Just a reminder that the moon will be full around 8:30 tomorrow morning (Aug. 14) Central Time. That means both tonight and tomorrow night the moon will rise about 99.5 percent full. For most of us it will appear full with the naked eye and only betray a slight out-of-roundness in binoculars or a telescope.
The full moon is by far the worse time to see all the the rough and subtle details that low-slanted sunlight coaxes from the craters and valleys that carve the lunar landscape. The sun shines straight into the moon’s “face” like a bright spotlight on an actor’s face on stage. This type of direct lighting hides all shadows, and without shadows the moon looks flat and pasty. Compare this to half-phase, when the sun shines off to one side (below), highlighting the subtlest of textures.
Point a telescope or binoculars at the moon the next two nights and you’ll see a pastiche of gray and white with only a hint of shading along its left (eastern) edge. Everything is brightly illuminated in shadowless lighting. Craters look like white blotches.
Tonight (Aug. 14) the moon rises shortly before sunset for many U.S. locations; tomorrow night, a little after. Click here to find the time of moonrise for your location. The Barley Moon shines in Capricornus, a faint, triangular-shaped constellation to the east (left) of Sagittarius and Saturn. It should be a beautiful sight.