Today is the first day of spring and things are looking up. Way up. To the heavens, in fact. Today is not only the Vernal Equinox (the First Day of Spring), it is also the occasion of the Super Moon and a Solar Eclipse. In astrological terms, today is the big Kahuna. In astronomical terms “This is the Earth’s first — and only — total solar eclipse of the year and the first one since November 2013, NASA reports. The next total solar eclipse in the USA will be in August 2017.”
A Super Moon, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon T-shirt design comes to mind, occurs “when a full or new moon coincides with perigee — the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. Basically, the moon will appear a bit bigger and brighter than usual in the night sky.” A Solar Eclipse “occurs when the moon’s orbit of Earth positions it directly in between us and the sun, causing the moon to temporarily block out some of the sun’s light.” (Read the whole article and see a cool illustrative video here.) The Vernal Equinox happens once a year (if we are lucky).
The coincidence of these three celestial events is rare indeed! This celestial line up happens once in a blue moon. Well, the blue moon is a totally different story that is much more common. The Wall Street Journal calls today’s line up extremely rare and goes on to explain the three phenomena this way:
“Solar eclipses are rare. The illusion of a supermoon can be witnessed several times a year, when the moon flies closest to the Earth and therefore appears larger than usual. The spring equinox occurs every year, and marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.…A solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the view from Earth of the sun’s disk, turning day into night. Though total solar eclipses occur somewhere on Earth every 18 months on average, they recur at any given place just once every 360 to 410 years. The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun but 400 times closer, so it appears the same size in the sky and virtually covers all of the sun during a solar eclipse.”
Some observers are calling it Freaky Friday, other Fierce Friday. We’re just calling it a gift. While T-shirt design is usually a little more down-to-earth, we’d love to see something commemorating this great day. Oh and it is the weekend. Happy Friday!