Here are some photos of the Moon taken over the last six days, as it progressed from the waxing gibbous phase to full to the waning gibbous phase.

Wednesday evening, July 21st: The waxing gibbous moon, 94% illuminated, broke through the clouds, about 20 degrees above the ESE horizon. Seen against the blue background of early twilight, you can see some relief in the craters along the sunrise terminator at the left edge of the Moon. The straw color was, in part, due to viewing the Moon through the denser atmosphere near the horizon; water vapor in the air, due to recent showers; and smoke particulates from distant wildfires.

Thursday evening, July 22nd: The Moon increased to 97% illuminated, as the sunrise terminator moved west. The dark oval crater, Grimaldi, can be seen just inside the terminator (its position is between 7 and 8 o’clock). Grimaldi’s invisible in Wednesday’s photo.

Friday evening, July 23rd: The full moon’s face is devoid of relief since the Sun is shining directly onto the entire visible surface, as seen from Earth. It’s early morning on the left side of the image; local noon at the center; and late afternoon on the right edge.

Saturday evening, July 24th: Now in the waning gibbous phase, the Moon played cat and mouse with the clouds along the ESE horizon. This photo was taken after dark, when the Moon had cleared the clouds that had massed along the ESE horizon. Notice that relief can now be seen on the upper right edge since the sunset terminator has now moved into view.

Monday morning, July 26th: Sunday night was cloudy, so I got up before dawn Monday and took some photos of the Moon in partly cloudy skies. This photo was taken around 6:30am MDT. Notice how the orientation of the Moon has changed since it’s now setting rather than rising. Also, now that the phase is well past full, you can see significant relief along the sunset terminator on the right — the sunlight is low on that section of the Moon and shadows abound. Despite the partly cloudy skies, the seeing (a measure of how turbulent the atmosphere is – turbulence degrades image clarity) was good to excellent, allowing for greater image clarity, as compared to the earlier photos.

MOON MOODS

During this period, the Moon exhibited different moods as it crossed the sky amidst monsoon clouds. Here are some of the moods created by the Moon.

Friday evening, July 23rd: A yellowish full moon rose in clear ESE skies. The scene filled me with a sense of awe. The photo was taken about 20 minutes after the Moon was exactly full.

Saturday morning, July 24th: The Moon was partially hidden by clouds as it began to set in the WSW. The scene reminded me of old horror movies. The only thing missing was the howling of our local coyotes.

Sunday morning, July 25th: The Moon seemed to sail behind a veil of cloud, lighting the landscape in an eerie half-light.

Sunday morning, July 25th: As dawn brightened, the color of the sky changed from dark to light blue and the Moon transitioned from stark white to pale yellow.

Sunday evening, July 25th: The waning gibbous moon rising behind a thin cloud cover reminded me of Halloweens past.

Monday morning, July 26th: The Moon and Jupiter made a nice pair in the sky. Jupiter was so bright (Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth is about three weeks away), that you could still see it (lower right) with the naked eye, several minutes after sunrise. At night, the Moon serves as a celestial lantern, illuminating the landscape with dim light. But, seen in daytime, the Moon serves no visible function, becoming an ornament in the sky.