Setting Moon Sequence

June 16, 2003


Provided by: Wojciech Rychlik
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Wojciech Rychlik

This stunning sequence of the setting gibbous Moon was taken on a breathtakingly clear winter morning in the Colorado Rockies (February 20, 2003). While most everyone has enjoyed seeing the Moon rise, very few us ever see it set. This morning, over 80% of the Moon's disk is visible, but you likely won't be able to find it right away. Not only is it vastly overmatched by the brightness of the Sun, but even nearby clouds look brighter. Although the light of the full Moon is bright enough so that we can read by it, moonlight is still woefully dim compared to sunlight. At noon, a dull, dark color in full sunlight is as much as 4,000 times brighter than a piece of white paper in the light of the full Moon!

Our Moon is by far the most written and sung about celestial body, but with few exceptions, the Moon is rarely alluded to in song or verse as a daylight object. However, the verse below by William Wordsworth, may have been written about the daytime Moon.

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the sky,
How silently, and with how wan a face!
Where art thou? Thou so often seen on high.

{from "With How Sad Steps, O Moon Thos Climb'st The Sky" (1806)}

Photo Technical Data: f 8, exposure 1/20 s; ISO 100 Canon EOS D60; F.L. 760 mm.

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