Moon Dances
For the Northern Hemisphere
March 4 - April 3, 2011

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All times are local unless otherwise specified.


Night Sky Visitors ...

My 2011 sabbatical continues. In this abbreviated edition of Moon Dances I offer the following to keep you looking up and tuned to the wonders above

Susan Sun


Look Up! The Moon, waxing and waning, impressively promenades across the dark sky, partnering with the sparkling stars and glowing planets. Who is the Moon dancing with tonight?

3/4-7 ~ A New Lunar Cycle Begins
3/19-22 ~ Extra-Full Moon ~ Perigee-Syzygy Event

EarthSky Tonight
This Week's Sky at a Glance
Monthly Sky Calendars +
AstroViewer Interactive Sky Map
Whole Sky Chart  (8:00pm = 20:00)
Pisces Night Sky 2/18-3/20
Aries Night Sky 3/20-4/20
The Night Sky ~ Home Page


Current Phase of the Moon

Click on the Moon links for meditative insights and additional information.

moon1.gif (878 bytes) moon6.gif (1327 bytes) moon8.gif (1638 bytes) moon11.gif (1958 bytes) moon15.gif (2185 bytes) moon18.gif (2158 bytes) moon22.gif (1776 bytes) moon25.gif (1351 bytes)
New Waxing Crescent First
Full Waning Gibbous


3 / 4 / 11   3 / 12 / 11   3 / 19 /11   3 / 26 / 11  
12:46pmPST 3:45pmPST 11:10amPDT 5:07amPDT
20:46 UT 23:45 UT 18:10 UT  12:07 UT

Note: When the right side of the Moon is illuminated, the Moon is increasing or waxing. When the left side illuminated, the Moon is decreasing or waning. (Of course, this only works in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere the effect is just the opposite!)

Moon and Sun Data
One Specific Day
One Year Table

Rise/Set/Transit Times ~ Major Bodies

UT Time Conversion


A New Lunar Cycle Begins
Friday, March 4 – 12:46pm PST (20:46 UT)
Flowing into a Great Sea of Consiousness


Image: Distant Suns / Adobe Photoshop

* Printable Image *

east–left, west–right, north–top, south–bottom

The New Moon can be thought of as a no Moon! Its sunlit side is facing away from Earth toward the Sun. The side that is facing Earth is not getting any sunlight, leaving it dark and invisible to us ... no Moon to see! A New Moon lies between the Sun and Earth. Helpful Image + Description BTW: The only time a New Moon can be seen is during a solar eclipse, when it passes directly in front of the Sun, visibly showing off part or all of its entire dark disk.

Note: For those living in San Francisco this New Moon takes place overhead 46 minutes after high noon. The Sun, New Moon and planets are located in the same constellations for other parts of the world; these constellations, in differing time zones, lie in a different location above or below the horizon.


Reflections ~ New Moon

With every New Moon our soul goes into meditation and aligns with the inspiration of the Nirmanakayas; a potential is enlivened and a seed of consciousness is formed deep within. Take some time to create a sacred space. A new cycle is beginning.

The New Moon and Sun, lie in the midst of a planetary stream flowing through three watery constellations of the great Celestial Sea — Capricornus the Sea Goat, Aquarius the Water Bearer and Pisces the Fishes.

In addition, the constellation of the Phoenix rises out of Eridanus, the river of life, both (not shown in the map above) lie to the south, deep in the Celestial Sea. Helpful Maps: 1, 2 Both align with the New Moon and Sun.

The New Moon of March 4, 2011 occurs in sidereal Aquarius and conjoins Achernar of Eridanus, the river of life; and Ankaa of the Phoenix. [Helpful Image] This lunar cycle marks a completion of a leg of life, and an emergence into a vaster body of consciousness, much like a river's delta opens into an ocean. Boundaries dissolve as our dreams and visions shift and swirl us into a greater universality and potentiality of being. This lunar cycle is packed full of opportunities for emotional growth, personal empowerment, and spiritual expansion. Nick Fiorenza: 3/4/11 Lunar Cycle

The New Moon has humanity flowing into a great sea of consciousness. During this lunar cycle imagine the planetary river and Celestial Sea streaming forth energies that help us emerge into something new and wholesome, while we move with the seemingly chaotic currents and waves of our times.

Now is the time for divination.
Invoke the images that melt open your heart.
Now is the time for divination.
Invoke the images that fuse you with Spirit.
Now is the time for divination.
Invoke the faith that turns loaves to fishes.
Vision, inspiration and hope are the manna of this new moon.

Jacqueline Lasahn / Facebook AstroFlash 3/4/11

Lunar Theme: Flowing into a Great Sea of Consiousness

Radical Change from the
River of Life into Vaster Waters

Nick Fiorenza gives insight to this lunar cycle.

