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Every Monday morning at 6:49 and 8:49, IPR News Radio looks into the night sky with Mary Stewart Adams, former Program Director and founder of the International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands, who has been telling stories of the night sky on IPR since 2013.

Summer's First Full Moon at Eclipse: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky


The Moon is building toward a mighty crescendo this week but will then perform a sleight of hand when it arrives at Full phase and slips invisibly into eclipse in the midnight hour July 4th to 5th.

This penumbral eclipse of Summer’s first Full Moon will happen among the stars of Sagittarius, quite near the planet Jupiter, with Saturn just a few degrees away.

Jupiter’s orbital rhythm of 12 years aligns it to the ancient concept of space, especially as defined by the 12 regions of the zodiac. Saturn’s orbital rhythm of 28 years, which can be neatly divided into four seven-year cycles, was felt to be related to time, and to all mysteries contained in the world memory.

When the Moon comes Full near Jupiter and Saturn, it’s like it becomes a light to illumine these two portals into the eternal and uncreated world of the stars ~ one portal through space, the other through time. Add to this imagination the fact that the Moon will be standing in the outermost edge of Earth’s shadow when it encounters these two, and this is how you get to the idea that the Moon is doing a sleight of hand trick.

Usually the Full Moon diminishes all the light around it, but at eclipse, it’s as though someone put a lampshade over the lunar light. And while this kind of eclipse is essentially invisible to the naked eye, for those initiated into celestial mysteries, this kind of Moon signals a time for slipping through the space/time into the realm of stars where the secrets of the starry script may be read.

So be sure to go out and make a wish on a star Saturday night, July 4th. It can be the first star you see, or one that you choose specifically. And make your wish knowing that it will be witnessed and inscribed into starry spaces by those who know the magic mystery of the night.