Sol And Luna Face Off In Two Harbors Tonight

The moon, encircled by a small corona of light, shines through departing altocumulus clouds last night (Sept. 14). Photo: Bob King / Duluth News Tribune

Can’t get enough of the moon? The fourth annual Harvest Moon and Sunset Watch will be tonight, Monday, September 15 along the Two Harbors breakwater near the lighthouse. Two Harbors is located some 20 miles north of Duluth.The event is organized by Ellen Anderson (at right), who loves watching the skies and sharing its seasonal charms. Since moonrise is around 7 o’clock, plan to arrive by 6:45 or even earlier. To get there, take a right at the third stoplight on Highway 61 through town and head toward Lake Superior. There should be signs to guide you. Aaron Bransky and Eric Norland, two amateur astronomers from the Arrowhead Astronomical Society, will be on hand with their telescopes to show the sky and answer questions.The forecast is for partly cloudy skies, which should be just fine for moon viewing.

One thing I’ve been up to these past few nights is bird watching. Many small birds like warblers migrate at night, which helps them avoid predators. If you point a telescope at the moon, especially around full phase, you can watch the little black silhouettes of birds flutter across the brightly-lit lunar landscape. Friday night I counted a bird or two a minute. You don’t need much magnification either. I use 40x to 70x. When I drop off to bed, I think of all the birds, busy all night long, flying through that beam of moonlight to points south. Part of me wishes I could sprout wings and travel with them.

Geese head south on a fall afternoon. Photo: Bob King / Duluth News Tribune