptible dent on the lunar disk. However, anyone who glances up at the moon around that time will likely notice that the uppermost part of the disk of the moon will appear smudged or tarnished. This effect will probably fade away by around 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), with the moon appearing as its normal self. Officially, though, the moon will not completely free itself from the outer penumbral shadow until 6:11 p.m. EDT (2211 GMT).

In spite of the fact that this isn’t much of an eclipse, I suspect that more than a few skywatchers across the big pond will still take time out to watch it. That is, after all what a true amateur astronomer is: patient, undemanding, and willing to accept even the smallest crumbs from the star tables.

Oh — and have a happy!

April Is National Poetry Month – T. S. Eliot’s “Choruses from The Rock”

The Dreaming Spires of Oxford

The Dreaming Spires of Oxford

It’s always some “month” or another, I guess…

But I do love poetry, especially great poetry, and I can’t keep myself from taking this opportunity to post a few of my favorites.

I’m not going to post them every day because April is too busy with beekeeping and gardening.  But I will sneak them in from time to time.

Here is a snippet from T.S. Eliot’s  Choruses from The Rock. I know it by heart. I hope you enjoy it too.

O Light Invisible, we praise Thee!
Too bright for mortal vision.

O Greater Light, we praise Thee for the less;
The eastern light our spires touch at morning,
The light that slants upon our western doors at evening,
The twilight over stagnant pools at batflight,
Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,
Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.
O Light Invisible, we worship Thee!

We thank Thee for the light that we have kindled,
The light of altar and of sanctuary;
Small lights of those who meditate at midnight
And lights directed through the coloured panes of windows
And light reflected from the polished stone,
The gilded carven wood, the coloured fresco.
Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward
And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.
We see the light but see not whence it comes.
O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!

Things To Do In The Cottage Garden In April

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”

– Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant

April is National Garden Month. It is also the “action month” in the cottage garden. This is when things need to be done almost every day, especially if you are starting a new bed.

April can be summed up in five words. Weed. Plant. Divide. Compost. Weed.

But for a more detailed list of things to do, see below.

Plant annuals and perennials

For best performance, get your perennials and bedding plants in early. You won’t need to fill in your beds as much in midsummer.

Divide perennials

Lift large clumps, split with a spade and re-plant. Couldn’t be easier. This is the easiest way to increase your stocks of plants. Newly divided clumps need watering in and you need to give a bit of water if it gets very dry. Lots of nice compost and that’s about it!

Move plants

Anything you decided last year was in the wrong place can be moved now and should get off to a good start before it gets too hot. I try to keep a gardening diary these days so that if during the year I see things I want to change I write it down and then don’t forget the following April.

Rose care

If you didn’t do this last month add an organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen and potassium to your roses. Hoe into the soil at the base.

Prune

Prune buddleia and lavatera, cut these hard back to stop growth from being ‘leggy’.

Cut back all hydrangea stems which flowered last year. Leaving these on until now provides some frost protection during the winter.

Tie In Stems

Take a look at your climbers and see which ones need to be tied in to their supports. Clematis tend to need a helping hand to get going on their supports, honeysuckle as well (my clematis bloomed today!) Wisteria can usually manage on its own.

Sow seeds

You can sow annuals and perennials now.

Good annuals to provide lots of color are: zinnias,marigolds, sunflowers and cosmos (especially the lovely dark pink colours).

Perennials worth trying are: coreopsis, helenium, lupin and verbascum. Verbascums lovely spikes of flowers provide real height and contrast in your garden.

Weeding

Make sure you keep up with weeding as the weeds will be growing strongly now.