Thursday, October 13, 2011

Behind-The-Scenes On Ten Thirteen

So today is October 13th and last year I did a couple of posts about the old TV show, “The X-Files,” on 10/13 because fans remember that the production company of that show was called “Ten Thirteen Productions.”

Ten Thirteen Unanswered Questions #1

Ten Thirteen Unanswered Questions #2

This year I don’t have anything more to say about “The X-Files.” I was never a big fan of the show. I was only interested in the show, really, because Gillian Anderson was—and still is!—so beautiful and because I always thought the show was so influential in establishing cell phones as hip products. So this date gives me an excuse, at least, to put up a completely gratuitous photo of Gillian Anderson.


I don’t have anything special for today, so I’m going to say a couple of behind-the-scene things about my first three posts this week, a kind of trilogy, about the Moon. And that will lead to one little possibly interesting thing about astronomy.

I got the idea to do three posts about the Moon at some point over the weekend. I was working on a couple of music things and at first I was going to film myself playing something, but this isn’t really a music blog and when I do music I like to work it into the blog format somehow.

So then I thought I’d write something about the kind of music I was playing and working on. And since the Moon was going to be full this week I thought I’d write something about music and the Moon.

When The Night Shapes Itself

Clouds Drift As If They’re Listening

You And Me, I Mean, Mare Carminum

(The idea of three posts about the Moon came about because I’m a big fan of werewolf stories and, although many modern werewolf stories have shape-shifters that can become wolves any time they want, in “classic” werewolf stories a werewolf has no control over the shape-shifting and, typically, turns into a wolf three nights a month—the night before the full Moon, the night of the full Moon and the night after the full Moon. So I thought it would be fun to do three posts on those nights.)

This is how I made those posts.

On Monday night, I took a few photos of the Moon, sorted through them until I found one I liked, and then I wrote the post to go with the image, just improvising things as I went along.

On Tuesday I used the same procedure, taking a few photos and then writing something to go with a photo I liked. I tried to write something that followed-on from Monday, and could lead to something interesting Wednesday.

On Wednesday I worked a little differently. I wrote the text for Wednesday during the late afternoon, trying to tie together topics from Monday and Tuesday, and add a larger context, something that would bring all three posts together. Then, since I talked about lunar features in the text, I knew I’d want to get a telephoto image of the Moon.

I knew clouds were moving in, so I checked the Moon-rise time and grabbed a picture as soon as I could. Right after I took that picture, the sky became completely cloudy.

I was really happy with the way the “trilogy” came out, even though I wrote them all separately without doing any note-taking or pre-planning for all three. I was very lucky, too, that the sky cooperated the way it did, with thin clouds for two nights, and then just enough clear sky for me to get one detailed photo.

That concludes the set of three posts, but at some point in the future I will have more to say about Molly Malone and Oh My Darling Clementine, and folk melodies in general.

(Over the weekend, I worked out an arrangement for a favorite old rock song, a song with a melody made up of related sequences of eight-bar phrases. And I’d been thinking about how folk melodies are usually very simple, even more simple than rock songs, yet folk melodies have persisted in our awareness for—in many cases—more than a century. Simple melodies are interesting, yet so many contemporary musicians seem to pride themselves on creating complicated, even convoluted, melodies. That’s an interesting dichotomy that I will be thinking about more.)

Anyway, the photo from Wednesday leads me to one interesting little bit of astronomy.

Here at the blog, I’ve used two telephoto images of the Moon.

The first was back in a post called, “Sense Of Place.”

The images are both small—I took these with my point-and-shoot camera with the telephoto at maximum, which is similar to 10x binoculars.

But if you look very carefully, you can see what a difference two days can make on the Moon.

The first photo from “Sense Of Place” was taken just before the full Moon. The second photo from “You And Me, I Mean, Mare Carminum” was taken just after the full Moon.

You can see the differences at the very far edges of the east and west limbs of the Moon, that is, the far right and the far left of each image.

I’ve grabbed the Moon images from each picture here:

Just before the illumination is total, in the first image, if you look very closely at the left edge of the Moon and compare the left edge in both images, you can see the illumination is a tiny fraction less complete on the first image than on the second.

Just after the full Moon, in the second image, if you look very closely at the right edge, at the Sea of Crises, the small round crater at the upper right, and compare both images, you can see the shadow line has just started moving onto the lunar disk in the second image.

The sky is always interesting. Sometimes it’s little things, sometimes it’s big things. But the sky is always interesting. If you want to look, the sky always gives you something to look at.

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