Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
And let me see what spring is like on
Jupiter and MarsSongwriter: Bart Howard
I grew up with that song, as sung by Frank Sinatra, as well as his many other hits. My mother was a huge fan (so much so we played this and other Sinatra songs at her funeral). And in my early teens the song was adopted by the NASA Apollo space programme. It was played on portable cassette player on the Apollo 10 mission which orbited the moon and also on Apollo 11 before the first moon landing.
Perhaps because I grew up during the Apollo programme, I have always been fascinated by our nearest celestial neighbour (and come to that, by all that we see, or can’t see, in the night sky). I’ve never invested in the gear needed to photograph more distant objects. But I can and do try to capture the moon whenever I can. Here for Denzil’s Nature Photo challenge are a selection of my better efforts.
Crescent moon in Ealing, London
Hazy moon over Ealing, London
Waning gibbous moon above the Place des Vosges, Paris
Early evening gibbous moon over Muscat, Oman
Waning half-moon over Lake Chelan, Washington State
Waxing half-moon over the Narayani River, Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Full moon, Lagarta Lodge, Costa Rica
Moon setting, Lagarta Lodge, Costa Rica
As much as anything, my photos demonstrate that wherever we are in the world, the same moon looks down on us. But it doesn’t always look the same. As well as its phases, moving from full moon to half moon to new moon and back, from time to time we are treated to a lunar eclipse. Much more common than solar eclipses, these occur when the full moon is on one side of the earth and the sun directly opposite on the other side, so that the sun’s rays, which normally illuminate the moon, are blocked by the earth.
When we experienced a partial lunar eclipse in July 2019 I had a go at photographing it. The results aren’t great as I was using a handheld camera standing right outside our front door, but they do show the different stages of the eclipse.