Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Luna in Her Glory ...

As I was on the National Geographic site tracking down something else, I came across this article from 2002; it concerns research conducted on eruption cycles at Stromboli, on Italy's Aeolian Islands, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet.

The researchers wondered whether there was a relationship between the volcano's eruption patterns and lunar cycles; sure enough, there was. The researchers
predicted that during the volcano's ongoing eruptions, there would be peaks in volcanic activity at perigee and at full moon. In this case, events bore out that hypothesis and in fact the greatest spike in volcanic activity occurred at a point in time just between full moon and perigee [the point when its orbit is nearest the Earth].
Worth reading.

It's always been of interest to me (at least since I began contructing and interpreting astrological charts) that the cycle of lunar phases, new to full and back, the month, seems to function independently of the actual proximity of Moon to Earth. Actual physical distance, you'd think, would be decisive in terms of gravitational effects; the cycle of phases, after all, is, to all earthly appearances, largely a matter of reflected light. That cycle, though, is just as significant; it determines, for example, the height of ocean tides.

Of course, as is often the case with apparent anomalies, there's actually another fact involved: the Sun, in this case. The cycle of lunation is created by the relationship of Moon to Earth to Sun, the source of the Moon's light; that's the physical explanation of the cycle's earthly effects.

Still, it's a dynamic that's worthy of, if you will, reflection - another facet of the Mystery.

And what is gravity, again?

The image is Galileo Galilei's "The Phases of the Moon"
preserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale - Florence, Italy

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