Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts

31 January 2013

Full Moon rising

We take an unusual look at our nearest neighbour in the Solar System, the Moon. Watch it rise, with some unanticipated activity in the foreground, and then ponder some things you may not have considered before.

Full Moon
This remarkable video by Australian Mark Gee shows the Moon rising in an unexpected way in the New Zealand evening sky. There are many things to notice about this scene and I'll go through them below the embedded video. But please watch it first, you will not be disappointed!

You can watch it right here on the page. But I strongly recommend that you click the full screen control (the four arrow symbol at bottom right) and if you have a good internet connection, also make sure you view it in HD.

Come back here after you watch it, scroll down the page a little, and we'll talk about what you have just watched.



Big Moon or small people? - Mark was using a good telephoto lens here. Imagine looking at a nearly full Moon rising above a distant hill line with people walking along the ridge. They'd be silhouetted against the bright Moon but they be almost too small to see. In this shot both the Moon and the people are magnified by the same amount.

Fuzzy and shimmering Moon - Look at the edge of the Moon. Do you see the constant disturbance of what would should be a sharp and smooth edge? This is due to temperature differences along the line of sight. The density and refractive index of the air depend on temperature. You can see the same effect above a road surface on a hot day, or above a hot roof. Objects behind the shimmering air wobble and move continually.

Steady people - Take a careful look at the people and the grass and the fence line. Are they shimmering too? No! But why not? The answer may not be immediately obvious. There's a great distance of air between the camera and the Moon, much less between the camera and the people. Most of the disturbed air is way beyond the people, between them and the Moon.

Where's the Sun? - As a full Moon rises, the Sun sets on the opposite horizon. At times other than full Moon this is not the case. Sometimes both Sun and Moon will be in the sky at the same time. At other times both may be below the horizon. New Moon, when they are both in the same part of the sky, is a good time for astronomers because the sky is nice and dark all night long.

So why is there no sunlight? - If the Sun is setting as the full Moon rises, why can't we see its light on the people and the vegetation? If you'd been there at the time you'd have thought the sky was quite light, there may indeed have been a lovely glow behind you as you looked at the Moon. But the full Moon would have been brighter than the remaining light from the Sun and the camera was set to record the Moon, not the people.

Also, this Moon is not perfectly full. Notice that the right-hand edge of the Moon is sharper and brighter than the left-hand edge. The Sun had already dipped below the horizon before the Moon made its appearance.

Isn't the Moon moving the wrong way? - In the UK where I live, the Moon moves steadily to the right as it rises. But this Moon moves steadily left! Why? It moves to the right in the USA too, and indeed anywhere north of the equator. But in the southern hemisphere the Moon moves left. If you're a northerner imagine standing on your head. Now which way would the Moon seem to move - left or right? It moves from east to west wherever you live.

And it's upside down! - Indeed it is. But so are Australians. Or we northerners are, it depends who you ask.

It's more yellow than I expected - That's because it's made of well-matured cheese. I thought everyone knew that.

The real reason is that we are looking at it through a lot of atmosphere. Air scatters blue light (which is why the daylight sky looks blue). Near the horizon both the Sun and the Moon appear yellow or orange, or even reddish. As they rise higher they have less and less air to shine through so the orange effect is lost and a Moon high in the sky appears white (though in fact it's a rather dark grey). The night sky is dark and the Moon appears intensely white because of the high contrast.

More about the video - Mark Gee tells the story of making this video in his own words; it's well worth reading so do go and take a look. Mark's video was made on 28th January and featured on 'Astronomy Picture of the Day' (APOD) on 30th January.

Questions:

  • We live in a truly astounding universe. What is the most amazing thing you have ever seen?
  • Are you surprised to see how fast the Moon rises?
  • How do you feel when you watch this video?

See also:

28 February 2011

Brampton - An easy prayer turned hard

< 22nd February 2011 | Index | 3rd March 2011 >

Meeting with Sean this evening provided an unexpected dimension to prayer and faith. What began as a simple prayer for children to be happy turned into a deeply significant personal challenge. Life with Yahshua is full of surprises.

Whatever our age, we are all childrenI suppose by now nothing should surprise me! Here's what happened.

