Shine On Harvest Moon

harvestmoon2

With the autumnal equinox set to fall on Sept. 22, the 2013 Harvest Moon will be in full bloom tonight.

The term “Harvest Moon” or “Corn Moon,” is used to describe the full moon that occurs closest to fall’s equinox. For skywatchers in North America, the full moon is expected to rise shortly after sunset (depending on your location) on Sept. 18 and will peak at 7:13 a.m. EDT the next morning.

The Harvest Moon will be especially visible during the overnight hours, even though it won’t actually be “full” until Thursday morning.

As EarthSky explains:

No matter where you are on Earth, this full moon – and every full moon – ascends over your eastern horizon around the time of sunset. It’s always highest in the sky in the middle of the night, when the sun is below your feet. That’s because a full moon is opposite the sun. Being opposite the sun, the moon is showing us its fully lighted hemisphere, or “day” side. That’s what makes the moon look full.

However, the almost full Harvest Moon should also be visible for North American viewers on Thursday night, when the moon will turn full for observers in Asia.

The annual celestial sight was dubbed the “Harvest Moon” because its light allowed farmers in the Northern Hemisphere to harvest their crops for several hours more into the night, Farmers’ Almanac notes.

Girl History Month – Ching Shih The Pirate

ching 1

Ching Shih (1775–1844) was a prominent pirate in middle Qing China, who terrorized the China Sea in the early 19th century. A brilliant Cantonese pirate, she commanded 1800 ships and more than 80,000 pirates — men, women, and even children. She challenged the world superpower empires at the time such as the British, Portuguese and the Qing dynasty.

Undefeated, she would become one of China and Asia’s strongest pirates, and one of world history’s most powerful pirates. She was also one of the few pirate captains to successfully retire from piracy.

ching 2

Little is known about Ching Shih’s early life, including her birth name and precise date of birth. She was a Cantonese prostitute who worked in small brothel of Canton, but was captured by pirates. In 1801, she married Zheng Yi, a notorious Cantonese-Chinese pirate. The name she is best remembered by means simply “widow of Zheng”.

Zheng Yi belonged to a family of successful pirates who traced their criminal origins back to the mid-seventeenth century. Following his marriage to Ching Shih, Zheng Yi used military assertion and his reputation to gather a coalition of competing Cantonese pirate fleets into an alliance. By 1804, this coalition was a formidable force, and one of the most powerful pirate fleets in all of China. They seized loot in all sorts of ways — selling “protection” from pirate attacks, raiding ships, and kidnapping. In 1806, a British officer reported on the terrible fate of those who resisted Ching Shih’s pirates. The pirates had nailed an enemy’s feet to the deck and then beaten him senseless.

ching 3

In 1807, Zheng Yi died, and Ching Shih maneuvered her way into his leadership position. The fleet under her command established hegemony over many coastal villages, in some cases even imposing levies and taxes on settlements. According to Robert Antony, Ching Shih “robbed towns, markets, and villages, from Macau to Canton.”

The Red Flag Fleet under Ching Shih’s rule could not be defeated — not by Qing dynasty Chinese officials, not by the Portuguese navy, not by the British. But in 1810, amnesty was offered to all pirates, and Ching Shih took advantage of it. She ended her career in 1810, accepting an amnesty offer from the Chinese government. She kept her loot, married her lieutenant (who was also her adoptive son) Cheung Po Tsai, and opened a gambling house.

pirate ship

She died in 1844, at the age of 69.

She was my kind of girl.  🙂