Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hermit Sphinx Moth (I think)

Last night was a good night for moths. I always leave my porch light on until I go to bed, and when I run the dogs for the last time, I always check to see what's floating around the light. That's when I found this lovely fellow. The moth was a good-sized one, over 2 inches. I think it's a Hermit Sphinx Moth, and if not, then it's some other kind of sphinx moth. I'm still doing research--so many moths, so little time, so many references to check.

Part of the reason the ID is a bit ambiguous so far is that the hawk's wings are folded, so I can't see much of the underwing, except that it appears to be dark brown and edged with white. There's a lot of sphinx moths on this continent, and all of them are pretty large, which for me is part of their appeal. Many of them are also a lot more colorful than this moth, often with round "eyes" on the wings, pinkish colors and very well defined and dark stripes. Still, I've never met a large moth I didn't like, and if this one is a hermit sphinx moth, it's an uncommon to rare one in my region, which makes up for his lack of visual drama.

This morning Dog and I (well, me) saw the lunar eclipse. For some reason, I thought it would be over by the time I got up, so I was thrilled that it wasn't. The moon was setting when we saw it and not far above the horizon. Eclipse moons are reddish and so are also called "blood moons." Until you've seen the moon like this, you don't realize how much the sun creates a glare on the surface of our moon. When the moon is un-illuminated by the sun, more craters are visible and the moon looks close enough to be in the next county, not 240-some thousand miles away. For once the sky was clear, and the viewing was excellent. What a dramatic way to begin the day! Some great photos of the eclipse have been posted at www.spaceweather.com so you might want to check those out.


ChicagoLady said...

I stayed up all night last night, took the day off from work today, and couldn't see a thing because of clouds that came in just as the eclipse was starting.

Carolyn H said...

chicagolady: What a shame that it wasn't clear for you. I've spent part of the day trying to remember the last time I saw an eclipse, and it seems as though it was 20 years or more. I know there's been eclipses in that time, so I must have missed them in poor weather. Next time.

Carolyn H.