Friday, December 12, 2008

2008 Lunar Perigee over Brackettville

Images enlarge with a click. And some are even worth the trouble.

Thanks yet again to Blackholes and Astrostuff because while I'd have probably popped out tonight to peek at the full moon and have been delighted by my moon shadow, I'd not have known what a special moon it was without Bob's blog. Well, Bob first, and then several emails from friends who know I'm interested in things like the moon coming as close to the Earth as it will be for another 8 years. Read all about it at EarthSky.Org.

In brief:
Extra close moons happen when the full moon coincides with the moon’s closest point to Earth for the month, an event called ‘perigee’ by astronomers.

But when a full moon coincides with perigee, the sun, Earth and moon make a line in space. The moon’s orbit stretches closer to Earth. So the coincidence of perigee and full moon brings the moon closer to Earth than at any other phase. By the way, the sun’s varying distance also influences the moon’s distance. Because we’re closest to the sun around New Year’s Day, the closest full moon perigees always occur at the beginning or the end of the year.

Joining me for the moonrise at St. Mary Magdalene's cemetery tonight was the doe in the photo and montage below. Notice how all the photos of her are saturated with yellow/gold. I didn't have time to adjust my camera for her. She was bathed in the light from the setting sun. I'm not sure I could have corrected much for that fabulous horizontal light. Actually, there were quite a few deer about. They huffed at me until well after dark. Some cows were trying to get home too and it took them awhile to gather up the courage to race by me which is funny considering how far from me they were.

I did turn the camera around briefly to shoot what was going on behind me and tried to catch Jupiter and Venus--you can just barely see Venus.

And, here it is, the full moon rising at perigee--well, a couple of hours after its absolute closest point to earth--but still! Don DiLego's "Ghost" seemed appropriate for shots taken at a cemetery. I know some of them are quite blurry, sorry, the light is changing so rapidly at that time of day that it's hard to adjust the exposure quickly enough to keep up with the shifting light. The sunlight is dimming fast and the moonlight is increasing even faster. Tricky shooting for a camera dummy like myself.

But wait, there's more! Bob mentioned sun dogs and moon halos in His Last Blog Entry and I realized, hey, I could probably get that with my camera. Perhaps not well but that's not the point. Wouldn't you know that right after I finished this blog entry and finally finished putting my perigee pix all over the net (yes, my elbows ache like crazy and the outsides of my hands are going numb) that I popped back outside to see the moon one last time and, WOW, there was the most enormous halo around the moon. Woot! It took up such a huge portion of the sky that my camera couldn't even get it into frame. You wouldn't know it by these photos, but I swear it was pretty.

The photo below was shot with a higher exposure--I put it here to try and show you the rainbow colors of the halo.


Bob Johnson said...

Wow and wower, way to go Genie!! You are great, all the imaging you have been doing lately, one can only imagine what you could do with the right equipment!! You have outgrown what you have, having said that you have done the best your equipment will let you, which even then is far and away better then most others I have seen. I did miss the Moon at perigee but I am still excited that you got it.

Isn't the Lunar halo an amazing thing to view and image? They usually go unnoticed because they are so huge, don't last that long and people can't get the halo into view unless they are actually looking for it, when I point them out to people on the street they say wow.

Well done again, love your videos, and you even managed to get a doe, and Venus and Jupiter, I will take a couple of your pics and post them on my next post if that is alright with you, again great job!!

Jean Levert Hood said...

Genie, this is such a wonderful post! Amazing all around. I hope you got a good night's sleep last night!

Those deer shots are nice at the cemetery. Ohhh, to catch one leaping over the fence! That is the most amazing site! Total grace, and what seems to be a defiance of gravity rolling into one!

Genie said...

Shucks, Bob, you've got carte blanche with anything of mine that you find you can or want to use. You're my eye in the sky! I'm far too lazy a sky watcher, much easier to wheez off your knowledge and do what I can with it. Besides, it's a HUGE compliment to see something of mine on your blog.

I've always been aware of lunar halos because the old wive's tale here is that it means rain. It doesn't, of course, but us Texans look for it anyway--with hope. I'll be watching it with a whole new eye now though. A solar halo though, wow, what would I do without Bob the Astrodude to give me knew Sky goals?

Jean--not being blessed with your backyard deer feeder I may start going to the cemetery more just to catch the deer and other wildlife. Be more fun with that tele-converter though! THANKS for the compliments! Hmm, sleep, well--you know how that goes.

Patsi said...

These photos are amazing with the moon and your landscape. I have a few pics myself not as nice as the framing with your landscape. Cool clips !

Michelle said...

gorgeous shots, Genie.

I once saw a rainbow ring round the sun. It was a strange hazy day in mid Africa. I must have been about 8 and we were out on the sport's field when some kid yelled "look!"

It was the strangest and loveliest thing

Roger said...

Wow! that is a awesome post! So much to look at enjoy! Your a wonderful photographer!! :D

Kim and Victoria said...

Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, and Happy New Year Genie!
I always enjoy the photos you shoot!

Genie said...

Thanks you guys!

Patsi, you shot the moon? I wanna see!

Michelle, I'm amazed! I thought sun dogs were more likely in colder climates, obviously I was incorrect. I've been watching for them now that I've been made aware of them--no luck yet.

Thank you, Victoria! Happy Yule right back at you and I hope the New Year brings you many happy things. And that you blog them!
Thank you so much, Roger! I thought I'd added you to my blog list but I see that I haven't. I wanted to keep up with your fantastic photography. I'll add it now.