September 2015: the great eclipse of Suzaku's moon

Written on 25/August/2015 by

This September promises to be "interesting" in the sense of the Chinese saying "May you live in interesting times", regardless of astronomical and astrological events I will comment later, there are some widely read journals that are sounding alarms about global economic problems in September/October, and renowned scientists who warn about major (bad) changes in the Arctic Ocean that will reach their peak in September.

Besides, it's just a matter of reading the news every day to realize the World isn't doing as well as it should... but anyway, what is granted is that on September 8 will begin the month of the rooster (also identified with the Red Bird from the South in Chinese mythology, Suzaku in its Japanese version).

Suzaku gets serious during September
Image courtesy of Suzuno Kiara

It happens that the goat (which governs 2015) and the rooster are quite different, but can understood each other if they make an effort... that means that during this month of September there will be a tendency to certain conflicts and misunderstandings, where there will be no choice but to make an effort to try to find a consensual solution.

In other words, the problems of the world we live in are more likely to go out of control from the hands of people who supposedly have to take care of them, but for normal people like me and most of my readers that doesn't means much, maybe that it's just not the right moment to embark on complicated projects of uncertain outcome.

Above all we must try to not be too schematic and rigid (rooster style), nor too fantasious and imaginative (style goat), it's a month to be careful, but if you know how to find that balance between the goat and rooster influences, you can make progress and achieve important successes.

Apart from this, September 2015 brings several outstanding astronomical events:

  • On September 13 there will be a partial solar eclipse, but will only be visible in South Africa and Antarctica... This map shows the exact areas:
    Eclipse Sun September 13, 2015

    So it will have few spectators... but penguins on Antarctica must be very expectant ^_^

  • Afterwards, on September 23 2015, about 8:21 UTC, officially begins the fall/spring in the north/south hemispheres respectively, it is known as the Equinox, when the length of day and night is the same (12 hours) throughout the world.

    In this picture one can get an idea of it:

    autumnal equinox graph
    An important detail that is often overlooked about the equinox is that it implies the beginning of the night in the North Pole and that of the day in the South Pole, lasting these polar days/nights for the following six months.

    Something that would be a mere anecdote if it were not because this year has seen an unprecedented increase in the water temperature of the North Pole, with the resulting record loss of ice volume, so much that scientific specialists in the field say that it wouldn't be impossible for polar ice to collapse before the autumn equinox and the North Atlantic Ocean become plagued with icebergs in October this year... a fairly apocalyptic prediction, but backed with clear data and physical facts.

    Icebergs floating in the sea

    Moreover, these scientists from Arctic News say that if the collapse does not occur before next autumn equinox (this year 2015), it will happen anyway not later than before the autumn equinox of 2018, which is almost the day after tomorrow.

    So there you have an apocalyptic scientific prediction based on an astronomical event... The world is so troubled nowadays that it's no longer needed to look for ancient prophecies to predict disasters.

  • But the best will be at the end of September, on September 27 it will take place the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival; It's so called because in the traditional Chinese calendar the "Chinese Autumn" began with the month of the monkey last August 8.

    What was traditionally celebrated in this festival was the end of the harvest, and it was a time for gathering with family and friends, say thanks for the harvest itself and also for the work of those who helped to make it possible.

    Also it's a tradition to eat moon-shaped cakes this day, which are so good looking that makes you want to emulate the Chinese tradition:

    Chinese pastry moon festival mid-fall
    Image courtesy of the Chinese People's Newspaper

    And this festival was also closely linked to the worship of the Moon and its respective goddess, Chang'e, the goddess of the Moon and immortality:

    The goddess of the moon waiting for the Americans
    Image courtesy of NASA

    It's interesting to deepen in the story of Chang'e, according to legend, she was the wife of a man of prestige that somehow got the elixir of eternal youth, and in the end she drank it all and escaped to the moon, it's not clear how or why, but since then, there she is, and once a year during this festival people will make her offerings and eat moon shape cakes in her honour.

  • But the best is always left for the end, and so on September 28th there will be a spectacular lunar eclipse visible in most of America and Europe as you can see on this map:
    Eclipse Moon September 28, 2015

    It promises to be spectacular because it coincides with a Super Moon , when the full moon occurs at the same time that the perigee, when it is at its closest point to Earth.

    Schematic showing what the apogee and perigee

    So, this event shouldn't be missed, if it's a clear night it's going to be memorable.

So that's all for today, I hope we finish the summer/winter happily, the apocalyptic predictions of the North Pole don't fulfill, our savings don't lose too much value and the eclipse of the Super Moon won't be remembered as a bad omen... it's good to try to be optimistic ;-)

Nacho, the webmaster

Nacho (the webmaster)

During many years an unhappy Unix sysadmin, in 2004 began making this website, mostly in spanish, and tried to live my life in a more sensible way.

I was born in Spain 45 years ago, in 1999 moved to Madrid and began my short sysadmin career, then in 2008 moved to a small sailing boat and have being going from one place to the next until 2018, when I settled down in the Azores islands.

You can see my whole profile here.


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