Sunny skies, starry nights, lovely moon
Can't think of much to say about the weather this week in Central Maryland. There's nothing but sunshine in the forecast until early next week. That stubborn storm spinning off the New England coast has sent a few clouds across our skies this morning. But with high pressure dominating, we're not likely to hear any complaints.
In addition to the warm sunshine and blue skies, we're enjoying really clear, starry nights this week, too. If you missed Tuesday evening's slim crescent moon, you missed a beautiful sight. Just three days past "new," the moon was a Cheshire Cat's smile in the southwest around dinnertime.
And if you looked closely, you could see the faint glow of "Earthshine" on the portion of the moon's disk that was not catching direct sunlight. Earthshine occurs during the first days after a new moon, when sunlight reflected off the Earth illuminates - faintly - the portion of the moon in shadow.
Think of it: Light from the sun streams across the 93-million-mile gulf between the sun and Earth, bounces off the day side of the planet, back across 240,000 miles to the "night" side of the moon, then back again to our eyes. And we see Earthshine.
Anyway, it's a great week to spend some time outdoors in the evening. There's the moon, maybe some Earthshine for another day or two, Jupiter - still a gleaming beacon high in the south in the evening - and loads of stars.
Take the kids outside with you. Mine are all grown up but they still notice things in the night sky. My daughter texted me last evening to tell me about the crescent moon. Drop back here and share what you're seeing with the rest of our readers. Maybe it will get some of them off their Barca-Loungers and outdoors under the night sky.