Wednesday, February 8, 2012

SKYWATCH: Melting 'Snow Moon'

Spaceweather.com - According to folklore, last night's full Moon was the "Snow Moon." John Stetson watched it melt, apparently, as it rose through a layer of relatively warm air over the waters of Cape Elizabeth, Maine:

It's a mirage, caused by sun-warmed air overlying the sea surface. The temperature profile turned Earth's atmosphere into a lens, refracting the rays of the rising Moon and distorting the lunar disk as shown. Jules Verne noticed the same kind of distortion in sunrises and sunsets, and famously likened them to an Etruscan Vase.

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