Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice and full moon

Solstice, a full moon and an eclipse. If I had lived 372 years ago, the last time this phenomenon occurred, I would likely have assumed that combination portended something important. As it was, I simply set my alarm and got up just before 3 a.m. to view the extraordinary event. Did you?
The moon was an orangey-red; for me it was not the blood red I’ve heard described elsewhere. I couldn’t view it for the entire time of the eclipse as the moon dipped into clouds within several minutes. Still, it was well worth the wake-up alarm.

A few years ago I discovered I have my own personal and naturally-occurring “stonehenge” or at least a solstice display. Only at winter solstice does the sun set directly between the two trunks of the old oak behind my cabin. The druids would be pleased, as am I.

Now the sun will set further north each night. It will travel up the mountain, past its rounded peak, down the other side, up the side of Nell’s Hill, and reach past that rounded peak by the summer solstice. Some years, I don’t get to take my solstice photo because of poor weather. This year, the sun set just right, and I was able to watch the sun dip towards the horizon, right between the two trunks.
I was happy enough that this year’s solstice brought a full moon to soften the depths of the Long Night. In older times, bonfires were lit and burned through this night. With the full moon traversing the sky, a bonfire was hardly needed last night. The long night seemed much less fearsome with that huge moon above the cabin.


Scott said...

Further east, here on the PA Piedmont, the sky was crystal clear and I got a great view of the sooty brown moon in full eclipse. It was worth getting out of bed. I didn't realize it had been so long since the solstice, eclipse, and full moon had coincided--thanks for that information! Now, I'm even more glad I took the trouble to get out of bed.

Carolyn H said...


I heard the number of years on the radio this a.m. It surprised me too, and I was glad I got up, even if only for a few minutes and even though I messed up setting the real wake-up time when I went back to bed. At least I didn't oversleep by too much!

Carolyn H.

Woodswalker said...

Beautiful moon shots, especially the "treehenge" one. Yes, the Druids would be proud of you for being so observant. Here in Saratoga County NY we had a general cloud cover, so no sense waking up to see the eclipse. Darn!

Cathy said...

Sorry I didn't . I really needed my sleep. Was tempted but today is usually a busy a day for me at work.

Hopefully the next lunar eclipse will be in warmer month and a tab earlier.

then I'll drag out all my camera gear!

Carolyn H said...

Woodswalker: I'm kind of fond of my "treehenge" (I like that name!) too

Carolyn h.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: It would be fun to stand outside on a warm night and watch an eclipse--better yet if it happened on a weekend, the sky was clear and should I also include a glass of wine or a nice mug of tea? Either would be good.

Carolyn H.