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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wolf Moon

this is the first full moon of the year.

Wouldn't you know it, we have rain coming so the clouds are moving in and enveloping the radiance of this once in a year/ first of this decade/ moon.

The intense light of the moon combined with the shrouding effect of the clouds creates a surreal light where everything appears distorted.

An innocent cattle trailer by day looks slightly sci/fi in the moonlight. Its metal bars resembling a prison.

A boring hay trailer is transformed by a trick of light into looking like a giant three fingered metal claw

The woods leading to the back 80 where the coyotes howl look deep and mysterious.

and on "Dead Fox Hill" the moon appears to hang itself on the dormant branches of winter.

Some interesting facts about the Wolf Moon,

This being the first full moon of 2010, it is also known as the wolf moon, a moniker dating back to Native American culture and the notion that hungry wolves howled at the full moon on cold winter nights. Each month brings another full moon name.

But why will this moon be bigger than others? Here's how the moon works:

The moon is, on average, 238,855 miles from Earth. The moon's orbit around Earth – which causes it to go through all its phases once every 29.5 days – is not a perfect circle, but rather an ellipse. One side of the orbit is 31,070 miles closer than the other.

So in each orbit, the moon reaches this closest point to us, called perigee. Once or twice a year, perigee coincides with a full moon, as it will tonight, making the moon bigger and brighter than any other full moons during the year.

Tonight it will be about 14 percent wider and 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons of the year, according to

As a bonus, Mars will be just to the left of the moon tonight. Look for the reddish, starlike object.

Full Moon Craziness

Many people think full moons cause strange behavior among animals and even humans. In fact several studies over the years have tried to tie lunar phases to births, heart attacks, deaths, suicides, violence, psychiatric hospital admissions and epileptic seizures, and more. Connections have been inconclusive or nonexistent.

The moon does have some odd effects on our planet, and there are oodles of other amazing moon facts and misconceptions:

A full moon at perigee also brings higher ocean tides. This tug of the moon on Earth also creates tides in the planet's crust, not just in the oceans.
Beaches are more polluted during full moon, owing to the higher tides.
In reality, there's no such thing as a full moon. The full moon occurs when the sun, Earth and the moon are all lined up, almost. If they're perfectly aligned, Earth casts a shadow on the moon and there's a total lunar eclipse. So during what we call a full moon, the moon's face is actually slightly less than 100 percent illuminated.
The moon is moving away as you read this, by about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) a year.

photo by David Haworth


  1. Great photos... I went out for a walk that night, bitter cold, so windy that my footsteps in the snow were covered by the blowing crystals by the time I returned. We had no clouds and it was almost daylight-bright with the reflecting moon on the snow... best walk ever!

  2. Your walk sounds so beautiful Mattenlou. Definitely a memory maker!

    Did you take any pictures by chance?


  3. My daughter and I enjoyed a full orange moon here in Ohio for clouds and the man on the moon was smiling down on us! You know it's a beautiful sight when a 13-year old stops and notices! ;)

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