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Once In An Easter Moon On Fraser Island

To download High Res Images visit our Media Image Library. To download High Res Images visit our Media Image Library. © Noleen Lowndes

FRASER ISLAND:  Forget the 'Moon in June'- April's full Moon promises to put on quite a show for guests and visitors at Kingfisher Bay Resort over the weekend in the lead up to the Easter holidays.

The regular rhythms of the Moon – earth's only satellite – have guided tides and timekeepers for thousands of years, but the lunar cycle in April has also been responsible for determining the date of one of world's most widely celebrated religious holidays – Easter.

Armchair astronomers might well ask why Easter is determined by the Moon when dates, such as Christmas, are firmly fixed on the calendar.

According to Kathy Miles and Charles Peters from the first full Moon in April after the spring equinox (a time where there is equal periods of day and night) determines the date that Easter falls on.

They write that thousands of years ago pilgrims celebrated the Easter holy day by journeying to the holy lands. Most travelled on foot at night and were guided by the light of the Moon. The only way to ensure there was enough light to travel by was for the Easter Holy Day to move each year to fall a week after the full Moon. This would ensure the Moon would rise late and stay in the sky all night.

As they wrote – "It was perfect for travelling."

A little closer to home Gold Coast Astronomer, Noeleen Lowndes and 'pilgrims' to Fraser Island will be taking full advantage of Fraser's clear skies and the spring equinox for a spot of lunar viewing over the weekend.

Noeleen, a regular Guest Presenter at Kingfisher Bay, will present a series of interactive talks about the Moon and NASA's past and present Moon missions. Would-be stargazers will also learn how to use telescopes to pick out planets – like Saturn.

The sessions – entitled NASA's Moon Missions – Past and Present – will run from 7.30pm to 9.00pm on Saturday and Sunday and are free to resort guests.  Attendees will also be taken on a tour of the night sky to see the autumn constellations and will also have an opportunity to view the Moon through a large telescope and binoculars.

"The Moon is our closest celestial object in the universe at approximately 386,000kms from earth," Mrs Lowndes said.

"From 1969 to 1972 – through NASA's Apollo missions – twelve human beings visited and walked on its surface, conducted scientific experiments and collecting Moon rocks."

"Since then, there have also been many unmanned missions that have surveyed the Moon's surface in preparation for our return – and they're equally as fascinating."

But this weekend it is not all about the Moon.

"Saturn is now back in our evening skies for prime viewing and, at 1.4 billion kilometers, is the closest distance that it comes to our Earth," she said.

Mrs Lowndes, who began her astronomy career more than 20 years ago, has been heavily involved with raising community awareness about Saturn and the Cassini-Hugens space craft orbiting Saturn's rings and icy moons for the past seven years.

For more information -

More Moon Facts!

  • The Moon makes Earth a more liveable planet by moderating its wobble.
  • Average distance from Earth: 384,400km
  • Minimum surface temperature: -233degrees
  • Circumference: 10,917km
  • The Moon was called 'The Moon' because until Galileo's discovery in 1610, people didn't know other moons existed.
  • Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon in 1969.
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