Tonight’s Full Moon Could Hit Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie

The nearly full moon is another “ball” in play during a soccer game last night in Duluth, Minn. Credit: Bob King

The full August moon, called the Sturgeon or Red Moon, will roll its cyclopean eye around the heavens tonight, beaming from the east around the time of sunset and lighting your path until dawn. Stare it back in the face while you’re out for an evening stroll.

I’ll never forget an evening long ago when my good friend Rick looked up at the moon and started singing “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore” from the classic Dean Martin tune “That’s Amore”: Since he tends to be on the serious side, I had to chuckle when he burst out in song.

And who can deny that the broad white cratered plains look like so much mozzarella sprinkled around the dark, sausage-like forms of the lunar seas?

Large areas of the U.S. are experiencing typical hazy summer skies from dust, humidity and forest fires this August, making the moon look paler than usual especially at moonrise.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis sing “That’s Amore”

If you’re one of the lucky ones to have a deep blue sky tonight, you’ll see the moon crest the horizon on schedule. Many of us will have to wait a few minutes for the moon to first clear the haze. I suspect it will look ghostly orange for a time until it rises high enough for its true brilliance to show. Click HERE and key in your location to find the time of moonrise.

Last night the hazy atmosphere served as an ideal filter for observing the nearly full moon through the telescope. Normally its glare is intense – you walk away from the scope blinded in one eye, practically stumbling. Not yesterday. The thick air made the moon easy on the eyes and tinted the lunar globe the color of September straw.

16 Responses

  1. Edward M. Boll

    My favorite moment was hearing that song with Dean singing when we were dining at Olive Garden. My guess is that tonight will be too bright to do much Pluto viewing.

  2. Edward M. Boll

    4 years from tomorrow is the total solar eclipse. Only 1462 days. The first across the entire country since 1918. My dad saw the June 30, 1954 eclipse near his home. I have been looking forward to this since 1988. I saw the May 10, 1994 annular from From Fort Scott, KS. The special for the day was ring of fire pizza.My friend was on a business trip and I was able to work it out with the company to stay in the same motel for 2 nights, free of charge. Another way for me to remember Aug. 21, 2017 for me is my brother’s 50th birthday.

    1. astrobob

      I agree. It just set here very orange. At sunset, the sun’s rays travel their longest path through the lower atmosphere. All that thick air (compared to overhead), dust and humidity, scatter even more of the sun’s blue and green light away (coloring the western sky) leaving the ball blazing with a mix of yellow, orange and red.

      1. Richard Keen

        Sherry & Bob, I think you’re seeing the sun setting into the smoke from the Idaho wildfires. The smoke around here in Colorado a few days ago was so thick you could smell it (600 miles from the source!), and now the upper winds shifted to send it off to Minnesota. Here’s a link to a satellite picture taken around sunset yesterday (Aug. 20) showing the comet-shaped smoke plumes over Idaho & Montana and the hazy smoke skirting around the north side of thunderclouds over the Dakotas and Minnesota.
        Nasty stuff.

        1. astrobob

          Totally agree with you Richard. We’re a little cleaner this evening than yesterday. Thanks for the link.

  3. Edward M. Boll

    ISON continues at Pluto’s magnitude. But I am not convinced that it has crossed the frost line. It is still far out from Mars’ orbit. And we know that Mars averages very cold. I still believe that within 100 days, we will have a great show.

  4. Edward M. Boll

    I wonder how many people realize that the Full Moon is about 11 days earlier in a year. That way we have 44 or 45 days in 4 years, or about a month and a half. This would explain to people why this Aug. 21 Full Moon will be new Moon on this date in 2017. It will be new, an eclipse, a total one at that and all the way across the USA.

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