I think I'm finally getting the hang of this Skywatch Friday thing. I'm not really one for joining in many of the games bloggers play, but I love the idea of this one; last week over 300 people posted pictures of the sky on their blogs, and some were quite lovely. One does get an idea of what skies are like all over the world once a week--and it's rather reassuring, for reasons I don't quite understand.
When I first found out about this through Arija's blog (from South Australia), Garden Delights, I posted clumsily, and thought I'd put an image and icon on the sidebar every week--over there by the astronomy and geology stuff. But the pictures there are tiny and can't be enlarged unless you link them to a larger image online, so I decided to go ahead and make this a once-a-week ritual, trying to be sure the photos (I take a lot of sky pictures) are reasonably topical, but when they're not, I'll post my favorites.
This week's is part of an ongoing project, and it's something of a miracle (in my sense of the word: a happy chance and confluence of possibilities). Since October of last year I've been trying to photograph each named full moon for a year. I was pretty sure it was going to end on Tuesday night, because skies in Dallas were completely clouded over and it had rained while I was teaching. I called Beloved Spouse from school and asked him if he could see the moon (we live about 30 miles north of Dallas). He said it was iffy, that the moon was peeking in and out of the clouds, but he would try. When I arrived home at around 10 pm, it was to some disappointment, because he hadn't been able to get the shot.
Just before I went to bed, however, I decided to take one last look. The clouds were moving pretty quickly, and some clear spots were on their way. I could tell where the moon was, so I grabbed the camera and stood out in the cold, waiting. As the moon appeared, I took a series of quick snaps (no tripod to keep things steady), and got a couple of decent ones--although this one seems best at the moment. A couple of the others have possibilities, but will need a little doctoring in PhotoShop, and I don't have time now--but this is the real deal, anyway. Unedited, pure, and spontaneous.
So happy Skywatch Friday, folks. There's a linked icon over on the side bar, and a copy of my previous week's offering. The Full Worm Moon*, by the way, is so-named, according to Spaceweather, because "It signals the coming of northern spring, a thawing of the soil, and the first stirrings of earthworms in long-dormant gardens. Step outside tonight and behold the wakening landscape. 'Worm moonlight' is prettier than it sounds." And indeed it is. Taking the photo gave me an opportunity to enjoy the drama associated with clouds and light in the night sky.
Just for the pure wonderfulness of it, here's a NASA photo of Discovery, waiting on the launchpad in the light of this same moon. The launch has been delayed until Sunday, but the picture was too good to resist.
*Some almanacs say the Worm moon comes in February, but Spaceweather's my bible in this regard, so I go by what they say.