by Sid Baglini
Tuesday, May 25 at 8:00 pm
In sports like ice hockey and soccer, a hat trick is the performance of three positive outcomes (goals) in one event or game. This month, the Moon has a hat trick in store for us, although due to our geography, we will only be able to witness two of them. First, we have the full moon which reaches its peak at 7:14 AM on May 26th. That means that it doesn’t matter whether we walk on the 25th or 26th, as it will appear about the same. Since the moon rises earlier on Tuesday, that will be our evening to walk. The second accomplishment is that this will be the second Super Moon in a row, this one being just slightly more super than in April because the Moon will be even closer to Earth in its elliptical orbit. And to round out the hat trick, there will be a total Lunar Eclipse which will only be fully visible to the Pacific Rim residents in Asia, Australia, Hawaii and other Pacific islands, and Alaska. While we won’t see it in real time, check your news sources for photos by those who can.
Befitting the exuberance of Spring, this month’s Moon is known by the Native Americans as The Full Flower Moon. Similarly, it is called both The Budding Moon and The Leaf Budding Moon. For the gardeners among us, it is called The Planting Moon, when we can safely put the cold sensitive plants out without fear of frost. The Frog Moon represents some overlap with April’s full Moon as does The Egg Laying Moon, but the Oglala and Arapaho tribes dubbed it The Moon of Shedding Ponies and When Shaggy Ponies Shed Their Hair Moon respectively, which no doubt provided soft hair as nesting material for the egg layers.
Another event that occurs with the full Moon this month is the annual egg laying extravaganza performed by Horseshoe Crabs. While these creatures, more closely related to spiders than to crabs and more ancient than the dinosaurs, are found from Maine to Mexico. The most active location for egg laying is the Delaware Bay, where waters are calm and there is relatively little surf. The peak times for egg laying are at the full and new Moons in May and June because the tides run the highest helping them get well up onto the beach. Corresponding with this mass deposit of trillions of eggs is the arrival of the Red Knots, birds whose annual migration from South America is timed to provide them with a feast of Horseshoe Crab eggs to fill their tanks before continuing on to the Arctic for breeding.
Moonrise in our part of the world is 7:38 PM, and it takes 20 to 30 minutes to clear the horizon, so we will meet at 8:00 PM on Tuesday night. Hope to see you there for a “super” moon walk.