We know it’s impossible to look at the sun for more than a few minutes in a row, let alone for more than a few hours. But everything from bread to coffee to the largest fireworks display on the planet can be served over the moon. And on that lunar night, June 8, 2019, we thought we’d take it all in.
(ED: It was *just* a little bit cloudy.)
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What a moon! Rounding out the month, June ushered in the lunar cycle that began on May 1, with the First Quarter Moon. For many, this made the spectacular moon look even more spectacular — there was the same ring of bright light, like a battle-scarred arrow. It also appeared relatively close together, of course, as this moonset came during the waning gibbous phase. In fact, the full moon on June 3 is almost directly in the path of totality for the first total lunar eclipse of the summer, about a month and a half from now.
People can get pretty excited about seeing the moon. Everyone knows that it looks different from top to bottom, because the moon is a different color depending on what’s in its orbit around our planet.
We only have a narrow line of sight, between the Earth and the sun, to view our moon. On average, it’s about 239,000 miles (384,400 kilometers) away — which means if you stood on Earth, you’d be looking at the moon from 4,700 miles (7,200 kilometers) away. And if you stand at the equator, you’d be looking at the moon from 926 miles (1,510 kilometers) away. That’s the distance between the Earth and the moon — the distance it takes for one hour and 38 minutes to go around Earth once.
As you’d expect, the color changes depending on what’s happening in the moon’s orbit. While we’re still waiting for the moon to take a dark red hue, back when we first discovered the moon, it still had a yellowish hue. The color also varies depending on the moon’s phases. Some moons, like the First Quarter Moon, are light and brownish. The total lunar eclipse is the reddest-looking moon of the year, for that matter.
Historically, in ancient cultures, the moon was significant for connection to the Sun and the Earth. Using the legends and mythologies in these cultures, the discoverers may have seen the moon as an axis point, or even an ancestral magic mark, according to NASA. The results were even depicted on waxing and waning moons — at best.