Moon of steel

Yeah, it was a non-event, even in areas that had good visibility – mass media really can’t handle astronomical events very well, but much worse is the social-media-fueled rumor mill. “Mars will be so close it will appear to be the size of Jupiter in the sky!” yeah, yeah…

Now, a curiosity. The haze is from the moon shining through scattered thin clouds, but the stepped rings in the haze are not artifacts of overcompressing the jpeg – they’re present in the original file. There’s a chance this is from storing images in-camera as jpegs rather than RAW, but if so, this is the first I’ve ever seen any such artifacts, and cannot find them in any other examples of gradient tones. Right now, I’m inclined to think they’re either a) lens artifacts from aiming at a bright subject centered in the viewfinder, or b) an actual effect of light shining through the clouds. This isn’t as odd as it might sound; rainbows are obvious ring effects from reflecting from, and refracting through, raindrops (we get an arc only because the rain stops when it hits the ground,) and several different surrounding effects can be found in the right conditions: sundogs, moonbows, circumhelial arcs, and so on. Yet, I’ve never seen or heard tell of exactly this effect.

MoonGifSmallBut while I was at it, I did a few sequences that showed the movement of the clouds, and combined these into an animated gif (pronounced “jiggawatt.”) The shots also showed the movement of the moon across the frame, as well as some tripod wiggle since I wasn’t shooting with a remote release, but I re-centered the moon in editing. Mostly, anyway – if you watch close you can see a twitch where I didn’t do the best job.

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