Coming in a close second to my deathless obsession with measuring rainfall, is my never-ending crush on the moon, particularly when it hitsa your eye like a bigga pizza pie, such as last night’s full version. So after this morning’s pre-dawn dog walk I situated my 60x spotting scope on the porch (illustrated after the jump), got my point-and-shoot all up in its viewfinder and managed to hold everything steady long enough to land this big fella at 6:31 a.m., juuuust before it got tangled up in the frontyard tree branches and power lines (click to enormify).
Last night, I was invited by a fellow Metblogger to an ArcLight screening of Moon, the sci-fi indie starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie.
Jones was on hand afterward for a Q & A. I’ve been to my share of those over the years and enough have turned out to be snoozers that I found myself antsy at the prospect as the end credits started to roll. But Jones’ big enthusiasm for his little (budget-wise; it cost $5 million) movie was contageous and the audience responded with a lot of pointed questions– everything from bizzy budget and shooting process questions to “what does your father think of it?” (He approves.)
Jones thanked the ArcLight for its support, having screened it since its release in mid-June– not bad for a low-budget, confidently distinctive sci-fi movie (also chilling and engrossing) that looks back to another era, paying homage to earlier genre classics as it finds an original way to tell a story. As influences he mentioned the films 2001 and Silent Running of course, but for me it also had a whiff of the brilliantly manic novels of the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick in its intensely mundane presentation of the not-too-distant (and therefore not-too-unimaginable) future.
It’s no illusion. Some full Moons are genuinely larger than others and this Friday’s is a whopper. Why? The Moon’s orbit is an ellipse with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other: diagram. In the language of astronomy, the two extremes are called “apogee” (far away) and “perigee” (nearby). On Dec. 12th, the Moon becomes full a scant 4 hours after reaching perigee, making it 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons we’ve seen earlier in 2008.
I’ll translate that: Oooh. Pretty. WOW.
Also of note, the Geminids will be at their brightest this weekend, but the overly full moon just may overpower all by the brightest of these.
A great weekend for skywatchers, it seems. I have the perfect perch to watch the moon from my backyard or my front porch. Where are your favorite places in LA to watch the skies?