I’m always snapping the waxing crescent Moon so here’s the waning gibbous Moon for a change. I took this on the trails above Abriachan around midnight on Friday, after a very wet and stormy evening in the camper van.
The word ‘wane’ is associated with weakness or sickness, and describes the diminishing aspect of the Moon after full. There’s a clear analogy of birth and death in the phases of the Moon that no doubt fascinated our forebears.
Astronomers often give the Moon a rough time due to its habit of spoiling dark skies, but it’s undoubtably one of the most mesmerising objects to look at. A complete world with the most incredible impact scars, recording the chaotic and violent formation of our solar system.
Observing the Moon each night is a dynamic experience as the terminator – the band where light meets dark – drifts back and forth across the lunar surface, revealing new features to contemplate. In a telescope the terminator itself is a wonderful region to view, revealing kilometre long shadows from mountains and crater rims. I like to imagine myself standing on the Moon in these regions, watching the Sun setting low on the lunar horizon.