Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Blue Moon

It is easy to miss what is going on in the sky, particularly if you are, like us, surrounded by trees. But this full moon, on July one, was hard to miss. In fact, it had been keeping me up at night, presenting itself in the wee hours after our nightly storms had cleared, glowing brilliantly above the southern horizon, a flashlight in my sleeping face. This July happens to have two full moons, the second of which is known as a blue moon.

If it weren't for an evening out at a friend's place in Minneapolis, I'm not sure I would have noticed the peculiar proximity of two planets fairly close to the horizon. As we sat talking about our art and possibilities, I perceived this celestial phenomenon without uttering a word. I may have missed the planets at their closest moment, but the event warranted an evening trip to the road just to our west, one that is up on the ridge and had been cleared for farming years ago.

Venus, the brightest body in the sky other than the moon and sun, is on the left and Jupiter sits to its right.

Not quite a celestial phenomenon, but the reddened light of the afternoon sun clued us in to smoke in the lower atmosphere. Originating in Canadian wildfires, the smoke arced down with the jet, creating hazy sun, sunset-like light earlier in the evening, and the low-hanging moon became an unofficial blood moon.


  1. GREAT photos. Isn't it neat that celestial bodies can still capture our imagination, even when we are adults.

    1. It is. Some of that initial impulse is driven by my memory of what it felt like to see images in print and telescopes as a child.


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