Pisces Global Meditation
This meditation, which culminates at the
Full Moon during Pisces, begins with this New Moon.
(The Full Moon occurs at the end of Pisces, 17 hours
before the March Equinox when the sign of Aries begins.)


March 5-7, Saturday-Monday, at dusk above the western horizon, the youngest Crescent Moons make their appearance with difficult to see Mercury and brilliant Jupiter. Sky&Telescope Map/Text More maps: 3/5 Map, 3/6 Map, 3/7 Map

Approximate Moonsets: 7:15pm, 8:15pm, 9:15pm

Note: Uranus lies invisibly between Mercury and Jupiter. To see the location of Uranus review the New Moon map above.
BTW: Jupiter is sinking toward the horizon, while Mercury is rising above it. Watch them move closer together as the days unfold. They are at their closest March 15.

Open to new visions for the greater whole. Envision well-being for all.


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Extra-Full Moon ~ Perigee-Syzygy Event

Saturday, March 19 – 11:10am PDT (18:10 UT)
Lunar Nearside - Astronomy Picture of the Day 3/3/11

Image: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State Univ. /
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Explanation: About 1,300 images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft's wide angle camera were used to compose this spectacular view of a familiar face - the lunar nearside. But why is there a lunar nearside? The Moon rotates on its axis and orbits the Earth at the same rate, about once every 28 days. Tidally locked in this configuration, the synchronous rotation always keeps one side, the nearside, facing Earth. As a result, featured in remarkable detail in the full resolution mosaic, the smooth, dark, lunar maria (actually lava-flooded impact basins), and rugged highlands, are well-known to earthbound skygazers. ... The LRO images used to construct the mosaic were recorded over a two week period last December [2010]. Astronomy Picture of the Day 3/3/11 ~ Current Astronomy Picture of the Day

To find your favorite mare or large crater, just slide your cursor over this APOD Image; its web page gives APOD's full explanation and all the links for the "Lunar Nearside" mosaic shown above.


Extra Full Moon ~ Perigee-Syzygy Event

The Perigee

The Moon's orbit is not a perfect circle. Every 27.55 days, the Moon swings closer to Earth and then loops farther away in an unending cycle of perigees and apogees. Helpful Image The Full Moon of Saturday, March 19, is at rare perigee, the closest lunar approach for the month, for the year and in 18 years! Note: The Moon is exactly Full less than an hour from perigee.

The Moon averages about 240,000 miles from Earth but can get as close as 221,441 miles and as far as 252,723 miles. That's a range of over 30,000 miles.

Now next Saturday the 19th you'll be treated to the closest and biggest full Moon of 2011. It's not only the closest full Moon for this year but it will be the closest and biggest full Moon since March 8, 1993! Plus it will be the biggest full Moon you'll see for the next five years, until November 14, 2016. Star Gazer: 2011 Script 3/7-15

Lunar Perigee / Apogee Calculator

The biggest Full Moons of the year are 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser Full Moons. Helpful Image A perigee Moon creates higher than usual "perigean tides". However, according to NASA, these are only a few centimeters (an inch or so) higher than usual. Local geography can increase the effect to about 15 centimeters (six inches). Richard Nolle has more to say about the potential effects of perigee SuperMoons in "The Sysygy" section below.

A Moon near the horizon always looks bigger due to The Moon Illusion, so be sure to catch this Moon at its most super-duper-size when it rises around 7:45pm or sets about 6:45am! Click Rise/Set/Transit Times ~ Major Bodies for exact times in your area.

The Syzygy

When three or more astronomical bodies, in a gravitational system, form a roughly straight line, we have a syzygy (siz-i-jee). The March 19 "Extra" Full Moon, as with all Full Moons, forms a straight line with our Earth and Sun (Moon-Earth-Sun), a syzygy.

Richard Nolle calls the perigee-syzygy Full Moon a SuperMoon, which has the potential to stir up powerful tides in the Earth's atmosphere, crust and oceans. 

SuperMoon is a word I coined in a 1979 ... describing a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. ... At any new or full moon, Earth and Moon and Sun are all in a line: Earth is in the middle in the full moon alignment, while the new moon happens with Moon in the middle. This coming together in an alignment is technically termed a syzygy. ... when the Moon is in its perigee, or closest approach to Earth. Astronomers call this very special alignment a perigee-syzygy. I call it a SuperMoon – which is a whole lot easier on the tongue.

