2017 Solar Eclipse

The recent solar eclipse was a total bust here in foggy Fort Bragg in Northern California. Exciting as it was it was not exciting enough for me to traipse 300 miles to Oregon to see it. So, I have been paging through my favorite sites looking for pics of the eclipse. There are lots but these three particularly turned me on.

Far away

Far away


Closer – look at the flares

Bingo - what a shot!!!!

Bingo – what a shot!!!!

Mesmerizing. Breathtaking what?

Crescent Supermoon vs Full Mini-moon

The moon fascinates me – it always has. I think my fascination comes from watching the moon when I was a kid in hospital. It’s only recently that I have begun to understand just how it is the same old moon and look so different. This piece from Space Weather is my latest piece of erudition:

The Moon’s orbit is an ellipse, with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. This has an effect on the apparent size of the Moon. The lunar disk grows larger when the Moon is nearby and smaller when far away. In the past two weeks we have witnessed two extremes–a crescent supermoon followed by a full ‘mini-Moon.’ Peter Lowenstein of Mutare, Zimbabwe, photographed them both:

Supermoon and Mini-moon

Supermoon and Mini-moon

The size difference was so great, the crescent Moon of May 27th could hold the full Moon of June 9th with room to spare!” says Lowenstein. “I took these photographs from the same location in Mutare using the same optical zoom setting (x60) on the same Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ-60 camera within two hours of moonset.”

Some people say that mini-Moons and supermoons all appear to be the same size.  After all, there are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters, and without reference points to provide a sense of scale, one Moon can indeed look much like any other. However, Lowenstein’s photo shows there is a real difference.”

Strawberry Moon Tonight

This is from Space Weather:

According to folklore, tonight’s full Moon is the Strawberry Moon, named after plants that bear their delicious red fruit during the month of June. But if this is really the Strawberry Moon, why does it look so …orange? John Stetson photographed the carrot coloured orb setting over Sebago Lake, Maine, on June 8th.”

Strawbwrry Moon

Strawberry Moon

The orange color is imprinted by the atmosphere. When the Moon is hanging low, airborne dust and other particles scatter blue from moonlight, leaving only red and orange hues.

Something else happens when the Moon is hanging low: The Moon Illusion magnifies its apparent size. It looks huge.Look for the Strawberry Moon rising in the east at sunset.  It’s a huge delight.”

By the light of the silvery moon

Did you see the new moon last night. I just stood and gazed it was so beautiful.

This I got this from Space Weather:

If you thought last night’s crescent Moon was super-beautiful, you were right. It was a crescent supermoon. Peter Lowenstein photographed the slender arc from Mutare, Zimbabwe:

The moon - Just a tiny crescent

Just a tiny crescent

The evening sky was perfectly clear and allowed a good view of the very young crescent supermoon,” says Lowenstein. “At first the thin crescent was difficult to locate above the sunset glare (first picture) but as the orange light faded and the sky turned turned lilac and then blue it became clearly visible to the north of Christmas Pass.:

The supermoon

The supermoon

What made the crescent “super”?  “Supermoons” are full Moons that are extra big and bright because they occur on the perigee side of the Moon’s elliptical orbit. Last night’s sky show was the same phenomenon, writ slender. The crescent Moon of April 27th occurred at perigee, making it as much as 14% wider and 30% brighter than other crescent Moons of the year.”

Now, if you are like me and don’t know your perigee from your apogee I offer the following diagram.

Perigee and apogee diagram

Perigee and apogee diagram

Got it?  “A”, apogee, away. I got it!

And if you want to sing by the light of ……..


March is the Month of the Worm Moon

The Worm Moon

The Worm Moon

I was in a bookstore in Eureka yesterday and was confounded by a conversation between two youngish young ladies talking about the Full Worm Moon. I know that the moon is made of cheese but does it also have worms?

It turned out that these two ladies were avid gardeners trying to use the knowledge of the Yurok Indians. From what they told me and what I have turned up it seems the March Moon is aptly named.

The Full Worm Moon – March.  As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

I’m off to hunt earthworms tomorrow!

Supermoon on November 14th – Better not miss it …….

‘cos the next one is not until 2034.

On Nov. 14, skywatchers will be treated to a supermoon so big and bright that it’s being billed as a “super-dupermoon.”

Supermoon of May 2012

Supermoon of May 2012

Supermoons aren’t especially uncommon, but this will be the nearest that a full moon has come to Earth since January 26, 1948. The full moon won’t get this close again until November 25, 2034!!! As I am 73 I am not risking missing it.

Here’s a couple of pics so’s you can get the picture:

Moon comparison

Moon comparison

Lunar orbit

Lunar orbit


Real deal comparison

And here’s a vid from NASA to make you an expert on supermoons.

This supermoon is one of three to occur during the last three months of 2016. There was a supermoon on Oct. 16, and there will be another on Dec. 14. But this one coming up will be the most special of the lot ― so try not to miss it.


Spooky Eclipse of the Harvest Moon

I got this from Space Weather:

“According to folklore, this Friday’s full Moon is the Harvest Moon.  For many observers, the usual luster of the silver orb will be dimmed by a spooky shadow as the Moon experiences a “penumbral lunar eclipse.” Larry Koehn of ShadowandSubstance.com has created an excellent animation of the event.

A penumbral eclipse happens when the Moon passes through the pale outskirts of Earth’s shadow. It is much less dramatic than a “blood moon” total lunar eclipse. In fact, when observers are not alerted beforehand, they often do not realize an eclipse is underway. Nevertheless, the subtle shadow of Earth is visible to the naked eye if you know it’s there.

The eclipse will not be visible in the Americas. Observers there can enjoy the Harvest moonlight, undimmed.”

And here’s me having never met the word, “penumbral”

Moon transitting the Earth

Spaceweather is one of the sites I follow. Using modern technology/satellites et al to keep watch of the sun fascinates me. This post appeared a couple of days ago and freaked me out. I was 16 when the first pictures of the dark side of the moon were published. I am 72 and now I can watch the moon transiting the earth from a million miles away. Farout literally and figuratively. Here’s the whole piece:

“NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), on a mission to monitor the solar wind a million miles from Earth, has taken a unique picture of the Earth-Moon system. It shows the farside of the Moon crossing the iconic “blue marble” on July 16th. DSCOVR is a partnership between NOAA, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force. The July 16th images were captured by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope onboard the distant observatory.

Because the Moon is tidally locked to Earth, only one side is visible from our planet. The unseen far side of the Moon was shrouded in mystery until 1959 when the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft swung around the Moon and photographed it for the first time. DSCOVR will repeat the trick about twice a year as the observatory periodically crosses the orbital plane of the Moon.

Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, NASA will post daily color images of Earth to a dedicated public website. These images, showing different views of the planet as it rotates through the day, will be available 12 to 36 hours after they are acquired.”

And here’s the incredible vid. Make sure you watch using full screen.