I’ve always thought a blue moon was actually blue, like a red sunset was red.
Apparently not. It’s actually the name we give to the second full moon in a cycle and is a fairly rare occurrence. It seems kind of fitting that a week after Neil Armstrong’s death we are experiencing a blue moon.
I’ve always had a fascination for the stars. I had a wonderful proper telescope when I was about 12 and used to stand upstairs on our balcony in our family home in Auckland even in the cold of winter to stare at our moon and pick out the moons circling Jupiter.
So far away.
Sadly I gave the telescope away in my early twenties, and haven’t yet replaced it. It doesn’t seem to be a sensible thing to do when we can’t really see the stars fully- even out here in the countryside – with the light pollution in the UK. It was just gone 930pm on an early Autumn night when I took that photo above and as you can see it’s not entirely dark. It doesn’t get dark until late in the night at this time of the year.
And whenever I look up at the stars there’s always the slight disappointment I cannot see the Southern Cross. I still look for it, in vain, and when I can’t pick it out it just reminds me of how far away I am from the South Pacific.
When I was studying history I was told the young ANZACs returning from Gallipoli, cried when they spied the familiar off-centre shape of the Southern Cross. Whenever I’m ‘home’ I look out for it too. I first find the false Cross, which is far more diamond shaped than the real thing, and then find the pointers (Alpha and Beta Centauri) – the two stars off to the side and two of the brightest in the night sky – and then follow their track to the Southern Cross.
But just the other day I learnt something new about this familiar almost cliche symbol of the Antipodes. I learnt that the positions of the constellations move over time, and that the Southern Cross hasn’t always hung resolutely and solely in the Southern skies. At the time of Christ’s crucifixion for example, the Southern Cross (or Crux) could be seen hanging low on the southern horizon in Jerusalem.
Funny that, eh. Like the blue moon, is not really blue at all, the Southern Cross is still there in the northern sky…even if I cannot see it.
And maybe it’s not so far away, after all.
#FMSphotoadaysept from Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day Challenge