September 10th, 2011

Photos of the Week: False Moon, Real Moon

Posted in Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Canada, Environment, United States by Christopher DeWolf

Tribute in Light: Red Hook Brooklyn

“Tribute in Light,” a September 11th memorial, seen from Brooklyn.
Photo by Chris Arnade

It’s almost Mid-Autumn Festival here in Hong Kong, a time of year when people gather outside to light lanterns and stare up at the full harvest moon. As with all Chinese festivals, there’s a story behind it — in this case, a woman is said to have swallowed a pill of immortality and found herself stranded on the moon, which happens to be home to a rabbit — but mainly it’s an excuse for families to play outdoors at a time when they’d normally be watching TV at home.

Mid-Autumn always reminds me of another story, which comes from the Logo Cities project a few years back. Late on a winter night, a young man was out in downtown Montreal when he remarked upon an exceptionally low-hanging moon, only to realize a second later that it was actually the corporate logo on the top of the Complexe Desjardins. The same thing happened to me when I was in Montreal earlier this summer — “Wow, the moon is low tonight,” I thought. There’s something about the white and green colours of the logo that is surprisingly lunar.

There’s always a lot of talk about the way that urban light pollution obscures the night sky. Looking up at night, I’m lucky to see a few stars, but at this latitude, I should be able to see the entire sweep of the Milky Way. Instead, there’s the moon — and all the artificial sources of light that serve as false moons. Sometimes, when the sky is exceptionally hazy, the sun is so weak that it, too, begins to resemble the moon, small and weak enough to stare at with the naked eye.

the opening in the sky

Sun through broken clouds, Montreal.
Photo by Lou Musacchio

...As Daylight Approaches...

Early morning moon, New York.
Photo by Keith B. Goldstein

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