Tomorrow’s supermoon will be the brightest full moon of 2020

A :”super” full Moon risining near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

On April 7 a special moon is coming to you. It’s being called a  super pink moon and it promises to be the brightest supermoon of 2020. 

Quick Note: Since different parts of the world are in different time zones, people living in different countries will see it at different times. The best times are moonrise on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 and moonset the following morning on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

We’re currently in the midst of a series of supermoons, with the first having occurred on March 9 and the last occurring on May 7. That makes April’s full moon the second supermoon in this series, but one that promises to be the best!

What is a super moon?

The moon’s orbit around Earth is not a perfect circle but an ellipse that’s longer than it is wide. As the moon follows this orbit, it’s sometimes closer to the Earth and sometimes farther away. A supermoon comes with a full moon. It happens and when the moon is at a point in the orbit which it is nearest to the earth. This point is called Perigee. FYI the furthest point in its path around the earth is called Apogee.

During a supermoon, the moon will look slightly larger and brighter than an average full moon.

Did you know the real technical name for a super moon is actually perigee-syzygy moon!

Will the Moon really be Pink?

The moon will not be pink. It gets its name from the moss pink wildflowers that bloom in the spring and are native to North America. It will actually be orange starting out and get white later.

How to watch Super Pink Moon online?

You basically want to see it at moonrise because it will be bigger and brighter.

In North America: Tuesday, April 7 at 7:07 p.m. EST if you’re in New York and at 7:11 p.m. PST if you’re in Los Angeles.

In India: Wednesday, April 8 at 8.05 a.m. IST. Since this might not be a perfect time to watch the moon check out this live link.


Bored? Take a virtual tour of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Bored at home? Virtually take a trip to Amsterdam and visit the world-renowned Van Gogh Museum. Google’s Art and Culture Network initiative will allow you to view the artworks up close. Hope you enjoy this! Click here to see the magic!


A virtual concert: Look what the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra put together for you!

Experience this beautiful rendition of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, performed by members of the The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra – each of them is in his/her own home, keeping social distance from the others, but have put this together virtually for us!

 

Credit: https://slippedisc.com/2020/03/believe-it-orchestra-plays-beethoven-9th-from-their-homes/


House of Bones

Smithsonian Magazine

Wooly mammoths, believe to be the ancient ancestors of modern-day elephants, died out almost 4000 years ago, but now, about 500kms from Moscow in Russia, they have made an interesting reappearance.

Don’t worry! A huge wooly creature isn’t about to come rushing down Russia’s streets, but a large circular structure constructed entirely from the bones, particularly the heads and skulls of nearly 60 wooly mammoths was recently discovered. So far, 51 mandibles (jaw bones) and 64 skulls have been counted.

The site, named Kostenki 11, was first discovered in 2014. Archeologists then began excavating the site a year later, in 2015 and the job was finished in 3 years. Their findings have now been published in the archeological journal ‘Antiquity’.

How old is this structure? Kostenki 11 dates back to the last Ice Age, which took place about 25,000 years ago, and while it is not the first such ‘mammoth house’ to be discovered in Eastern Europe or Russia, it is the oldest and the biggest. The site measures about 41 feet in diameter.

Temperatures during Ice Age winters dropped to less than -4°F (that’s really really cold!) and evidence was found inside the mammoth house to show that wood was burned there, perhaps for warmth or to cook food. This evidence also proves that trees were present in the area during the ice age, despite that not being the case in many parts of the region due to the extreme cold. It also proves that even 25000 years ago, wood was an important resource for human beings and was used as fuel.

Using modern research techniques, including something called floating, where water and sieves are used to find small particle evidence, the researchers at Kostenki 11 also discovered the remains of soft plant matter which may also have been used as food.

While the structure does not appear to have been used as a permanent living space, researchers believe that it is possible that Kostenki 11 was a food storage site and may also have been used for ritual practices. Alexander Pryor from the University of Exeter in the UK who is the lead researcher on the site wants to investigate these ideas further to gather more proof.


Written by: Disha Mirchandani. Disha is a former lawyer turned freelance content writer. She is a fitness enthusiast and amateur aerialist with her own fitness photo-blog as well.

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Be the Goddess!

PARVATI – DETERMINATION

Goddess Parvati is known for being the goddess of fertility, devotion and marriage. But she has another ace up her sleeve, determination. She was created to draw Shiva out of his self-imposed exile after the death of his first wife. 

Shiva was meditating in a remote cave, and Parvati did everything in her powers from offering him flowers and food, to calling on the love god Kama to help out. Nothing worked, but she would not give up. She began meditating in austere (severe) conditions, not eating a thing. Finally, Shiva was impressed with her strength and devotion and was won over. 

As the goddess of parenting, she is a fiercely protective mother. When Shiva came back from a long stint of meditating, he did not know that they had a son, Ganesh, who was guarding his mother’s house and refused to let Shiva enter. Furious that a stranger was stopping him from meeting his wife, he cut off Ganesh’s head. Parvati was doubly furious when she found out what had happened and ordered Shiva to do something. Shiva found the head of an elephant as a replacement, and their son lived again. There’s no messing with this mom! 


Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.


Be the Goddess!

The Goddess Shakti is a bundle of energy. Literally, she represents the divine cosmic energy and feminine energy that move through the universe. She can create when she is in Mother Goddess mode, or can change and destroy when she switches to her avatar as the Goddess of Destruction to keep balance in the universe. True girl power!

Shakti is a ‘Mahadevi’ or the Great Goddess and also takes the form of Durga and Kali. 

