Sunday, July 12, 2015

Quick Post: The Old Moon in the Storm

With rainy weather bearing down on us out of the east I had little hope of observing the crescent moon on the outskirts of the Hyades of Taurus, and I was at least partially correct.  I could see Luna in the gaps between the rushing cumulus but she was a pale ghost filtered by high, heavy cirrus, and I was unable to catch a glimpse even of Aldebaran, let alone the dimmer stars that comprise the face of the Bull.

Medgar Evers is cruising westward; for the first several days of this voyage the weather was fine, with quite smooth seas.  This morning, however, we're beginning to feel the effects of a tropical depression well to the south and feeling quite a bit of motion in addition to rising winds and a falling barometer.   All of these are classic signs of a "blow", and usually mean that the skies will not be clear enough to pick out the 3rd and 4th-Magnitude stars
of the Hyades.

Still the moon was quite a beautiful sight, a “ghostly galleon tossed upon the cloudy seas” as the poet put it*.  The difference in the apparent speeds of the upper cirrus and lower cumulus was almost vertigo-inducing in its impression of the thin crescent moon dashing at break-neck speed, running flat-out into the dawn twilight.

A lovely sight; worth getting up early, I think.

* Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman”

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