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Mooning Around

17 Jan 2018

On the 2nd January, if you happened to be outside after dark, you may have spotted the first Full Moon of the year. This moon is called a ‘Wolf Moon’ named after howling wolves. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. In some cultures, it was known as Old Moon, Ice Moon, Snow Moon, and the Moon after Yule.

This January is a lucky month for Moons as there’s a lot to see if you dare to venture out:

January 17 - New Moon. The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. Why are you telling us about no moon we hear you ask? Well, this is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere. A pretty special opportunity!

January 31 - Full Moon, Supermoon, Blue Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 13:27 GMT. Since this is the second full moon in the same month, it is sometimes referred to as a blue moon. This is also the last of two supermoons for 2018. The Moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.

February - Black Moon. If that wasn’t all odd enough, February 2018 will see no complete full moon. This is a rare occurrence and informally dubbed a ‘Black Moon’. Creepy! About once every 20 years, February does not have a Full Moon. Instead, January and March have 2 Full Moons each.

The moon is so fascinating that it often appears in songs. Here are a list of our favourite songs to enjoy if you venture out into the cold night air!...

‘Moonlight Shadow’ by Mike Oldfield featuring Maggie Reilly, peaked at number 4 in the British charts in 1983

‘Fly Me to the Moon’ a song by Kaye Ballard and made famous by ‘Old Blue Eyes’ Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra’s 1964 version was closely associated with the Apollo missions to the Moon.

‘Blue Moon’ is a classic popular song written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934, and has become a standard ballad and has been covered by various artists including versions by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, The Mavericks, Dean Martin, The Supremes and Rod Stewart. It is also the anthem of English Premier League football club Manchester City, who have adapted the song slightly.

‘Walking on the Moon’ released by The Police in 1979 was written by Sting who explained “I was drunk in a hotel room in Munich, slumped on the bed with the whirling pit when this riff came into my head. I got up and started walking round the room, singing ‘Walking round the room, ya, ya, walking round the room’. That was all. In the cool light of morning I remembered what had happened and I wrote the riff down. But ‘Walking Round the Room’ was a stupid title so I thought of something even more stupid which was ‘Walking on the Moon’.”

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