Phases of the Moon, as seen looking southward from the northern hemisphere. Credit: Wikipedia / Orion8

Crescent Moon Crescendo And Fall Finale

Look to the west-southwest at dusk tonight and you’ll see a thin crescent moon tilted over on its side. Its shape reminds me of Mona Lisa’s sweet and slightly mischievous smile. While it might seem strange to associate such a delicate-appearing object with a crescendo, a gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music,…
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The apparent motion of the sun around the sky is really a reflection of Earth’s yearly cycle around the sun. The seesaw-like up-and-down movement of the sun from season to season is caused by Earth’s titled axis and our planet’s changing orientation to the sun during the year. Credit: Thomas G. Andrews / NOAA

Perihelion Paradox? Closer Sun, Colder Days

Yesterday, while preparing dinner, Earth reached its closest point to the sun for the year. This annual milestone, called perihelion, from the Greek ‘peri’ (close) and ‘helios’ (sun), happens paradoxically every January. Shouldn’t it be warmer if we’re closer to the sun? Earth’s distance from the sun varies over the course of a year because we…
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Winter season Orion with snow pines FEA

Happy Winter Solstice As We Arrive At The Longest Night Of The Year

Each of us senses the flow of time differently. For me, December’s gone by quickly. For you, maybe not. Either way, we’ve arrived at the start of winter or the winter solstice. At precisely 10:48 p.m. CST (11:48 p.m. EST, 9:48 p.m. MDT, 8:48 p.m. PST) Monday Dec. 21st, the sun will reach its lowest point…
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Fall color Sept30_2012_Sawmill Dome_FEA

Falling For Fall And Other Seasonal Deceits

The first trees are fired up in reds and oranges, and the tomato vines have withered to brown. I like that the sun sets so much earlier and rises fashionably late. Darkness has nibbled more than 4 hours from the day since the first day of summer, and it won’t stop noshing till the winter…
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The waning gibbous moon way up high in a deep blue sky around 7 this morning. Credit: Bob King

Good Day, Moon

When my kids were little we often read the bedtime story Goodnight Moon about a child saying goodnight to everything in the room. It usually helped to settle and ready them for a night’s sleep. The moon is usually a creature of the night, but at certain times of year, it also stalks the day. When stepping…
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