When you look at a crescent moon shortly after sunset or before sunrise, you can sometimes see not only the bright crescent of the moon, but also the rest of the moon as a dark disk. That pale glow on the unlit part of a crescent moon is light reflected from Earth. It’s called earthshine.
To understand earthshine, remember that the moon is globe, just as Earth is, and that the globe of the moon is always half-illuminated by sunlight. When we see a crescent moon in the west after sunset, or in the east before dawn, we’re seeing just a sliver of the moon’s lighted half.
Now think about seeing a full moon from Earth’s surface. Bright moonlight can illuminate an earthly landscape on nights when the moon is full.
Likewise, whenever we see a crescent moon, a nearly full Earth appears in the moon’s night sky. The full Earth illuminates the lunar landscape. And that is earthshine. It’s light from the nearly full Earth shining on the moon.
The word “equinox” comes from Latin aequus, meaning “equal,” and nox, “night.” On the equinox, day and night are roughly equal in length. (See more about this below.)
During the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun’s center passes through this line. When the Sun crosses the equator from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox; when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox.
Scott took this photo on the final day of the summer of 2016 at the St. Joseph Lighthouse. See more in his massive Lighthouses gallery on Flickr.
Here’s hoping that you get a chance to enjoy some of Michigan’s gorgeous scenery this Labor Day Weekend & also that it’s the LAST lost summer for a state that relies so heavily on tourism & travel & fun in sun!
The West Michigan Tourist Association is offering this year’s Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map & Circle Tour poster that details all of the lighthouses located on the shores of Lake Michigan and a Circle Tour driving route. You can get the 2020 Lighthouse Map online or request a free copy in the mail.
The White Shoal Light is located 20 miles due west of the Mackinac Bridge and is the only candy-striped station on the Great Lakes. While they won’t be open this summer, the White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society is working to open it for tours in 2021.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the new Unified Geologic Map of the Moon on April 20, 2020. They said it shows the moon’s surface geology, with rock layers and craters charted “in great detail.” The map is a synthesis of six Apollo-era regional geologic maps, updated with data from more recent moon missions.
USGS said it’s designed to serve as “the definitive blueprint” for lunar science and future human missions to the moon, and to be used by the international scientific community, educators and the public at large.
To create the new digital map, scientists used information from six Apollo-era regional maps along with updated information from recent satellite missions to the moon.
The existing historical maps were redrawn to align them with the modern data sets, thus preserving previous observations and interpretations. Along with merging new and old data, USGS researchers also developed a unified description of the stratigraphy, or rock layers, of the moon. This resolved issues from previous maps where rock names, descriptions and ages were sometimes inconsistent.
Round Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1895 at a cost of $15,000 by Frank Rounds, a carpenter from Detroit. Rounds had previously worked on Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel, which was completed in 1887. The lighthouse was first lit on May 15th, 1896. It was commissioned under the U.S. Lighthouse Board, which became the United States Lighthouse Service in 1910. When it was first completed, the lighthouse was brick red. This would remain so until it was painted red and white in 1924. The fog signal at the lighthouse was installed in the fall of 1896. William Marshall was the first keeper of the lighthouse and served until 1906.
The beacon was automated in 1924 and became the responsibility of the United States Coast Guard in 1939, when the Coast Guard took over all of the nation’s lighthouses. To support World War II efforts, most of the original machinery on the first floor was removed for scrap. The structure was whitewashed in 1939.
When an automated light was constructed off the shore of Mackinac Island in 1947, the Coast Guard abandoned and decommissioned Round Island Lighthouse. A few years later, becoming tired of maintenance on the unused structure, the Coast Guard recommended that the lighthouse be demolished. Luckily the lighthouse was transferred to Hiawatha National Forest in 1958 and saved from its fate of destruction. For more information on the Hiawatha National Forest, visit the United States Forest Service website.
Since the lighthouse was abandoned, the lighthouse was a target for vandals. Also, without upkeep, the outside was feeling the effects of the Great Lakes and was starting to deteriorate away. On October 20th, 1972, a fierce storm knocked down part of the southwestern corner of the lighthouse. If it wasn’t for local preservationists, the lighthouse would have met its end.
Lower Michigan should have peak wind gusts between 45 mph and 55 mph. There could be an isolated wind gust just over 55 mph. The strongest gusts would likely be right along the Lake Michigan shoreline due to the wind accelerating over the Great Lakes water and on the eastern fringe of the Lower Peninsula.
The northeast shoreline of Lower Michigan, from Tawas City to Alpena to Rogers City, will likely have the highest widespread wind gusts. There will also be a pick-up of winds right at the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The Upper Peninsula will stay on the cold side of the storm. Wind gusts will still be strong, up to 45 mph. Snow will be the main issue. Some parts of the U.P. will have very heavy snowfall.
A large part of the western two-thirds of the U.P. will have over one foot of snow. Some areas in the higher elevations along the Lake Superior shoreline near Marquette could have up to two feet of snow. The heavy snow combined with strong winds will likely cause power outages.
In Lower Michigan, there will be two snowfall patterns. Northwest Lower Michigan will have the changeover to snow just as the main precipitation area of the storm is winding down. Northwest Lower could have a couple of hours of meaningful snowfall. As a result, look for one to three inches of snow on the grass Monday night in northwest Lower. This would include Traverse City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Gaylord and Mackinaw City.
Stay warm & stay safe everyone!
Bob took this shot of gale force winds hitting the pier at Grand Haven back in Ovtober of 2015. See it and more in his Explore album on Flickr.
More than a fifth of Detroit’s police force is quarantined; two officers have died from coronavirus and at least 39 have tested positive, including the chief of police. For the 2,200-person department, that has meant officers working doubles and swapping between units to fill patrols. And everyone has their temperature checked before they start work.
An increasing number of police departments around the country are watching their ranks get sick as the number of coronavirus cases explodes across the U.S. The growing tally raises questions about how laws can and should be enforced during the pandemic, and about how departments will hold up as the virus spreads among those whose work puts them at increased risk of infection.
…officers are used to risk. It’s part of the job. But at a time when Americans are being advised to stay six feet from each other to combat an insidious virus that can live on surfaces for days, the perils and anxieties are new. This crisis is unlike any American police forces have dealt with before, said former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.
“We’re in unprecedented territory here,” said Davis, who led the police department when the Boston Marathon bombing happened in 2013.
…While the pandemic has so far hit American cities hardest, rural law enforcement agencies with few staff are in some ways most vulnerable.
In the tiny West Texas community of Marfa, Police Chief Estevan Marquez instructed his four officers not to pull over cars for minor traffic infractions, especially if they’re passing through from areas already hit by the virus.