A Very Rare New Moon
This New Moon is particularly special. Today there was a very rare New Moon eclipse, visible in the Southern Hemisphere and Antartica.
Matt Rilkoff of the Tranaki Daily News explains just how rare this is: 'For those who missed last night's partial solar eclipse, there are just 20 years to wait until another of similar proportions.'
Today's eclipse is the first of four eclipse events this year.
A Partial Eclipse
Dr. Bernado Soriano Jr., chief of PAGASA's Atmospheric, Geophysical and Space Sciences Branch, explains that an eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when one celestial object moves into the shadow of another. The eclipse event today, an annular solar eclipse, "occurs when the moon covers the sun but its umbral (or darker) shadow does not reach the earth, only the penumbral (or lighter) shadow does."
A Total Eclipse
A total lunar eclipse is expected to occur on February 2oth. "A total lunar eclipse is when the earth’s shadow totally obscures the moon," Soriano explained.
The total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Arctic, western part of Russia, most of Arabia, Africa except Madagascar, Europe and America, PAGASA said.
Aside from the two eclipse events, two more will occur this year, a total solar eclipse on August 1st, and a partial lunar eclipse on August 17th.
Chinese New Year
Andrea Filmer writes about how special two eclipses are at the time of the Chinese New Year: Two eclipses usher in the Year of the Rat in that rare phenomenon seen only once in 18 years – a partial or annular solar eclipse on the first day of Chinese New Year and another on Chap Goh Meh, February 21st.
Universiti Sains Malaysia Astronomy Club academic advisor Dr Chong Hon Yew said the eclipses were very special: 'An average of two solar eclipses occur every year, so for both to happen during the Chinese New Year celebrations is something special.'
A Partial Eclipse Closer To Home
Paul Simons of the Times explains that few people will see today's eclipse, but that the partial eclipse on August the 1st will be visible in the Uk, particlarly in the North of Scotland, as it passes across the Arctic.
For new and full moon dates in 2008 check out the Moon Calendar:
The New Moon
'The new moon occurs when the sun and moon are in conjunction, occupying the same part of the sky from the viewpoint of earth. During this time the moon doesn't reflect the light of the sun, and so cannot be seen (except during a solar eclipse). The moon's un-illuminated side is facing the earth.The new moon phase is the time of new beginnings - like the Maiden form of the Goddess and the season of Spring. The appearance of the new crescent moon was celebrated as a return of the moon from the dead.This is a time of growing energy, newness, rejuvenation, growth, renewal and hope. It is a good point to make changes in your life, such as ending bad habits or relationships.'
The time of the New Moon is always one of letting things go and starting new things. An eclipse is said to enhance this, as Yasmin Boland explains:
'Eclipses can be tough to take if we’re not being smart and we’re clinging onto someone or something which is not do us any good, which is toxic or otherwise just sooo obviously not our destiny. They’re like the hand of God/dess reaching down from the skies and tearing out from the toxic mess what trying so hard to cling to (resistance is futile by the way!) But if we’re living well and open to positive change, they can be just as powerful a force for good. Think of it as though we live in a Universe with lots of parallel realities. Just say you quite like your life but there are a few changes you would like to make – the eclipses make it possible to jump from one reality to another.'
A New Moon and a New Moon Eclipse and the Chinese New Year ... another perfect time for fresh starts!