Tag Archives: moon

The Moon: changing its appearance nightly depending on numerous factors but nonetheless entirely predictable. To wit:

As the Moon orbits the Earth, the half illuminated by the Sun first becomes increasingly visible, then decreasingly visible. The featured video animates images taken by NASA’s Moon-orbiting Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to show all 12 lunations that appear this year, 2021. A single lunation describes one full cycle of our Moon, including all of its phases. A full lunation takes about 29.5 days, just under a month (moon-th). As each lunation progresses, sunlight reflects from the Moon at different angles, and so illuminates different features differently. During all of this, of course, the Moon always keeps the same face toward the Earth. What is less apparent night-to-night is that the Moon‘s apparent size changes slightly, and that a slight wobble called a libration occurs as the Moon progresses along its elliptical orbit.

(Video: Data: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter ; Animation: NASA‘s Scientific Visualization Studio; Music: Brandenburg Concerto No4-1 BWV1049 (Johann Sebastian Bach), by Kevin MacLeod via Incompetech)

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Behold: the spectacular result of a single exposure and a lot of careful planning. To wit:

The photographic goal was achieved by precise timing — needed for a nearly full moon to appear through the eye-shaped arch, by precise locating — needed for the angular size of the Moon to fit iconically inside the rock arch, and by good luck — needed for a clear sky and for the entire scheme to work. The seemingly coincidental juxtaposition was actually engineered with the help of three smartphone apps. The pictured sandstone arch, carved by erosion, is millions of years old and just one of thousands of natural rock arches that have been found in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, USA. Contrastingly, the pictured Moon can be found up in the sky from just about anywhere on Earth, about half the time.

(Image: Zachery Cooley)

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But have you ever heard the wolf cry to a blue one?

Never mind.

Moonrise can be a stunning sight. But there’s nothing quite like a rising Corn Moon. To wit:

A rising Full Corn Moon was captured early this month in time-lapse with a telephoto lens from nearly 30 kilometres away — making Earth’s ascending half-degree companion appear unusually impressive. The image was captured from Portugal, although much of the foreground — including lights from the village of Puebla de Guzmán — is in Spain. A Full Corn Moon is the name attributed to a full moon at this time of year by cultures of some northern indigenous peoples of the Americas, as it coincides with the ripening of corn. Note that the Moon does not appear larger when it is nearer the horizon — its seemingly larger size there is only an illusion. The next full moon — occurring at the beginning of next month — will be known as the Full Harvest Moon as it occurs nearest in time to the northern autumnal equinox and the northern field harvests.

(Image: Zarcos Palma)

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Mars reappears from behind the Moon last Sunday. To wit:

Of course to reappear it had to disappear in the first place. It did that over an hour earlier when the sunlit southern edge of the waning gibbous Moon passed in front of the Red Planet as seen from Maceio, Brazil. The lunar occultation came as the Moon was near apogee, about 400,000 kilometers away. Mars was almost 180 times more distant. It was the fourth lunar occultation of Mars visible from planet Earth in 2020. Visible from some southern latitudes, the fifth lunar occultation of Mars in 2020 will take place on October 3 when the Moon and Mars are both nearly opposite the Sun in planet Earth’s sky.

Remember last month when Saturn did this? 

(Image: David Duarte and Romualdo Caldas)

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This is what a crescent moon actually looks like. But we never see it this way because our eyes can’t simulataneously discern between such light and dark regions. To wit:

Called earthshine or the ‘da Vinci glow’, the unlit part of a crescent Moon is visible but usually hard to see because it is much dimmer than the sunlit arc. In our digital age, however, the differences in brightness can be artificially reduced. The featured image is actually a digital composite of 15 short exposures of the bright crescent, and 14 longer exposures of the dim remainder. The origin of the da Vinci glow, as explained by Leonardo da Vinci about 510 years ago, is sunlight reflected first by the Earth to the Moon, and then back from the Moon to the Earth.

Now for yeh.

(Image: Miguel Claro (TWAN, Dark Sky Alqueva))

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Despite its impressive name and the fact that it’s the largest moon of the second largest planet in the solar system, Titan is very hard to see. To wit:

Small particles suspended in the upper atmosphere cause an almost impenetrable haze, strongly scattering light at visible wavelengths and hiding Titan’s surface features from prying eyes. But Titan’s surface is better imaged at infrared wavelengths where scattering is weaker and atmospheric absorption is reduced. Arrayed around this visible light image (center) of Titan are some of the clearest global infrared views of the tantalizing moon so far. In false colour, the six panels present a consistent processing of 13 years of infrared image data from the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on board the Cassini spacecraft. They offer a stunning comparison with Cassini’s visible light view.

(Image: VIMS Team, U. Arizona, U. Nantes, ESA, NASA)

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Ah, there you are. To wit:

…the Moon occasionally moves in front of all of the Solar System‘s planets. Just this past Sunday, as visible from some locations in South America, a waning gibbous Moon eclipsed Mars. The featured image from Córdoba, Argentina captured this occultation well, showing a familiar cratered Moon in the foreground with the bright planet Mars unusually adjacent. Within a few seconds, Mars then disappeared behind the Moon, only to reappear a few minutes later across the Moon. Today the Moon moves close to, but not in front of, Venus. Because alignments will not have changed by much, the next two times the Moon passes through this part of the sky – in early September and early October – it will also occult Mars, as seen from parts of South America.

(Image: Sergio Scauso)

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