September 16, 2016 Full Moon – A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

For all you moon fans, please note that we are going to experience a penumbral lunar eclipse tonight. I wasn’t sure what ‘penumbral’ meant, so here is the definition:

“A space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow on all sides and the full light:  a shaded region surrounding the dark central portion of a sunspot.” Furthermore, I also was not sure what a penumbral lunar eclipse looked like, so I consulted

“A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align in an almost straight line. When this happens, the Earth blocks some of the Sun’s light from directly reaching the Moon’s surface, and covers a part of the Moon with the outer part of its shadow, also known as the penumbra. The rest receives the same amount of sunlight as usual and is as bright as a full Moon.

Because of this, it is often hard to differentiate between a normal full Moon and a penumbral eclipse of the Moon.”

There are many theories about human and animal behavior during a full moon. Scientists have done endless studies on the veracity of this, and myths, legends and old wives’ tales insist that a full moon causes everything from abnormal behavior to “moon madness.” While the scientific facts are interesting, there is still room for the strange and unusual things that can happen during a full moon, or the time leading up to one.

Personally, these are the things I notice during this time:

  • Our cats act crazier than usual
  • The wildlife around our house (skunks, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks and our resident woodchuck, Fat Bottom Charlie) is far more active
  • People seem to do more stupid things while driving
  • My sleep pattern (never good in the first place) is disrupted
  • Dreams are clearer and more imaginative

But this all could be my imagination. All factoids aside, tonight should be a beautiful full moonlit night. Don’t forget to look for it; we may not see another one for a while.