“The day, water, sun, moon, night – I do not have to purchase these with money.”
Last Sunday evening, we were making our way down the coast. The traffic reflected the “full swing” of the summer season: bumper-to- bumper vehicles from Pismo Beach all the way home to La Crescenta. The usual 3½ hour trip lengthened into a 5½ hour one. No complaints here because the travel time was well worth it. June weather along the coast is, for the most part, unreliable. Most of us have experienced “the great escape” from the heat in Crescenta Valley only to arrive at a foggy, cold beach. We were fortunate, though; the temperatures were a balmy 78 degrees under clear skies. Besides the stellar weather, we witnessed an awesome astronomical phenomena … brought he lyrics of “Moonlight on The Water” to mind.
While we watched the sun from the San Simeon pier slip below the horizon, a full moon was rising in the east. It is no revelation to most of us that the moon rises at sunset every lunar month (28 days). But on the 23rd of June, we witnessed a “super moon.” Basically, this is a full moon that coincides with the lunar perigee, or the point in the moon’s obit when it swings closest to Earth.
Since ancient times, scientists have questioned this event. At this time, the moon will appear 15% larger and 20% brighter. Many consider it a trick of the brain or a “moon illusion” because the moon’s size never actually changes. Try to catch these full moons as they rise/set, as the illusion works best with a background contrast of trees, mountains and buildings.
The enormity of the moon certainly captured our full attention. But it didn’t stop there as another piece of “nature’s art” was appearing at yet another gallery. As we came around a curve, the reflection of the moon was captured by the oceans waters. A brilliant shimmering light hit the indigo blue canvas of the ocean. A sight worthy of Van Gogh.
No cool ocean breezes here for real summer weather has arrived. A large high pressure system has formed and an escalating heat wave will be with us well into next week. Record high temperatures are predicted with days reaching 105 to 110 degrees possible. The chirping of crickets will accompany as temperatures of 70 degrees keep the clear summer nights warm.
As mentioned in past columns, summer nights make the daytime heat almost tolerable.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley
resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.