Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cows and the Moon

 Last night we happened to be outside as the nearly full moon was rising. The heifers were nearby, so we went out to visit and enjoy the peaceful high desert evening.

 The colors are muted in winter, with no leaves to cover the brown branches of the trees, no verdant grasses emerging from the ground, nary a wildflower peeking from a pile of manure. But it is still so beautiful.

The kids wanted to say hi to the cows. The cows were willing to entertain a distraction--from a certain distance.


Then it was time for a different distraction--some snow. I love how Desert Girl is checking out her big brother.

Tonight is the full moon. It seemed to take forever to rise, but by the time I came out of a meeting, it was obvious. While we were waiting for the full moon, we could see four bright objects in the sky: to the west were Venus (the brighter light) and Jupiter. They are getting closer together every night for the next few nights. To the east was Mars, with its reddish tinge. And to the south was Sirius, the dog star in the constellation Canis Major. Before long the stars making up Orion were twinkling at us. It was fun showing the kids a few objects in the sky.

One of the things I want to learn next is about the moon. So here are three things to look for in the photo above (and I must say it's a much better photo than some of my recent attempts!).
Where is?
1. Copernicus Crater
2. Mare Tranquillitas
3. Oceanus Procellarum

Answers coming soon!

3 comments:

The Incredible Woody said...

Did any cows jump over the moon? :)

Sandy said...

Really neat shots. I can never get a good photo of the moon. You managed to do it!

John Mosley said...

Mare Tranquilitas – meaning “peaceful sea”. This was the site of the first lunar landing when Apollo 11 touched down in July of 1969. The Mare were formed as impact generated basaltic magma flooded the surface, filling the impact craters. The impacts and outflowing of basalt happened between 4.0 and 4.4 billion years ago. (If forced, I’d guess 4.2 billion) The dark, ferromagnesian-rich silicates in the basalt make a distinct contrast with the light colored, ferromagnesian-poor silicates of the anorthosite that forms the lunar highlands. If you think of the moon as the face of a clock, draw a line from the center to the 1:00 position. The line crosses what I think is the sea of tranquility. If that isn’t it, draw a line from the center to the 11:00 position and that mare would be my second guess. I’ve tapped out my memory and refuse to cheat and Google it. Feel free to correct my mistakes. I too, am a generalist – a jack of all trades but master of none.

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