Friday, October 8, 2021

Phased Out

About this time a year ago I was out for my morning walk around the neighborhood when I saw the crescent moon rising behind Twin Peaks. The gorgeous silver sliver was positioned so that the moon appeared to be at rest just above the cupped peaks, almost like a sacrament held above open hands. After I got home I took a picture even though the moon had moved out of position, in part to help remind myself to try again the following year.

So the year passed and I was ready for that last thin sliver before the new moon to make its appearance on Monday. I was also thankful for a clear sky. I skipped my morning walk so I could be in place with my camera for the repeat event.

I first saw the crescent when it appeared just south of the base of Sutro Tower. It was a beautiful sight, but I could already sense that something wasn’t quite right.

From the position of the moon at that point, it didn’t seem like its trajectory was going to be exactly the same as the moon phase that occurred last year on October 15When I looked through the viewfinder I could tell right away that the 300mm lens I used for last year’s shot was going to be too tight. This year I had to use a 105mm to get the moon and the peaks in the same frame. 

If I had waited until Tuesday to try the shot (which would have been in keeping with last year's sighting, being the day before the new moon), I'd have been skunked by fog. In any event, the crescent moon doesn't rise along the same angle or even at the same time from year to year, although the Photographer's Ephemeris had Tuesday's moonrise far enough south of Monday's to have probably made all the difference in the world; foiled by Carl the Fog again). Maybe next year....

As I watched the moonrise it was interesting to recall that there weren't so many airplanes flying across the frame last year, and sightseers weren't allowed to drive up to Twin Peaks.

Last October I was already amazed that the pandemic had continued to keep me working from home over the summer. Now another whole year has gone by, and my office isn’t scheduled to reopen until January 2022. That’s despite the fact that almost everyone has been vaccinated since last spring.

I do wonder if we’re being over-cautious, but it’s even more wondrous to me that so many people seem to believe it’s more risky to get the vaccine than the disease. I recently saw a comment on NextDoor by an anti-vax person who claimed to have several friends who contracted myocarditis, but she neglected to mention that you’re six-times more likely to get myocarditis after a Covid-19 infection than you are after an mRNA vaccination.

Speaking of playing the odds, I wonder if the moon will ever repeat the trajectory I saw last year. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled, just in case.

Waning Crescent Over Twin Peaks
October 4, 2021

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