Solstice Full Moon
aligns with Galactic Center (June 21, 2005)

by Anthony J. McGettigan


Image generated with Starry Night Software -


Summer Solstice with a Galactic twist

This summer solstice (exact on June 20, at 11:46 PM PDT) is rather unique in that it will be accompanied by a nearly full moon. The full moon will be exact on June 21 (Tuesday) at 9:14 PM PDT. What makes this event rare is that just before it turns full, the moon will be crossing directly in front of the Galactic Center (GC) shortly after 2:00 PM PDT. Although the sun currently comes closest to the GC at the winter solstice, the moon is able to pass directly over the galactic center because its orbit dips several degrees above and below that of the earth. The orbit of the moon wobbles backwards relative to the movement of the moon. The wobble makes a full orbit of the earth once in approximately 19 years.


This event foreshadows another significant summer solstice event when the full moon conjoins Pluto as it changes signs (from Sagittarius to Capricorn) in 2008.



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