Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Christmas moon!

Christmas day 2012 happens to be two days before full moon of the lunar month.  At around 5 o'clock in the morning I looked out of the window and saw the bright moon shine over the cleat west sky -- almost full but not quite there. I grabbed my camera and captured the following picture.  So here we are, the 2012 Christmas moon, as viewed from SE Michigan!

We know that Easter always comes as the first Sunday after the Spring Equinox and a full moon.  Christmas does not seem to have any correlation with full moon.  Last time a Christmas fell on a day of full moon was 1996.  Next time that will happen will be 2015.  I have never heard any one talk about  this. I don't think there's any meaningful science in it.  Anyway, I like this picture I took this morning on Merry Christmas day of 2012!


There was an interesting NASA Science article talking about the full moon of 2004 even with a poem joking about Rudolph's red nose. But that article was wrong, the moon on 2004 Christmas was full enough, but not the full moon -- that was the day before the full moon! One day closer than 2012, but still not yet the full moon according to Chinese lunar calendar.


We have all seen this famous earth-rise picture by Apollo 8 took from the lunar orbit on Christmas eve, December 23, 1968 as
That evening, the astronauts--Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders--held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Said Lovell, "The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth." They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis.

What can be more appropriate than reading the book of Genesis on Christmas eve while orbiting the moon!  Of course that episode led to Apollo 11 that landed the first humans, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the Moon on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface 6 hours later on July 21 at 02:56 UTC. Armstrong spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, Aldrin slightly less; and together they collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material for return to Earth. A third member of the mission, Michael Collins, piloted the command spacecraft alone in lunar orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned to it for the trip back to Earth.

It is also appropriate for us to remember here that Astronaut Neil Armstrong passed away this year in August, 25 2012, R.I.P.

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