Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Night Moves

Mountain Unstandard Time

Sunset, unenlightened

So I'm sitting at Popeye's at about 7:45 PM, writing the beginning of this journal entry in my head.  I just finished photographing the sunset. It's the second day of summer, the second or third longest "day" of the year; but I look outside and it's dark.  In the words of my SuperBuddy, Sunny, "Night has come."

Sunset comes early, and darkness falls quickly.

When I was a kid in Manlius, an early summer sunset would happen around 8:30 PM, and it wouldn't get fully dark until about 9 PM.  But that was in Central New York, latitude 42.98N.  This is Tucson, latitude only 32.22N.  Furthermore, Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time.  The same thing that gives the Arctic its long summer days and long winter nights gives Tucson shorter summer days and shorter winter nights than Manlius, NY or Columbus, OH.  And the permanent MST keeps all the summer stuff happening roughly an hour earlier than in Denver.  Bottom line: sunset comes early on summer nights, and night falls fast.

Shame on the Moon

Where is the moon?

Now you'd think that with Tucson's low humidity, clear skies and unadjusted time zone that summer's full moon would rise at sunset.  John Scalzi, Chuck Ferris, Carly and others have said it's a spectacular one, this moon that was officially full last night. It's supposed to be extra big-looking.  I love that kind of moon. Too bad I didn't get to see it!  There was no sign of the thing when I came out of Popeye's around 8:00 PM.  There was some cloud cover, part of the process of building toward the monsoon, but usually I can see the moon through the clouds.  Not tonight.  See the moon in the picture above?  Neither do I, but that's where it should have appeared.  No, that bright spot is not the moon.  It's a streetlight.

Not quite 8 PM.  Night has come!

But okay, maybe I was out a few minutes too early, or the moon hadn't had time to clear the Rincon Mountains.  So I took a few pictures of the night on my way home.  There was lightning on the horizon in the western sky, but far too infrequently to be captured in the picture above.  So I gave up, and went in to watch some Stargate SG1 on DVD. 

I went back outside about 9:30 PM.  I figured that by then, I'd probably missed the moonrise, the cool part when the moon is near the horizon and looks incredibly large.  Well, maybe I did, but it's impossible to tell.  No moon appeared over my house.  There wasn't even a bright spot in the cloud cover.  I walked between the houses, in case they were between me and the moon.  Nothing.  I walked across the street, hoping for a better angle and better clearance of the neighborhood horizon.  Didn't help.  I got in my car and drove a mile or two east on Golf Links.  Still no moon!  Shame on the moon!  It's MIA tonight!



Unretouched, except to correct the angle and resize.

Tucson Weather Conditions (NWS Tucson)


gaboatman said...

Well, you may have missed the moon, but that is a spectacular sunset.

rap4143 said...

Outstanding photos. You should never leave home without your camera, your photos prove my point!!!!

ondinemonet said...

Karen :)

These are gorgeous! What a fabulous sunset! :)

Always, Carly :)

deabvt said...

Stargate SG-1!!!

shellys555 said...

Great color in these shots, Karen. :)

ryanagi said...

Well...the sunset photos are incredible, even if you can't see the moon. I've been meaning to go outside and check it out myself, but we also have dense cloud cover right now.

ladyhasflava said...