In case you have been in outer space for the past year or so, I wanted to let you know that the Presidential election is on Tuesday, Nov 8. Please vote! Voting is one of the many privileges of being a citizen of the USA, and it’s easy to take this for granted. In fact, many citizens don’t bother to cast their ballots. For people around the world who never get a chance to vote on anything that effects their lives, this apathy must seem insane. So, please, make sure your voice is counted.
In the meantime, let’s broaden our horizons a bit. I have been learning fun facts to know and tell about the moon!
Because the moon’s orbit around Earth is egg-shaped, there are times during the lunar cycle when the moon is much closer to the Earth than at other times. When the moon is at its shortest distance from Earth, it is called the perigee; when the moon is at its farthest distance, it’s called the apogee.
Perigee does not always happen during a full moon, but when a full moon coincides with lunar perigee, it’s often dubbed a super moon. Some of you may have noticed the huge moon in mid-October.
This month, the super moon promises to be very impressive, as it will be the largest full moon visible in our skies so far this century. On Nov 14th, the moon will be 221,524 miles from the earth; it can be as far away as 252,000 miles, a 30,000 mile difference!
30,000 miles may seem like a very long distance until we learn that the distance between Earth and Mars varies between 34 and 250 million miles (again, it varies due to the elliptical nature of the planets’ orbits.) These numbers are so huge as to become incomprehensible. Our universe is just so vast, and there is still so much we do not understand. I think this is very good news.
It is hubris to believe that humans can figure out everything. Our world needs mystery. We need to know that not everything can be explained. The more comfort we have with inscrutability, with uncertainty, the more accepting we will be with the mystery of our own lives, and the lives of those we love. The smartest person in the world cannot explain the origins of love, or how faith grows or sometimes disappears. Our five senses can tell us much about our environment, but they can’t tell us everything. Indeed, the unanswerable questions are the most fascinating.
Enjoy the super moon on Nov 14th! Even with the knowledge you now have about why the moon will appear so enormous, I trust you will still be stunned into silent awe and wonder. It is one of the greatest gifts of being alive.
See you at 4 Cleaves Street!