Super Moon Total Lunar Eclipse by Kenneth Raymond
On the night of Sunday, May 15th, a lunar eclipse will begin at 10:28 pm with total eclipse (when the moon turns red) occurring at 12:11 am. The red cast of the moon at total eclipse has inexplicably become popularized as a “blood moon” in recent years. NASA’s page on viewing the total lunar eclipse gives viewing information & explains why the moon turns red during a lunar eclipse:
The same phenomenon that makes our sky blue and our sunsets red causes the Moon to turn red during a lunar eclipse. It’s called Rayleigh scattering. Light travels in waves, and different colors of light have different physical properties. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and is scattered more easily by particles in Earth’s atmosphere than red light, which has a longer wavelength.
Red light, on the other hand, travels more directly through the atmosphere. When the Sun is overhead, we see blue light throughout the sky. But when the Sun is setting, sunlight must pass through more atmosphere and travel farther before reaching our eyes. The blue light from the Sun scatters away, and longer-wavelength red, orange, and yellow light pass through.
During a lunar eclipse, the Moon turns red because the only sunlight reaching the Moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear. It’s as if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the Moon.
Kenneth took this in Detroit back in September of 2015 during the super moon total eclipse. See more in his The Night Sky gallery on Flickr and view & purchase prints & other products on his website.
Dark Skies at Rockport Recreation Area by SG Captures
Michigan State Parks, Trails and Waterways shared this photo from the Rockport State Recreation Area, asking: What are you doing to do to celebrate #InternationalDarkSkyWeek?
Michigan is lucky to have designated areas that host spectacular nighttime viewing. Dark sky parks and preserves have a limited amount of artificial light, making it easier to stargaze in those locations. Dark sky preserves are designated by Michigan legislature and dark sky parks are designated by the International Dark Sky Association. The six state parks that have dark sky preserves are:
In addition to these dark sky preserves, there are two dark sky parks in Michigan:
And if that’s not enough, there is also plenty of excellent night-sky viewing opportunities across more than 15,000 square miles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For more details, visit Michigan.gov/DarkSky.
Sarah is a Michigan State Parks Photo Ambassador, and you should definitely check out her website where you can view & purchase her work as well as her Facebook & sg.captures on Instagram!
Off to the Races by Hannah Frames Moments
The annual UP 200, Midnight Run, and Jack Pine 30 Sled Dog races took place in Marquette & the surrounding area last weekend. They share that musher Ryan Anderson of Cushing, WI finished first in the 228-mile UP200 Dog Sled Race followed by Wade Marrs & Nick Vigilante. Michael Bestgen & Joanna Oberg had the top 2 finishes in the 82-mile Midnight Run, and Erin Schouweiler was the top finisher in the Jack Pine 30.
Get all the results at UP200.org.
The photo was taken by Hannah Wescott. You can see a bunch more on her Facebook page & for sure head over to her website to view & purchase her work!
U.F.O. by Kevin Ryan
The Winter Olympics open tonight, and I thought this stunning shot from the Grand Haven Ski Bowl that Kevin took back in 2010 is perfect for wishing all participants high flying & safe landing!
See more in Kevin’s Sports gallery on Flickr.
Before the Plows Come By by Ann Fisher
Ann captured a nice winter mood in this photo from a late December evening in Marquette. See more in her 2021 UP gallery on Flickr & thanks to all the hardworking plow drivers around the state!
Milky Way over Au Sable Point Lighthouse by Michigan Nut Photography
EarthSky says that the annual Geminid Meteor Shower that will peak next week is one of the year’s best:
The Geminids are a reliable shower for those who watch around 2 a.m. local time from a dark-sky location. We also often hear from those who see Geminid meteors in the late evening hours. This year, a waxing gibbous moon will be above the horizon during peak time for viewing. But it’ll set shortly afterwards, leaving the sky dark for watching meteors. Thus the best time to watch for Geminid meteors in 2021 is likely before dawn – say, from around 3 a.m. to dawn – on the morning of December 14.
It’s a somewhat narrow window for meteor-watching. But still worth a look!
On a dark night, near the peak of the shower, you can often catch 50 or more meteors per hour. On an optimum night for the Geminids, it’s possible to see 150 meteors per hour. A new moon on December 4 means that the peak of the shower coincides with a moon just a few days past first-quarter phase.
