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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.

The Sun, the Moon, and a Very Big Boat: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky


The Full Moon happened Sunday, March 28th, and though Full Moon happens nearly every month, sometimes twice a month, this particular Moon is exceptional in the cycle of the year because it marks the time when the Moon trades places with the Sun in the celestial hemispheres.

So the Moon moves through the northern and southern celestial hemispheres every month, so that’s not really a big deal. But there’s a moment in the cycle of every year when the Moon starts a six-month period of only coming to Full Phase in the southern celestial hemisphere, and this year, that was Sunday’s Moon.

From now until October, every Full Moon will occur below the celestial equator, which means that now is the time to begin the festivals of renewal. The Ancient Greeks observed the return of Persephone from the underworld in this season, while the Ancient Romans celebrated the Year Goddess, Anna Perenna at the Spring Full Moon.

In Jewish tradition, the first Full Moon of the spring commemorates the Exodus and the passing over the angel of death.

And in the Christian tradition this first Full Moon is used to find the date of Easter, which is the first Sunday after the first Full Moon of Spring, which is a sacred celebration of how the Sun God overtakes the Lunar Lord.

And every Full Moon also has tidal effect on the Earth’s oceans. This is not so noticeable in the Great Lakes, but at Full Moon each month, the earth’s oceans experience a spring tide, which is a tide that springs forward toward the shore.

So this week, in addition to the Full Moon marking the return of Persephone, the celebration of Anna Perenna, the Passover and the Easter, this Full Moon’s spring tide is also being used to resurrect the container ship Ever Given from its stuck position along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the Suez Canal in Egypt.