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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Centavo’s Two Cents: Red Moon

by Centavo

October... the month of change: No longer on the American East Coast, I find myself longing for the colors of the leaves, apple cider, my favorite sweater, and Halloween.

As kids, we would carry home pillow cases of wrapped candy and spend the end of the evening sorting it all out. A good solid chocolate bar was pure Gold, and we were lucky to get a dozen or so of those.

Our diminutive town would section off store front windows, and a contest would be held to see which Halloween painting (by age group) merited an award. Witches, pumpkins, black cats, owls, haunted mansions, ghosts, silhouette trees, and various moons invaded our town of every size, description and interpretation. I painted with childlike delight, as did every contestant, hoping for a prize or ribbon. When we were driven down the main street of our town, we could see the spectacular results during the day or at night! We loved the moons. Few of the painters left out this most important element.

A few weeks ago, I settled into a great Baja Nap on my front porch in the late afternoon. It had cooled down quite a bit and the breeze made me chuckle about my real estate choice. No doubt I was still smilin’ as I drifted off into what I call..... San Felipe Bliss!!!

I was graciously left in my comfortable pillowed lounge chair, and eventually woke up to a dark sky with a colossal.....”What is going on?”... Ruby Moon! The Star Wars theme played in my head. (They had several moons on that planet.) I sat up perplexed..... Sixties flashback?......no... Red Moon! “Hey there is a huge red moon out here. You gotta see this!”..(I called my neighbor Marge too.) “Marge... Red Moon. In the sky. Look!!”

Marge was kindly impressed. She had seen many a moon like that in the San Felipe skies. So, the world wasn’t ending? The soaring Star Wars music in my head pinched out a few chords through my nose, and dwindled down to something that sounded like a kazoo. Fine then. This moon thing happens here. But how?

Here are the basics. White light from the sun is a mixture of all the colors. When a ray of white light passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, just grazing it, molecules and aerosols in the air scatter blue light making the sky blue. The remaining reddish light is bent, refracted into the Earth’s umbral shadow zone. As our planet casts a long shadow twice a month, the moon passes directly through it. This gives the moon a coppery or reddish glow. What you are really seeing is every sunrise and sunset on Earth all at once.

There is no other real estate in the world that I would rather be retired in.

GEEZ.....if I had only thought of painting my Halloween moon.....red... I might have been a winner.