As the  Mother Creator, she is known as ‘Adi Shakti’ or ‘AdiPara Shakti’ or very ancient energy before all else. She is ‘Anaadi’ and ‘Nitya’, with no beginning or end that will go on forever. If you perform the ‘Shiva Shakti Puja’ you are praying to Shiva (universal consciousness) and Shakti ( divine  energy) and will please these two fundamental forces of the world!  


Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.


Be the Goddess!

LAKSHMI – An abundance of WEALTH OF ALL  SORTS

There are a couple of stories about how Goddess Lakshmi came to be. Here’s one of the more popular ones. 

An old Sage, Durvasa, met Lord Indra, the King of the Gods, in his capital Amravati, and out of respect gave him a garland of flowers. Indra was distracted and casually put the garland on his elephant’s head and the elephant promptly threw it to the ground.

Insulted by this, the Sage told Indra that his ego and arrogance had gotten the better of him. He cursed his kingdom and said that he and the other gods would be ruined. And sure enough, in the days to come, the people of the kingdom lost their strength, their desires were uncontrollable, and they became greedy, distracted and corrupt. Taking advantage of the situation the Demons attacked and defeated the Gods of Amravati. In despair they went to churn the ocean to get Amrut that would make them immortal.  The Goddess Lakshmi, seated on a lotus, rose from this churning, and came to the rescue! She chose the side of the gods, who then got their power and were victorious over the demons. 

People worship Lakshmi for material fortune but also more importantly for spiritual wealth. And if this Goddess of Fortune thinks that you are too big-for-your-boots, she could get angry, which would not be good!  

She is worshipped with the lotus flower, her best one, and sandalwood, nuts, and fruits. She is also plied with sweets made of  jaggery, rice and coconut. 

Her big day is during Diwali, when people perform the Lakshmi pooja to invite her into their house with diyas.


Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.


Lost and Found – Archeologists unearth tomb of Rome’s mythical founder Romulus

There is a popular story is Roman mythology about twin brothers, Romulus and Remus who built the city of Rome. The twins were raised by a she-wolf in the forest along the banks of the river after being abandoned by their family. Romulus is then rumoured to have killed his brother to become the first ruler of the Ancient Roman empire.

In a city full of history and archeology from the Colosseum to the Pantheon, is the discovery of yet another set of historical ruins really matter so much? In this case, definitely yes!

Not long ago, a shrine was discovered under the site of the Roman Forum, the seat of Government in Ancient Rome, and it is believed that the shrine is dedicated to Romulus himself. This is a pretty big deal because throughout history, a lot of historians have questioned the myth of Romulus and Remus, and whether or not a person like Romulus actually existed, so, by discovering what might be the site of his tomb, we may be able to get some real answers.

The tomb, which dates back to the 6th Century BC (around the time when Romulus would have been alive) is accompanied by an altar, and although the tomb itself is empty, archaeologist Patrizia Fortini says that the linking of the tomb to Romulus is based on historical sources.

A 3D laser scan image showing the location of the tomb (in yellow) buried beneath the steps to the Curia Julia, or Senate House, in the Roman Forum. (Image: © Parco Colosseo)
A 3D laser scan image showing the location of the tomb (in yellow) buried beneath the steps to the Curia Julia, or Senate House, in the Roman Forum. (Image: © Parco Colosseo)

There are many stories throughout history about Romulus’ tomb being in the specific part of Rome where this discovery was made and more research will be carried out to learn more about the site and its significance in Roman history.

Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological Parkalso said that the site of the tomb is not Romulus’ actual burial place, but a very symbolic location based on the founding of the city of Rome by Romulus himself.

Further digging and excavation of the site is meant to start towards the end of April, and sources in Rome have said to except many more surprises to come to light.

Let’s wait and see what mysteries are unearthed and what questions remain unanswered as the investigation goes forward!


Written by: Disha Mirchandani. Disha is a former lawyer turned freelance content writer. She is a fitness enthusiast and amateur aerialist with her own fitness photo-blog as well.


Be the Goddess!

Women’s Day is coming up on March 8. This is a day to celebrate women, so we thought it would be fun to celebrate the different aspects and powers of women in Indian mythology. Here’s the first in this series!

SARASWATI – KNOWLEDGE. 

Saraswati is the Goddess of Knowledge. With Knowledge, you can own the world. In some ways she did. In fact, she helped create it. Legend has it that after Lord Brahma created the Universe, he felt that it lacked a few things like order and forms and concepts. He  thought that it would be a good idea to create someone who personified that knowledge. So, pop! Out of his mouth came the Goddess Saraswati. She got to the task straight away. She showed Brahma the ways and means to create order in the Universe and voila! The sun, moon, stars, tides and seasons were born. 

Saraswati is often shown with four arms that might symbolize the four aspects of learning  – alertness, the mind, the intellect and the ego. Or they could symbolize the Vedas, depending on what mythology you read. She is most often dressed in white, though her favourite colour is supposed to be yellow, and people wear yellow clothes on the day of Saraswati Puja. Being a woman, Saraswati can multitask well and is also the Goddess of music and the arts.


Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.


It is International Mother Language Day!

It’s time to celebrate! Today, February 21, is International Mother Language Day. It is a day that is marked by the International authority, UNESCO, to mark and celebrate the many varied languages that humans across he world have developed in order to communicate with each other.

A ‘mother tongue’ is the language spoken in a community. For example, if you are Gujarati, that is your mother tongue, while English may be the language you use most to communicate with others.

Fun fact: There are approximately 6,000 languages spoken in the world! It is estimated that 43% of them are ‘endangered’.

You think you know your languages? Take our quiz and find out! Click here.


Written by: Sunaina Murthy