There was a spectacular scene in the evening sky on Wednesday. At first I mentioned the full moon, which a apogee was to be the smallest of the year, but when it rose, the optical illusion made it appear rather large over Maryland. Ironically there was a partial eclipse but it was hardly noticed. The Penumbral Lunar Eclipse is when the moon passes through the outer edge of Earth’s shadow, and since you didn’t hear much about it, there was good reason. There wasn’t much to see, and it was overshadowed by the company the moon had in the sky.
Beaver Moon: North American weather folklore refers to the first full moon in November with this name since it is when beavers are active building their homes and dams. It is also when hunters set their traps. Some this the Frost Moon, and locally it lived up to that billing.
Social Media proved the significance of this event. I went on Twitter and my Facebook page to share that there would be a great view of the red giant star Aldebaran next to the moon. The response was incredible with hundreds sharing and commenting on their own views. We were lucky to have a clear sky and a view that did not need a telescope. Seeing celestial bodies with the naked eye tends to bring back the primitive nature of humans. For a moment we could get away from our electronics and busy lives to look up and realize how small we really are and how beautiful our surroundings can be.
The fact is, Aldebaran was rather far to the right of the moon, with respect to the evening sky. Not to be confused with the planet Alderaan, the home of Princess Leia in Star Wars. This is a star is 44 times larger than our sun, but 65.1 light years away. If you got to see it away from city light pollution, the red color was pretty vivid.
The more dominant light was Jupiter just to the upper right of the moon, again with respect to the evening sky view. Jupiter was mentioned here as one of the prominent views in the evening sky all month, and it did not disappoint. Considering the bright light of the Moon, still being able to see our solar systems largest planet was impressive.
Even more impressive were some of the pictures that were shared. Please take a moment to see them in the slide show. It is common knowledge that often photos don’t do the real event justice, but these came pretty close. Most impressive was the first image from Scott Hoggard also included 3 of the 4 Galilean moons. See the video clip here for more on the Galilean moons of Jupiter.
Kid Weather: See the mobile app I developed with my 6 year old son. It has real weather that characters dress for, interactively change the weather, and a lot of educational items. kidweatherapp.com
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