How to Extend a Moonrise (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Sun, 28 Oct 2018

How to Extend a Moonrise

Last night, as we drove home from the Pumpkin Glow -- one of Los Alamos's best annual events, a night exhibition of dozens of carved pumpkins all together in one place -- I noticed a glow on the horizon right around Truchas Peak and wondered if the moon was going to rise that far north.

Sure enough, I saw the first sliver of the moon poking over the peak as we passed the airport. "We may get an extended moonrise tonight", I said, realizing that as the moon rose, we'd be descending the "Main Hill Road", as that section of NM 502 is locally known, so we'd get lower with respect to the mountains even as the moon got higher. Which would win?

As it turns out, neither. The change of angle during the descent down the Main Hill Road exactly matches the rate of moonrise, so the size of the moon's sliver stayed almost exactly the same during the whole descent, until we got down to the "Y" where a nearby mesa blocked our view entirely. By the time we could see the moon again, it was just freeing itself of the mountains.

Neat! Made me think of The Little Prince: his home asteroid B6-12 (no, that's not a real asteroid desgination) was small enough that by moving his chair, he could watch sunset over and over again. I'm a sucker for moonrises -- and now I know how I can make them last longer!

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[ 19:32 Oct 28, 2018    More science/astro | permalink to this entry | ]

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