As high and low tides are the earth’s oceans’ response to the moon’s gravity on a large scale, so are women’s menstrual cycles on a smaller scale. Whether we are greatly or hardly affected by our close (relatively speaking) cosmic neighbor, whether it depresses or impresses us, it has inspired humankind since we have had the capacity to observe its wanderings across the sky. Long before we understood that it revolves around the earth, as the earth does around the sun, we tried to explain its regular appearances and disappearances.

In ancient Greek mythology, the moon was thought to represent the Goddess Selene riding her silver chariot across the firmament at night, just as her brother, Sun God Helios, moved across the day sky in his golden chariot. The scientific terms selenology and selenography (the astronomical study of the moon, and the study of the physical features of the moon, respectively), still commemorate that divine lady of the night.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover cursor over it.

Our ancestors prayed or sacrificed to it, or joined wild canines in howling at it. January’s first full moon is known as Wolf Moon, named after the hungry wolves that vocally lament scarce food offerings in the midst of the coldest and darkest month of the year. Its monthly waxing and waning are obvious to anybody who takes the time to gaze at the heavens, and special celestial events, such as eclipses, have always brought out admirers, just as it did a few days ago, when a Wolf Moon, which was simultaneously a Super Moon (a full moon that appeared larger and brighter, as its orbit reached the perigee, the shortest possible distance from the earth), was involved in a total lunar eclipse, thereby being transformed into a Blood Moon (in which the fully eclipsed moon took on a reddish color).

I am not one to set my alarm at 3 o’clock in the morning to witness most astronomical happenings, but I like to be aware of the lunar cycles. Even before I learned about this month’s planetary spectacle, I had sorted through some of my old moon photographs to prepare a blog post. As the sky in Colorado Springs was clear on January 20, and I did not have to set my alarm for the middle of the night, I was able to add a few additional lunar impressions to share with my follow moon lovers.

Complete lunar eclipse and Blood Moon (as “blood-red” as it gets with my limited technical skills)

47 thoughts on “Moonstruck

  1. Yay! You nailed ‘em! So hard to capture crisp moon images (with a DSLR mirror lock-up and shutter delay is necessary), but your homework certainly paid off. Which camera did you use?

    I enjoyed the history and science behind our beloved satellite. As we captured the super blue blood moon last year, I didn’t bother climbing out of my comfy bed (or staying up late) to shoot the wolf moon.

    Great post, Tanja! *Ahwooooooo*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that great Texas howl, Shannon. I hate to admit my ignorance, but there was no homework, and I still use mainly the automatic camera setting of my old Canon Power Shot XL 30. I played around between auto, program, and low light settings, but the automatic tended to show the moon most how it appeared to my eye.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You deserve credit for taking the initiative.

    Many English speakers don’t realize that the word month is based on moon. Changes in vowel sounds have made the connection less obvious than in the cognate German Monat and Mond.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sehr schön, Tanja! Ich war natürlich glücklich, die komplette Mondfinsternis zu sehen.
    Die nächste wird Silvester 2028 sein. Da ist es nicht unwahrscheinlich, dass dieser WolfsMond mein letzter war. Glück gehabt 🙂
    Dein Bericht gefällt mir sehr.
    Liebe Grüße

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These photographs are gorgeous! I’ve never been able to get even a halfway decent photo of the moon. Like you, I feel the pull and magic of the moon, but have only been able to express it with haiku. Thanks for these lovely photos. Would you mind if I use one or more of them the next time a moon haiku lands in my heart, with attribution?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tanja – Wonderful post! It is interesting because I had just read some poetry that had been inspired by the moon and then I read your blog. Synchronicity! Your photos are lovely. I enjoyed learning about how mythology impacted science and the study of the moon. Thank you for such an interesting post. -Jill

    Liked by 1 person

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