An exceptional moment is upon us Tuesday evening, April 7, 2020, when the nearly Full Moon rises and the Sun sets. The two great lights will hug their respective horizons, with Sun in the west and Moon in the east for about 15 minutes before the Sun sets. At such a moment, a celestial contradiction occurs, because the Sun, though below the horizon, is above the celestial equator (since Equinox); while the Moon, though above the horizon, is below the celestial equator. At just such a moment, the Earth becomes the castle that lies East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The conditions are met, the castle door swings open, and all intrepid travelers to the sacredness of the season are invited to enter.
Plan your viewing spot now, check local Moon rise and Sun set times, get a copy of the fairy tale, or even Dante, and let’s all do our best ceremony of the sacred!
“As when Latona’s son and daughter share
The belt of the horizon and for crown
The stars of Aries and Libra wear,
“The zenith holds them balanced, til anon,
Freed from their girdle, one moves onward to
The hemisphere above, the other down,
“So long from converse Beatrice withdrew,
To gaze, with rapturous mien,
Full on the Point which pierced my vision through.”
~Dante’s “Paradise,” Canto XXIX, lines 1-10, in which he describes this moment of Sun and Moon trading places in the hemispheres (Latona is Leto, consort of Zeus and mother of the twins, Apollo and Artemis, Sun and Moon. In this moment, Dante is preparing the reader for his vision of God, manifested as spaceless and indivisible, the Point.)
(image above by Kay Nielsen from his fabulous illustrations of the story)
Note that when the Moon comes Full, it is this year’s closest (referred to astronomically as Perigee Moon), making it 2020’s Super Moon.
See you in the balance!