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winter solstice: blue moon, red planet

December 21, 2007
Winter Solstice Eve Sky Show 12.20.2007
a found poem from NASA
NASA says this just might be the brightest moon you’ve ever seen.

That’s because it’s the highest-riding full moon

until the year 2023.

Above: The Moon photographed by P-M Heden of Vallentuna, Sweden.

Not far from the moon glows fireplace-red Mars.

This Winter Solstice, Mars is at its closest to Earth

for the next NINE years.

Mars is also “at opposition”

astronomy-lingo for “directly opposite the sun.”

It means Mars is up whenever the sun is down:

tonight the Red Planet will be visible all night long.

Gliding in formation across the sky,

the moon and Mars seem so close you could almost reach up,

grab the pair and bounce them down the street.


Christmas Eve sky map

NASA says maybe some future Solstice Eve,

one of us will step outside of our cozy lunar cabin

and walk our space-suited dog with long, floating steps

down some dusty lunar road. We’ll look up and say,

“There’s a pretty full Earth tonight!”

BTW, highest riding means it’s the highest in the sky–like straight overhead instead of low on the horizon (like the sun is around here these days). Happens about every 18 or so years. May we live to see and enjoy this again.

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