Little Boy Blue

Greetings Earthlings! In keeping with the “Month of Variety” figured it was time to go with something out of this world. One of the many great things about living out in the country is you get to experience all that the night has to offer. If the howling coyotes don’t intrigue you or the bats don’t take your breath away (literally spooked one out from under our deck tonight) and the billions of visible stars don’t captivate you .. there’s always the majesty that is …

… the full Moon. In particular I’ve always referred to this as a Harvest Moon. Not sure where I learned that, but guessing once again it has its roots in my early education years since the fact it was orange is what I associate with the Harvest Moon. According to Wikipedia, that may not be a requirement. What makes it the Harvest Moon is the closest full moon to the Autumnal Equinox.  Now whether that means it is always orange is left unclear. Another interesting note was that the Harvest Moons are unique in that the time difference between when the moon rises on successive evenings is significantly shorter than average. Typically the moon rises 50-47 minutes later each day. The Harvest Moon successive nights is only in the 30 minute range.

Personally, I generally liked the half moon form better than the full. Just gives a more eerie feel and the texture on the surface at the midpoint gives a cool jaggedness too it. And as Pink Floyd so eloquently stated, don’t let the band you’re in start playing a different tune or you just might be there.

I can imagine the anguish that previous statement probably caused. “The dark side of the moon isn’t referring to the “missing” part you idiot, it is meant to refer to the OTHER side of the moon”. You know, the one that was introduced to us thanks to Apollo 8 in 1968 – since that point it is no longer a mystery, we KNOW what the back side of the moon looks like and it is bright pink with millions of multi-color spots all over it – pretty much looks like a giant cupcake with sprinkles.

Question time – what direction does the Moon orbit the Earth? If you said same direction as the Earth.. you get a big gold star! Now what appears to be the harder question since there are a lot of people out there that don’t know the correct answer (and yet they are still allowed to vote). Does the Earth orbit about around the Sun or does the Sun orbit around the Earth?

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our little buddy in the sky

Probably a good time to point out these shots were taken with my F2.8 200-400. Can’t remember if the 1.4 tele was on that and don’t have my Raw drive open at the moment so can’t confirm either way.  Thinking it was not but I’ll update this when I find out.  Regardless, I thought they came out quite nice.

I was trying out different angles and treatments on the shots in the digital darkroom.  Some I kept cooler, some a little brighter and others I warmed up like the half moon above and the shot below.  The Harvest Moon shot was actually already tinted orange so that was not color manipulated.. well, not much hehehe.  I wanted to have a variety of options in case I needed a particular style in the future.  You know, just in case there might be a need to spruce up another shot (future post foreshadowing).  Or if I wanted to pull a Peter Lik and throw a tree in the foreground.. just saying.  Decided I might like some glow so worked up some shots with a little longer exposure.

Then found one that was opened up even longer giving a pretty wide glow – probably use this one for  spooky Halloween effect in cloudy/foggy setting.

To be honest, these pictures bring me back to my high school physics days.  One of our labs was to measure the height of a mountain on the moon.  Believe that was Mons Pico – 2km if you are curious.  One of the few high school classes that more than prepared me for college.  Credit goes to Father Pisors .  Definitely one of my favorite teachers and was quite saddened when I learned of his passing (link here).  I’ve often been critical of my early education years, but I only have high praises for this teacher – truly cared about his student, forced us to expand our mental muscle and was an absolute stickler when it came to the quality of your work.  If he noticed you made the same mistake in your lab book in a future lab, you got dinged big time – there is no room in life for sloppiness young man.

Oh, and for those still chewing on their pencils – the Earth orbits around the Sun.  Apparently news to 25% of people surveyed (link here)

5 thoughts on “Little Boy Blue”

  1. Well, this was a surprise! Did you use the Beast to get super close shots, or simply look up and take the pictures?

    In case anyone is searching someday on Google, I’d like to say here that Father Pisors was a fantastic teacher of mine at Griffin High School in Springfield, Illinois, really a remarkable man and the one responsible for my Physics degrees after that. I remember watching him prove something in Calculus class and inadvertently saying “Cool!” when he was done, which startled him and the rest of the class so it was a little embarrassing. I might add that the English teachers I had were real fans of him as well, since they said he would consistently fight for the Humanities courses and the need for qualified teachers, not gym teachers, to teach them.

    The moon is very interesting. The moon’s libration, it’s wobbliness, is significant and with proper astronomical knowledge can be used to create stereo pairs of the moon. A libration video that shows the surprising extent of the wobble is on . The stereo pairs at the top of that page are for cross-eyed viewing, but there are others online (and the old stereo card at the bottom of that page) that are for parallel viewing, which I much prefer.

    Also, it’s surprising that the moon’s orbit around the sun does not have loops, but is convex everywhere because the speed of the Earth and moon around the sun is about 30 times faster than the speed of the moon around the Earth, so the moon never goes backward relative to the sun as it goes around the Earth, and in fact has a nearly circular orbit around the sun. See where I’ve left off the www prefix because two or more links in a comment require moderator approval to be posted (we’ll see if this trick works!).

    We are lucky to have the Moon, and only one moon, and a large one at that, including the fact that it subtends almost exactly the Sun’s angular diameter from Earth so we can have cool solar eclipses.

    Thanks for the cool Moon photos!



  2. I figured you had fond memories of Father Pisors as well… it probably goes without saying that having your brothers proceed you in that very same Physics class is an additional hardship resulting from ridiculous high bars of expectations. “You know, your brother would never have missed that easy physics problem.” hehehe

    Interesting, I had no idea it wobbled any, not to mention THAT much. Nice animation on that website – it’s as if the craters were deeper on one quadrant forcing the orbit vibration. Either that or we knocked it out of whack when we landed on it!. Odd that it makes such good stereo pairs as a result. So Mr. Astronomy… are there any other moons that behave in this similar behavior? I’ve heard that this behavior is beneficial to us – how not sure – or if that is even true. What I do know is true is a full moon makes me hungrier, my teeth grow a little longer and for some reason my body hair grows out – guessing this is just normal with everyone so never talk about it much.

    Hey, your trick with the links worked – looks like it didn’t need to be moderated!


  3. Hey don’t dis the great Peter Lik! He made millions on Bella Luna! I am sure it is not shopped as he never, ever shops ;). Mr. One and Done


  4. Now that comment is just dripping with sarcasm – and the fact you know the name of his picture is disturbing. Oh, and you and I BOTH know the truth about that shot thanks to our insider information … and I like to refer to him as Mr. Idontshop .. and then chuckle to myself


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