So, tonight around 11:45PM PST the winter solstice will occur.
Beaujolais to that! And it's a full moon, too! Also Beaujolais!
There's a bunch of other weird elliptic mathematical things
going on, too, but who cares? Go enjoy the moon.
The link at the end of this story is to a page at the Old Farmer's Almanac that
you've probably already heard about. Apparently this year the winter solstice
coincides with the full moon AND with the lunar perigee -- meaning the moon will
be closest to the earth, and the earth closest to the sun, than it's ever been
since 1866 or so. Which SHOULD mean that the moon will be HUGE and BRIGHT and
WONDERFUL in the night sky.
But apparently a bunch of eggheads over at Sky and Telescope are debunking the whole darn
"brightest moon of the last 150 years" thing. They did lots of calculations and
estimations and have big calendars and such that seem to indicate that the moon
will be big and bright all right, but that it's really not all that big a deal.
There have supposedly been lots of brighter moons in the last 100 years.
I'm not sure what my position is on this. My feeling is that I trust an Old
Farmer a lot more than some astronomy goobs at Sky and Telescope. Don't you? Old
Farmers usually say things in a lot more colorful way, with lots of sayings like
"I reckon" and "as the crow flies" and "Ye can put that in yer pipe and smoke
it!" and such. They also have cool wrinkly faces and give you hits off their
flasks of rotgut whiskey. Oh, and they have ancient homespun wisdom, which none
of your book-larnin' can match.
Astronomy goobs, on the other hand, always have bad breath and scraggly beards
and big fishbowl glasses. And they say everything to you real slow and with
humiliating examples as if you were a painfully retarded mandrill. Oh: and they
never have whiskey. So, I'm going to have to go with the Old Farmer on this one.
I think the S&T folks are just PISSED that they spend all this time encouraging
people to get excited about astronomy, and have like elementary school outreach
programs where they drag scores of yawning children through shelves and shelves
of boring laboratory equipment, and it never works, and people still find
astronomy boring, and it's very frustating. But THEN people get all EXCITED
about this crazy moon-solstice thing that isn't even really a THING, if you
actually know what you're talking about. I mean, it's exactly the kind of
situation that makes science guys jump around like they have furious bees in
But frankly, who gives a fuck? Isn't it GREAT that there are thousands of people
who are going to go out and enjoy the moon tonight, brightest-of-the-century or
not? You should go out tonight (and tomorrow night), too. Enjoy the moon! Enjoy
the night! Dance around like an idiot. We live on a PLANET that goes around the
SUN every YEAR! And we have a MOON, too! Isn't that just the COOLEST THING?!?