Friday, March 21, 2008
It's a full moon tonight. The reason Easter is so early this year is that the full moon is only one day after the equinox. The date of Easter has a complicated definition, but the short (slightly inaccurate) version is that it's the Sunday after the full moon after the equinox.
It's not the earliest possible date for Easter - that would be March 22nd, one day earlier than this year. That won't happen until 2285, and it won't happen on March 23rd again until 2160. So nobody alive today will ever see such an early Easter as this for the rest of their lives. I'm sure teachers will sigh with relief at this news, as it has really messed up the length of school terms.
I hope the sky is clear tonight so I can get a good view of the March full moon, also known as the Lenten Moon. If the skies are clear where you are, why not wrap up warm and go and look at it?
(Isn't the animated picture of the phases of the moon amazing? It's by Tom Ruen and is public domain. Click on the picture to go to the Wikipedia page I got it from and find out more about it.)