... From extreme coastal tides to severe storms to powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the entire natural world surges and spasms under the sway of the SuperMoon alignment - within three days either way of the exact syzygy, as a general rule. ... For most of us, the geocosmic risk raised by SuperMoon alignments will pass with little notice in our immediate vicinity. ... A SuperMoon is planetary in scale, being a special alignment of Earth, Sun and Moon. ... it’s planetary in scope, in the sense that there's no place on Earth not subject to the tidal force of the perigee-syzygy. Of course, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions don't go wandering all over the planet. They happen in (mostly) predictable locations, like the infamous "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific plate.

Examples of the SuperMoon connection with major storms and seismic events abound [Nolle provides examples]. ... I’m far from the first person in history to notice the connection between lunar perigee-syzygy and powerful tides stirring up Earth’s atmosphere, crust and oceans. Richard Nolle's Full Article: SuperMoon What It Is, What It Means

The March 19 perigee-syzygy Full Moon line-up is grander, extending outward to include Saturn and Jupiter (Saturn, Moon, Earth, Sun, Jupiter). This solar system view for the exact time of the Full Moon shows Saturn (yellow) and the Earth (blue) on the left side of the Sun and Jupiter (gold) on the right side of the Sun. This 3/19-20 Full Moon Map shows the Moon in relation to Saturn; they are in exact conjunction March 20 at 12:27pm PDT (19:27 UT).

Saturn and Jupiter on opposites sides of the Sun play an important role in the geocosmic effects experienced on Earth.

Scientists have noted that when Jupiter and Saturn are aligned on the same side of the Sun, the solar maximum (the period when we have the most sunspots and flares) is at its weakest; when they are on opposite sides of the Sun the solar maximum is at its strongest. Doomsday, The Mayan Calendar and 2012

Jupiter and Saturn are now on the opposite sides of the Sun and the Sun is in its solar maximum cycle. Perhaps the gravitational pull of these two opposing massive planets disturbs the quietude of the Sun causing sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME's). Solar Glossary The Sun in its active cycle increases the likelihood of power grid overloads/outages and satellite disruption [*]. Solar maximum may even increase earthquake/volcanic activity and emotional upsets, however this concept is not well understood nor agreed upon. describes the solar activity of March 9-10 preceding Japan's March 11 quake/tsunami.

Hold a Holy Space for Japan

Use Solar System Live to view the entire solar system or just the inner planets for any date/time.

In Summary

The 5 celestial body syzygy (Saturn, Moon, Earth, Sun, Jupiter) occurring during this perigee Full Moon cycle is likely to stir up our Earth’s atmosphere, crust and oceans, and even human emotions. During this time be receptive to your inner guidance, fill up with the higher vibrations of gratitude and love, radiate healing energies into our world.

Lunar Cycle Reminders ..."Now is the time for divination. Invoke the images that melt open your heart. Invoke the images that fuse you with Spirit. Invoke the faith that turns loaves to fishes." Jacqueline Lasahn "This lunar cycle is packed full of opportunities for emotional growth, personal empowerment, and spiritual expansion." Nick Fiorenza: 3/4/11 Lunar Cycle We are flowing into a great sea of consciousness. As we move with the seemingly chaotic currents and waves of our times, seek out and receive and radiate the energies that are streaming forth to help humanity emerge into something new and wholesome.

Full Moon Global Meditation


March 20, Sunday, is the Spring Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere. The Sun conjoins Uranus today, with an exact conjunction occurring March 21, Monday, 5:25am PDT (12:25 UT).

The March 20 equinox occurs the day after the Full Moon, with the Sun conjoining Uranus ... stimulating dynamic radical action to break away from the conforming bounds of the past. ... The Sun-Uranus alignment also marks the mid-point of vision and realization in our current 370-day Earth-Uranus synodic cycle [*], which began on September 21, 2010, bring[ing] revelations about the radical changes we are making and need to make in our lives. Nick Fiorenza: 3/4/11 Lunar Cycle

Global Meditations ~ Spring Equinox

3/20 Sunset Map
Jupiter sets near 8:15pm.
Mercury sets near 8:50pm

3/20 Mid-Evening Map
The Moon lies near Spica east of Saturn

March 22, Tuesday, Mercury is at its greatest distance from the setting Sun, giving its best performance of 2011. Mercury sets just before 9:00pm and Jupiter sets near 8:15pm. 3/22 7:30pm Map What does this messenger of the gods have to say to you?

Historic First: A Spacecraft Orbits Mercury


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I'd like to know your thoughts about The Night Sky ...
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May your Night Sky traveling always be filled
with Celestial Delights and Treats!
Susan Sun


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Includes a downloadable Moon map and bimonthly star charts.

At download a current monthly guide, evening sky map & calendar.

Link to Sky and Telescope's This Week's Sky at a Glance. keeps you looking up!

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