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November 10, 2010

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.

NASA Images EarthshineIn 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. 

Pretty cool.

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.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:33 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

Comments

On the way in to work this morning I was noticing the reds in the trees were particularly brilliant. A couple of weeks ago we had a lot of yellows that looked very pretty, now the reds are really shining. I don't know if it's just me but this year the fall colors seem to be hanging on a lot longer than usual.

FR: Funny, I was thinking the colors were passing by faster than usual. But the ginkgo grove at The Sun, on North Calvert, are just coming into their peak golden glory. If you're in the area in the next week or so, have a look.

It seems to me this was once referred to as "the new moon in the old moon's arms".

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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