I saw you standing there.


Pluto And Charon in false color.

by Stuart Rankin

Where is our moon right now? What can we see, were we to look at our moon right now? Is it near the horizon? Is it a full moon, a new moon, or some other phase of our earthly moon?

Now, let us visit Pluto and its moon, Charon. Charon, like our own moon, is tidally locked to the planet it orbits. Charon has one hemisphere that always faces Pluto, and one hemisphere that never faces Pluto.

And if we were on Pluto, directly under Charon looking straight up and saw Charon in the sky above us, we would see that one face of Charon that we always see. … Now here is where it gets a little strange. … What if we looked up again in an hour? A few minutes, two hours, a day, a year, fifteen years, where would Charon be? What would we see?

So Pluto, is like Charon being tidally locked to Pluto and only showing one face to Pluto, Pluto is also tidally locked to Charon and only faces one hemisphere to Charon. … That means that if Charon were straight above us from the planets surface, Charon would always be straight above us, forever. … As the Charon lunar month progressed through all the phases of the moon, we could lie on our backs and watch the moon go through all its phases in one place, never moving in the sky at all. One day we would look up and see a quarter moon, and another day we would see a full moon, and on the days approaching the new moon, we would see Charon slowly change to one crescent and then fade out, and then, in a few days, Charon would slowly fade back in with the opposite crescent. All the while as it was directly overhead, never moving.

The sun would move. The stars would move. Charon, the moon, would stare down at us like an ever watchful god.

That also means that if we were born on one side of the planet, we may never even know there was a moon at all. We would never see it. Imagine a Plutonian Magellan circumnavigating Pluto only to discover, not a new continent, but a moon. This imaginary Magellan would be navigating by stars, until he saw this giant orb in the sky. Holy crap, I would surely shit my pants if I were there.

Jack Foster Mancilla – LensLord™ – Home –

A Tale of One Moon and Two Times

These two images were taken exactly seven minutes apart, on the same day, December 10, 2011, in Ocean Beach California.

It was my intent to wait until the moon got as low as it could, so that I could capture the Moon, the Pier, and the Surf, with maybe a little sand. Alas, it did not come to pass. We are all limited by external forces. 😉

I got there early, and used my compass and “The Photographers Ephemeris” on my iPhone to plot where the moon would actually set. The Moon would eventually set just right of center in these two images, if it could be seen.

That was the problem. I had forgotten to consider that the eclipsed moon is very dark, in contrast to the dawning sky. … So, as the sky lightened, the moon faded away. It faded away long before it even got to the fog bank that you can easily see in the second image.

I find it very interesting to open both these images in two separate tabs of my web browser then use my arrow keys to jump quickly from one image to the other to compare the height of the moon, and the lightness of the sky.

Jack Foster Mancilla – LensLord™ – Home –

Under the Cheshire Moon

The very smallest crescent moon just moments after sunset, called the Cheshire Moon after the infamous cat in Alice’s Wonderland.

My friend, April, mentioned the Cheshire Moon in one of her Facebook status updates. I had forgotten the special name of this moon with the upturned smile. I renamed the image after April’s posting.

Lena, my niece’s daughter, was with me when I shot this in Pacific Beach. She kept saying, “Let’s go home!” and “I have to go to the bathroom.”

I kept saying, “Just a moment.” And, “We will be leaving soon.” Half an hour later, I had this image, and she had relief.

Jack Foster Mancilla – LensLord™ – Home –