March 18, 2018

Astro-Event:The Vernal Equinox.

Batten down the hatches; spring is here in a most astronomical way. The vernal equinox occurs this Saturday, March 20th at 17:32 Universal Time; expect uniform amounts of sunshine and darkness worldwide as well as a Sun rising directly due east and setting due west. The spring equinox is also used in the reckoning of Easter; this year’s Paschal or Easter Full Moon falls on March 29th and the proceeding Sunday and Easter falls on April 4th. This year, Eastern Orthodox Easter also falls on the same date; The Orthodox church uses the older Julian calendar and hence the two don’t always coincide. In fact, this year’s date is the earliest that an Eastern Orthodox Easter can fall.

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AstroEvent of the Week: 04.06.09: An Easter Full Moon.

This months’ Full Moon on Thursday is a special one. Known variously as the “Pink” or “Egg” Moon, April’s Full Moon also shares the distinction this year of being an Easter or Paschal Moon, as well. Current tradition sets Easter in the Christian calendar as the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Vernal (or Spring Equinox). All this means is that the date of Easter is highly variable, falling as early as March 22nd, a day after the date set by the church as ecclesiastical equinox, March 21st. In fact, the equinox can vary by a day or two!

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