Photos of the moon

Northern Moon

At high northern latitudes, moonrises and moonsets are quite difficult events to keep track of in our skies. Where you saw it rise or set the night before is not where it will rise or set the next night … though it may be close sometimes. The lunar phases are accurate during waxing and waning but the angled arc the moon takes raises and lowers constantly.

In Alaska’s summer, the moon rises and sets in the south and is visible for only about five-to-six hours.  However, in most of Alaska the summertime sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest providing an average of 20 hours of daylight. There are 24 hours of daylight in the high north because the sun never sets; it only dips towards the horizon but does not go below it.

During the winter months, the moon and sun switch places.  The moon has a longer and higher arc.  North of the Arctic Circle the moon will make a full circle around the horizon without setting.

With virgin snow-cover, a full moon will light up the land, almost but not quite like, "daytime." Snow has the highest reflective quality of anything on Earth and can be viewed from space.

The shadowed portion of a crescent moon is visible because of "Earthshine" … if one were standing on the moon at crescent phase you would be looking at a "Fullearth."

Due to the oscillating-arc angle of the moon, it rises and sets over many exquisite vistas at different seasons of the year … sometimes even rising or setting two or three times behind mountain ranges.

Whether in full, half, crescent, or eclipsed phase, the northern moon sweeps the skies in constant flux. This must have absolutely mystified the First Peoples of the Northern Hemisphere over the ages.

All images © Dave Parkhurst