Night Sky

I’ve always been intrigued by the night sky and have fond memories of sleeping outside under heaven’s canopy watching for falling stars.

In college I took an Astronomy course and the best part was our visit to the rooftop to look at the Universe through a giant telescope. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Saturn – we didn’t use the word back then but I can definitely say today it was AWESOME! A brilliant, creamy orb hanging on nothing, surrounded by magnificent rings. The clarity was what struck me the most – I guess I was expecting something like the grainy pictures I had seen in books back then.

Too bad I can’t show you pictures of that. Instead you’ll have to settle for pictures of the moon.

The first set were taken last Halloween. After putting candy out for trick or treaters – they didn’t come and we’re still eating candy – I went outside to capture the Super Moon as it rose above the trees, freeing itself from their grip.

Since this was also called a Blue Moon, I took the liberty to make it appear so.

The second set of pictures is from a lunar eclipse the year before where you can see the earth’s shadow creep over the moon’s face. Lunar eclipses are not that rare and can usually be observed once or twice a year in the Northwest, weather permitting.

A solar eclipse on the other hand is rare – when the moon passes in front of the sun, temporarily turning day into night. We got to see one in Seattle on August 21, 2017, the first visible total eclipse since 1979.

We drove to Alki Beach and watched the show with others gathered there. They shared their solar glasses with us and I cast a few looks directly at the sun as the moon inched across its face. Even with the glasses on I was nervous about it and didn’t look long.

We were not in the path of totality but were close enough to enjoy the event. As the light dimmed, a mysterious darkness fell and the temperature dropped.

I took a few pictures around 10:20 a.m., the time when the sun was 92% covered by the moon, the maximum we would have in our location.

It was a real treat and I hope to see another in my lifetime.

Inspired by Sunday Stills, photo challenge, Night.

~ Susanne

23 Comments on “Night Sky

  1. Beautiful thoughts and pictures. I wanted to take astronomy in college, but I was working a night job and just couldn’t swing it. We also have fond memories of the solar eclipse.

  2. You do so well with Moon photos, Susanne. Although I have the same camera, I never seem to be able to get it so clear. That may be becuse you live so far west of course.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. I don’t know if location is a factor or not. I just know that everytime I try to get moon shots I have to figure out the best settings all over again. Then I take lots and lots of pictures and am surprised when I get a few good ones. Still, I persevere. 😉

  3. My favorite stargazing was at Seabeck each August as the meteor showers were at their peak. Clear summer skies, nice sloping lawn to lie on, pleasant companions. Bliss.

  4. I’m a cosmic geek too, Susanne, but my math skills (or lack of) prevented me from taking astronomy. I love this post and your amazing images of the moon and the eclipsed moon! How truly amazing to see it in person and how it turned day into night! I grew up visiting Tuolumne Meadows in the high country of Yosemite and going on the Ranger-led star walks. They would identify the constellations, tell stories and spark our imaginations with tales of the cosmos. Stunning collection!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂 I definitely got the most benefit from the Astronomy class from our trips to the roof to gaze at the heavens. I wasn’t that interested in the technicalities though I vaguely remember things like ‘red shift’ and ‘Betelgeuse under the armpit’ – how you remembered where the star was located in the constellation Orion! I love the idea of the tour of the night sky at Yosemite. We once had a tour from 9,000 feet up on the Big Island, and though there were lots of stars I mostly remember being cold! 🙂

  5. I love your moon photos! I took an astronomy class at Monterey Peninsula College when I was in my early 20s. I’ve always said the same thing as you did about seeing Saturn through the telescope. It looked so much more “real” than in the textbooks! That is the main thing I remember about the whole class.

  6. That solar eclipse was pretty impressive, wasn’t it? I remember we watched it from our front yard, it was pretty much near totality here. Great shots of the moon, too. I love the blue one you made!

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