It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!
Saturday’s full moon is commonly called the Flower Moon the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. But you can call it Super Moon. Not only does this full moon coincide with perigee — its nearest monthly approach to earth — but this is the closest perigee of the year. As a result, the full moon will appear almost 10 percent bigger and brighter than normal.
Thursday’s near-full moon leads Saturn and Spica by only a few degrees, appearing in the southeast at sunset and setting in the west-southwest before dawn. Friday night the three are again close, with the moon this time trailing Saturn and Spica.
Saturday the 5th marks the astronomical mid-point between the sun’s point above the equator at equinox and its farthest point north above the Tropic of Cancer at summer solstice.
This astronomical landmark has been recognized and observed since the dawn of civilization, and many cultures have placed more significance on these cross-quarter days than on the quarter days of solstice and equinox.
For instance, the ancient Celts and Shinto Japanese alike marked the first cross-quarter day on February 2 as the start of their new year. Similarly, May 5 marked summer’s beginning, as this was when the land again became truly alive and fertile. These tractions live on in our May Day celebrations.
The wee hours between Saturday night and Sunday morning mark the peak of this year’s Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Unfortunately, the full moon will likely wash out all but the brightest meteors, which appear to emanate from the constellation Aquarius.
Sunset reveals Venus, a brilliant orb high in the east-northeast. She’s at her absolute brightest. But she is losing ground, and come June 5, she passes before the sun in a rare transit of Venus, not to happen again for another 105 years.