Click through for all the details but remember the key to success is finding dark skies!!
John took this back in May 2014 at the Au Sable Lighthouse in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. See more in his Starry Nights gallery on Flickr & view and purchase prints & calendars on his website.
Round Island Light, with a little moon added for effect by Tom Clark
Tom’s shot of Round Island Light off Mackinac Island just might be the most Michigan Halloween photo ever. See more in his Night scenes & after dark images gallery on Flickr & head over to Tom’s website to explore his photos.
If you want a spooky lighthouse, check out The Haunting of the White River Light on Michigan in Pictures & happy Halloween everyone!!
Bioluminescent Oyster Mushrooms by Jeff Baurs
It’s not every day that I learn something new about Michigan, but the fact that Michigan has mushrooms that produce their own illumination is a new one to me!! PlantSnap explains that Bitter Oyster Mushrooms (Panellus stipticus) are one of over 80 species of bioluminescent mushrooms:
The mushrooms use a class of molecules called luciferins, which paired with an enzyme and oxygen, release light. Panellus stipticus (also known as the bitter oyster) is one of the brightest-glowing examples of bioluminescent fungi. It is found throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. These flat mushrooms grow on tree branches creating a mesmerizing effect as soon as the sun goes down. Foragers are able to find this variety growing around birch, oak, and beech trees.
The luciferins found in bioluminescent mushrooms are the same compound found in fireflies and underwater creatures.
They recommend that the best way to find them is by identifying them in the daytime, and you can head over to It’s Nature for a look at the bitter oyster mushroom.
Jeff took this photo a couple nights ago in southwest Michigan (Barry County). You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for more great pics!
Neowise and meteor by Gary Syrba
In addition to being the season of cider, changing leaves, and Halloween, October also brings a pair of meteor showers. Our friends at EarthSky give you all you need to know to see the Draconid & Orionid meteor showers:
The Draconids, October 8th
In 2021, watch the Draconid meteors at nightfall and early evening on October 8. You might catch some on the nights before and after, as well. Fortunately, the thin waxing crescent moon sets before nightfall. It won’t hinder this year’s Draconid shower … This shower is usually a sleeper, producing only a handful of languid meteors per hour in most years. But watch out if the Dragon awakes! In rare instances, fiery Draco has been known to spew forth many hundreds of meteors in a single hour.
The Orionids, October 21st
Unfortunately a full moon accompanies 2021’s Orionid shower. Try watching for these meteors in the wee hours before dawn on October 21. You won’t escape the moon, though. On a dark, moonless night, the Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 10 to 20 meteors per hour. More meteors tend to fly after midnight, and the Orionids are typically at their best in the wee hours before dawn. The Orionids sometimes produce bright fireballs, which might be able to overcome a moonlit glare. If you trace these meteors backward, they seem to radiate from the Club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter.
Gary took this shot last summer. Head over to his Flickr for the latest!
Falling Skies by Heather Higham
Our friends at EarthSky share that August is THE month for meteor watching, with two major showers:
The Delta Aquariid meteor shower is long and rambling. You might catch a Delta Aquariid anytime from about July 12 to August 23 each year. The nominal peak falls on or near July 29. But don’t pay too much attention to that date; the shower typically provides a decent number of meteors for some days after and before it. In 2021, a bright waning gibbous moon will wash out a good number of Delta Aquariids in late July. As we move into early August, a much fainter waning crescent moon will be less intrusive. As always happens, when the Perseid meteor shower is rising to its peak (mornings of August 11, 12 and 13), the Delta Aquariids will still be flying, too.
In the Northern Hemisphere, we rank the August Perseids as our all-time favorite meteor shower … No matter where you live worldwide, the 2021 Perseid meteor shower will probably produce the greatest number of meteors on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. On the peak mornings in 2021 – in the early morning hours, when the most meteors will be flying – there’ll be no moon to ruin on the show.
Click those links for viewing tips & happy sky watching!
Heather took this photo back in 2016 on Loon Lake in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. See more in her Night Skies gallery. For sure follow her on Instagram @SnapHappyMichigan & view and purchase her work on her website.