Sunday, March 20, 2011

Song for the "Supermoon"

In honor of tonight's Supermoon, I give you the unequalled Lucia Popp, singing the "Song to the Moon" from Dvorak's Rusalka.

Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku (Song of the Moon), Rusalka's aria from Rusalka

Mesiku na nebi hlubokem                    O moon high up in the deep, deep sky,
Svetlo tvé daleko vidi,                         Your l ight sees far away regions,
Po svete bloudis sirokém,                    You travel round the wide,
Divas se v pribytky lidi.                       Wide world peering into human dwellings

Mesicku, postuj chvili                          O, moon, stand still for a moment,
reckni mi, kde je muj mily                   Tell me, ah, tell me where is my lover!
Rekni mu, stribmy mesicku,                Tell him. please, silvery moon in the sky,
me ze jej objima rame,                         That I am hugging him firmly,
aby si alespon chvilicku                       That he should for at least a while
vzpomenul ve sneni na mne.                Remember his dreams!
Zasvet mu do daleka,                           Light up his far away place,
rekni mu, rekni m kdo tu nan ceka!     Tell him, ah, tell him who is here waiting!
O mneli duse lidska sni,                       If he is dreaming about me,
at'se tou vzpominkou vzbudi!              May this remembrance waken him!
Mesicku, nezhasni, nezhasni!              O, moon, don't disappear, disappear!

Translation by Jules Brunelle (

Supermoon Tonight: Biggest Full Moon in 18 Years

It may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but tonight the moon will make its closest approach to Earth in 18 years—making the so-called supermoon the biggest full moon in years.

And despite Internet rumors, the impending phenomenon had no influence on the March 11 Japan earthquake and tsunami (see pictures).

The monthly full moon always looks like a big disk, but because its orbit is egg-shaped, there are times when the moon is at perigee—its shortest distance from Earth in the roughly monthlong lunar cycle—or at apogee, its farthest distance from Earth.

Likewise, because the size of the moon's orbit varies slightly, each perigee is not always the same distance away from Earth. Tonight's supermoon will be just 221,566 miles (356,577 kilometers) away from Earth. The last time the full moon approached so close to Earth was in 1993, according to NASA.

The March 19 supermoon, as it's called, will be visible "pretty much any time during the night," said Geza Gyuk, astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

"Look for the full moon as it rises above the eastern horizon as the sun sets below the western horizon—it will be a beautiful and inspiring sight," he said via email.

(See "Year's Biggest Full Moon, Mars Create Sky Show." [2010].)

Though the supermoon will be about 20 percent brighter and 15 percent bigger than a regular full moon, the visual effect may be subtle, added Anthony Cook, astronomical observer for the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

"I doubt that most people will notice anything unusual about this full moon," Cook said.

"Because the total amount of light is a little greater, the biggest effect will be on the illumination of the ground—but not enough to be very noticeable to the casual observer."

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