Wednesday, June 18, 2008


NASA advises you to go take a look at the moon tonight. It'll look large and lovely as a result of an optical illusion that nobody understands, just like microwaves and non-dairy creamer. There are a few theories on why the moon looks so large when it comes up on the horizon, and there are great explanations of them on that link.

I've experienced that myself... the most glorious moonrise I ever saw actually looked like a massive grassfire in the mesas of New Mexico. It spread thick and red and wavy across the horizon, getting larger and larger as I drove toward it, cursing the fact that I had no cell phone reception and the nearest land line was 14 miles TOWARD the fire. For a while, I honestly wondered if I'd have to ditch the truck in an arroyo and hope the flames passed overhead. Then, suddenly the upper edge of the moon popped out crisp and clear into the cooler layers of air. The atmosphere stopped playing mirage tricks and the orange moon rose splendidly over the mesas and canyons.

It's a terrific memory and one that I hold out any time someone says they don't get what the big deal is about light pollution. Happy memories and good moongazing tonight, internet!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can vouch for the beauty of the "large" moon rising over the Gulf of Mexico. That was an amazing night and still, after 13-14 years, a wonderful memory. I will be watching the skies tonight--in God's country, safely away from light pollution--remembering that night and others, thinking of those who matter most to me.