Earthshine

Earthshine

About ten years ago we were driving along on a clear, cold December late afternoon.  The moon was just a thin crescent in the darkening sky and one of our kids said, “Hey, look!  You can see the rest of the moon!”  My wife agreed, but of course I was too smart for this and said that it was only an optical illusion, that of course you couldn’t see the whole moon when it wasn’t a full moon.  End of story, right?

Wrong.

It wasn’t until last year that I began to suspect that maybe there was something more to this phenomenon.  What got me thinking about it was the lyrics from the Rush tune “Earthshine.” Though it first appeared on their “Vapor Trails” album, I hadn’t heard it until I got the R30 anniversary tour CD and DVD (also posted about here).  Looking it up via Google and Wikipedia I found that yes, indeed, there is such a thing as Earthshine, and I was wrong.

Early this morning, another cold December day, and I’m taking out the trash and recycling.  There in the clear dawn sky is a bright, thin waning crescent.  And a faint glow of the rest of the moon.  Earthshine.

On certain nights
When the angles are right
And the moon is a slender crescent

Its circle shows
In a ghostly glow
Of earthly luminescence

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Earthshine

  1. Nice. I didn’t have my camera, but I would like to have gotten my own shot to share. The one I used for the post is a decent approximation of what I saw, though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s