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The Best of the Bay ~ Every Week Since 1993
Volume 16, Issue 3 - January 17 - January 23, 2008

By the Light of the Moon

With no light source of its own, Luna relies on the sun

The waxing moon brightens our evening skies, appearing high in the east as darkness settles at week’s end. By Tuesday, the full Wolf Moon rises in the northeast as the sun sets in the southwest at 5:30. This is no coincidence, as the moon generates no light of its own, instead relying on sunlight to illuminate its face.

When the earth is smack-dab in between the sun and moon, as it is for all full moons, sunlight cascades around our planet, falling on the moon. Conversely, when the moon is directly between the sun and earth during new moon, sunlight washes over the moon — or more aptly washes out the moon.

Thursday’s gibbous moon hovers above Taurus the bull. A degree to the east shines a bright light, which binoculars reveal to be the stars of the Pleiades Cluster.

According to Greek mythology, the Pleiades were the sisters Halcyone, Sterope, Celaeno, Elecktra, Maia, Merope and Taygeta — the daughters of Atlas and the sea nymph Pleione. Like many maidens, the sisters caught the eye of Orion, who chased them for seven years. Finally, answering the sisters’ pleas, Zeus changed them into doves and placed them in the heavens so all might see their beauty. Today, however, only six of the seven remain visible. According to one account, the missing sister is Elektra, who covered her face and fled after the sacking of Troy. Another tale identifies the missing sister as Merope, who was exiled from the heavens after marrying a mortal.

Friday evening the moon is perched between the Pleiades and Aldebaran, the eye of the bull.

Saturday the moon travels in the company of Mars, with the two less than three degrees apart.


Illustration: © Copyright 1925 M.C. Escher/Cordon Art-Baarn-Holland; Graphics: © Copyright 2007 Pacific Publishers. Reprinted by permission from the Tidelog graphic almanac. Bound copies of the annual Tidelog for Chesapeake Bay are $14.95 ppd. from Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas, CA 94924. Phone 415-868-2909. Weather affects tides. This information is believed to be reliable but no guarantee of accuracy is made by Bay Weekly or Pacific Publishers. The actual layout of Tidelog differs from that used in Bay Weekly. Tidelog graphics are repositioned to reflect Bay Weekly’s distribution cycle.Tides are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are positioned to coincide with high and low tides of Tidelog.

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