February’s Super Snow Moon was magical in more ways than simply beautiful. The unusual mirage captured during the Moon’s rise was seen by other Cape Ann photographers as well as myself. Lisa Freed from Rockport photographed the omega shape, rising adjacent to Motif No.1.
The effect has several names including Omega Moonrise, Etruscan Vase Moonrise, and Inferior Mirage Moonrise. The omega shape is seen more often during a sunrise, so it is quite exciting that we were witness to an Omega Moonrise on Cape Ann!
From my reading, this is how I understand why it occurs:
During cold weather, when the seawater is warmer than the air, the lowermost air layer is warmed up by the water and produces a temperature difference.
This omega shape is a type of inferior mirage. The refracted (inverted) image is actually below the object’s true position. When the Moon protrudes above the horizon at Moonrise, its inferior mirage can sometimes be seen below it, where it joins the true Moon, creating an omega shape. For this mirage to occur, a layer of very warm air must lie just above the sea surface.
Last night’s moonrise over the Back Shore was spectacular. Click on the sequence above to see full size. I don’t know why the Moon has a “neck” in the middle photo, or what that reflective appearance is termed, but it was so interesting to see.
February’s Snow Moon was also a Super Moon. It was the the second of a trio of Super Moons taking place in 2019. The Super Snow Moon was also the largest of the three (closest to Earth). The third and final Super Moon of the year is taking place on March 21st.
Our Charlotte loves looking at the Moon, so when she popped up in bed at 5:30 in the morning and exclaimed Moon!, I bundled her up and off we went to see the Moon setting over the Harbor. I wrote last month that she loves looking up in the sky for the Moon, largely from reading her the story book Good Night, Moon, and now we are reading Buenos Noches, Luna, practicing for an upcoming trip to Mexico.
The double crosses of the bell tower holding the Moon
December’s Full Snow Moon, also named the Cold Moon
* * *
About the architecture of Our Lady of Good Voyage from the National Park Service –
A fire destroyed the original church in 1914. Prominent architect Halfdan M. Hanson designed and immediately began building the existing, unique Mission style church, which replaced the earlier church. It is the only Mission style church in Gloucester. Modeled after a church in the Azores, Our Lady of Good Voyage consists of two distinct sections: the two-story main worship space that is of a cruciform plan and an L-shaped rectory that extends from the northwest corner of the main worship space. The rectory, which was built between 1872 and 1884 as a separate building, was incorporated into the new church. Resting on a granite foundation, the building is covered in a buff-colored stucco. Flanked by two identical bell towers, the central bay of the façade is pierced by the main entrance at the first level. A rose window adorns the second level, above which rises an ogee pediment supporting a pedestal and a statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage, who holds a boat in her left hand as a symbol of a safe voyage. In 1922, bells were installed in the towers. These bells, still in place today, were cast by John Taylor & Company of England-the same foundry that cast Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell.
Snapshots from the time lapse filming – The day before the Nor’easter Riley, the early morning air was so still and calm, I was able to photograph while filming. That isn’t always the case because the slightest wind will jostle the movie camera and wreck a time lapse. Usually, you have to hold the tripod down with a death grip to get a good time lapse.
The full moon of February is most often called the Snow Moon, but some Native American tribes called it the Hunger Moon or the Storm Moon. After this past week’s nor’easter, I think perhaps Storm Moon is most apt. The full moon actually took place over the cusp of February 28th and March 1st, and just as it occurred in the month of January 2018 when we had two full moons, the end of March will bring a Blue Moon.
Hedwig is the gift that keeps on giving! What a joy to see her awakening in the rising full moon last night. She preened and fluffed, then flew through the moonlight to a nearby phone pole.
The wind was whipping up and ruffling Hedwig’s feathers, making her look extra fine in the glow of the Snow Moon rising.
While I am sorting through the challenges of one of the hard drives for my Monarch film crashing, I have been organizing the Snowy footage. Captured in photos and on film, we have her bathing, passing a pellet, pooping, eating, flying, and much more, and is going to make a terrific short film. It’s a mystery to me exactly where she goes when she disappears for several days and I am hoping to document every aspect of her stay in Gloucester. She has been spotted at several locales in East Gloucester, Salt Island, and Twin Lights but, if by chance, she is a regular visitor to your yard, please write and let me know. The best way to keep the information from becoming public knowledge is to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also looking for a few minutes of footage of a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) as they are closely related to Snowies (Bubo scandiacus), so please write and let me know if you have a resident Great Horned Owl. Thank you so much for any leads given 🙂