Before I start in I want to point you to a guest post I have on the Rock & Purl blog right now. Ruth is one of my best designer friends and when she asked me to guest blog for her I was very excited. That post telling you about my favorite season is kind of appropriate to today’s post as well…

In the winter, have you noticed how the nights may be long, but the moon is often so much brighter than it is in the summer?

winter moon

Turns out there’s actually science behind that. The moon moves opposite the sun*. Thus in the winter our days are short and the sun’s watery rays stream through the southern sky. This is when the moon is highest in the sky. Because it’s arc is higher up we actually have more hours of moonlight than we will next summer. Add to that the reflection of moonlight on snow and our night’s don’t merely seem brighter, they actually are brighter.

It’s as if the moon is trying it’s hardest to make up for the lack of sun. Not that it’s helping with the cold any…

*I haven’t checked all these facts. But I got them from my cousin, and he’s a planetary scientist. I assume he knows what he’s talking about.


4 responses to “Balanced

  1. If you have good binoculars, even, and you can stand the cold, you can get a really good look at the moon on nights like this. I got interested in amateur astronomy when my smaller boy was born (he was not a good sleeper), and finally bought some high-powered stargazing binoculars. It’s amazing how much detail you can see, and the moon looks gigantic in the field of view.

    • I just have a pair of birding binoculars, but even those show so much detail on the moon’s surface! Of course these last few nights have been too cold for any significant star or moon gazing…

  2. Sally Wilkins (aka Mom)

    I thought it was also because the air is drier (colder air = more space between water molecules) so we see more clearly? This is also true in the daytime, of course.
    So often in winter I look out the window at night and recall that line from A Visit from St. Nicholas: “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below . . .”

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