First, I want to remind you to look for the Full Flower Moon both tonight and tomorrow night.. Perfect timing. I’ve seen plenty of different flowers in the past couple weeks including bloodroot, anemone, nodding trillium, marsh marigold and several varieties of violets. The reason we have two nights of full moonness has to do with the timing of the full phase — tomorrow morning around 9 a.m. Central Time. For the mainland U.S. and much of Canada, the moon will appear just as full tonight as it will Tuesday night. Enjoy the bonus! Challenge yourself, too. Can you tell either night that it’s not 100% round? If you can, your vision is keen.
Yesterday, I hauled dirt. Lots of it. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, I slowly transferred the big pile in the driveway to the raised bed gardens in the backyard. Being outside all day afforded lots of opportunities to look up. High, feathery clouds were busy fashioning solar halos along with now-and-again sundogs. Sundogs look like brilliant patches of delicately tinted light on either side of a ring around the sun, although sometimes they show without the ring.
Late in the day, two really bright sundogs caught my attention as I prepared to grill chicken. Knowing how quickly these things can fade, I put the chicken on hold, quickly grabbed the camera and found an opening to take a few photos. Like rings around the sun and moon, sundogs are caused by light refracted through 6-sided, plate-shaped ice crystals. Red is refracted or bent the least, so it colors the doggie’s inner edge. Blue is refracted the most, tinting the other side. Sometimes the colors can be intense and vivid as they were in the one sundog seen in the close-up above.
As the evening wore on, the sky refused to get boring. The nearly full moon came up alongside Jupiter. Even through my 200mm telephoto, as I magnified the planet to focus, I could see its four brightest moons. The view was similar to how they appeared in a pair of 10×50 binoculars. Amazing what’s in our front yards, isn’t it?
While attempting to go to bed, powerful thunderstorms rocked the region, making for at least a brief chance to watch and photograph lightning (and smell the intense aromas that come with rain and ozone) before I was finally forced inside by fear and a downpour. It was midnight. I put my head down and let the rumbling thunder carry me away to sleep.