A tiny sliver of a moon was setting shortly after dusk this evening. I had to move around so I could get it without power lines or street lights and I think this turned out pretty well.
Tagged With: Moon
The moon is just past full and with the clear skies we’ve had lately, the moonrise has been wonderful to see. Here is the waning gibbous moon as it rose this evening.
As you probably learned in school, the moon’s orbit around the earth is not circular but elliptical. On average, the moon is 385,000 kilometers (239,000 miles) from earth but tonight is was at perigee, that is at the closest point in its orbit to the earth, and 357,492 km (222,135 miles) from earth. It’s also near syzygy, which is when the moon, earth, and sun all line up (which is when there is a lunar or solar eclipse). Because it’s not exactly at syzygy, it’s just a bigger than normal full moon. George loaned me his telescope a while back and I got it out this evening to see if I could get anything worth while. I bought a t-ring adapter and this is my first chance to use it.
The new moon was four days ago, on January 16. The synodic period (the amount of time between full moons, or new moons or whatever) is 29 days, 12 hours, and about 44 minutes. The sidereal orbit (the orbit around the earth without regard to the relative position of the sun) is a little more than two days shorter than that, of course. In the time it takes the moon to circle the earth, the earth has moved almost one twelfth of the way around the sun and it takes the moon that extra two-plus days to get back into the same position relative to the sun and the earth. During the first quarter of the cycle, the moon is a growing (waxing) crescent (less than half visible). The second quarter it is waxing gibbous (more than half visible).
A little over five weeks ago I posted a picture of a waxing crescent moon, seen through trees and taken from my mother-in-law’s house. Today’s post is a waxing gibbous moon, although seen through tree branches but this time taken from out front yard. I had been out taking pictures of Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite) and then noticed the moon. So, you’ll have to wait for another flower picture in favor of this one. The moon is nearing full and was quite lovely against the darkening blue of the sky and set off by the branches of a red oak tree (Quercus rubra) in our front yard.
We spent more time at Cathu’s mom’s house today. David and Maggie are on their way home and Dorothy leave tomorrow to go back to Massachusetts but we were able to straighten up a few things and bring the items Dorothy wanted back to our house. It was warm and the house still has no air conditioning but the contractor is scheduled to come on Thursday to put in a new one. Shortly after we got home it started raining and there was a rainbow. I took a few pictures of that, although they didn’t turn out terribly well. Then a little later, as the sun set, there were some pretty clouds. They were losing their color by the time they got near enough to the moon for a picture, but a few made it before the color was entirely gone.
Cathy and I worked most of the day moving things around in our house. One room that has become a catch-all for boxes and miscellaneous bric-a-brac is our guest bedroom. However, Cathy’s cousin and his wife are coming this week so we sort of need to clear it out. It’s high time we did, so that’s fine. We were able to get rid of a few things, mostly things that were not worth even donating, but mostly we just organized and moved things around. The more thorough going through is yet to be done. I did go out briefly to take four boxes of books as a donation for resale and got rid of a half dozen empty boxes that we no longer need. In the afternoon I took some pictures in the yard but none of them are anything to write home about. The moon was pretty, though, so I thought I’d post that for today’s picture.
We had a pretty nice sunset this evening and I took a few pictures (aren’t you surprised?). Most of the best color was behind the trees to the south of our yard, so it was hard to capture. To the east there was some good color and I was able to get some nice pictures in that direction. To the west, most of the clouds were various shades of grey. There were a few low clouds that would light up and then go back to grey. I hoped to time the photo so that I could get both the moon and the lit clouds but they basically alternated. When the moon wasn’t behind the cloud, the color was mostly gone. Then the color would return just as the clouds covered the moon. This one has a little color in the clouds, anyway.