We sat drinking coffee and I wittered on for a while about the situation in North Africa, and Libya in particular. Not particularly illuminating stuff, but something that has preoccupied me over recent days. Sean listened but had little to add as he's been busy with other things of his own.

The prayer - Over the weeks and months he has been working his way through prayer circles on a T-shirt. Here's Sean's explanation. Read what he says and then come back here. If you don't, what follows may be a bit of a mystery.

I asked how this process was going, and wondered if it would be OK to pray about one or two of the circles together. Sean thought that would be a good plan and picked one out at random. We looked at it together, someone had written, 'For all children to be happy'.

What a lovely prayer request; simple, pure, and certainly worthy. I thought, 'What an easy thing to pray for.' Boy, was I wrong to think that!

The problem - As we began to pray, this 'simple' prayer challenged me more and more about my own faith. Perhaps the words 'all' and 'be' are the main problem. Do I have the faith to go to Father and ask, in Jesus name, that all children will be happy? All children? There is so much pain and suffering in the world and children are not immune. Here are some of the issues faced by children every day in our world - hunger, pain, sickness, abuse, no parents, uncaring parents, poverty, dirty drinking water, isolation, bullying, loneliness, fear, violence, self doubt, abandonment, loss... The list could go on, add some more yourself.

How can I ask for all children to be happy? It's easy to say the words so let's rephrase that. How can I believe that such a prayer will be answered? It seems easier to pray for one child with a particular known issue to be met. 'Father, please bring happiness into the life of {name goes here}'. But all children?

Yahshua loves children. He told his disciples not to prevent the little ones coming to him. He told them that unless they themselves came like small children they wouldn't even enter the Kingdom of heaven! (Mark 10:13-16)

Challenged - Whoever wrote that simple T-shirt prayer could not have known that they were setting me such a mighty challenge! The Holy Spirit didn't make it easier for me; he told me, 'If you can't pray for such a simple thing, how will you be able to ask for anything more difficult?'

I recognise that the Creator and King of this universe truly loves every child and certainly has no wish to keep any of them from happiness. Jesus himself walked through this same broken world and saw (and felt) the suffering and pain for himself. Love is the answer, but it's an answer he wants me to live out in practical ways as part of his body. I may be an ear, an eye, a foot or a hand. I must play my part by hearing or seeing suffering and going and reaching out in love.

I've rarely felt more challenged. What about you? Do you have views or thoughts about prayer and faith? Why not leave a comment? Let's have a discussion.

You can see more of Sean's T-shirt prayer circles on his 'Children in Need' Prayer Spot. The photo is image 54 from a collection on the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

< 22nd February 2011 | Index | 3rd March 2011 >

24 February 2011

RESPONSE - Noah in Christchurch

It's still possible (even likely) that a few more survivors may be pulled from the devastation that is Christchurch right now. But the focus is already moving to recovering bodies and restoring vital services. In the middle of the destruction comes an item about Noah and Kate Cremisimo.

Position of Christchurch (red circle)Noah and Kate moved to Christchurch, New Zealand from Denver, USA. They are church planters focussing especially on starting small, organic and reproducible expressions of church life, mostly meeting in homes, offices, and other small settings.

Noah writes that although their home suffered only minor damage and seems to be structurally sound, there is no power, no water, and no sewerage and none of those services are likely to be restored soon because damage is so widespread. Clearly, repairing the city's infrastructure is urgent and important but saving lives has to be the priority.

We should all pray for the people of Christchurch in their current distress and need. But in addition to that, Noah has a further prayer request. He writes...

Please pray that God will birth hundreds of simple communities from this situation... especially considering that SO many institutional churches will be unusable for quite a while.

Every church family is precious, whether it's small and informal or large and institutional in nature. But perhaps these small, local forms of church have the nimbleness and local knowledge to help their immediate neighbours in ways that are particularly appropriate during the aftermath of an earthquake.

Pray for Noah and Kate, for their friends and neighbours, and for the local church in every size and shape and form, that they will be at the forefront of helping those around them. Together as one family serving one Almighty Father may they be able to make a real difference.

Matthew 25:31-46 seems relevant here. There will be many in Christchurch and the surrounding area who will be hungry, thirsty, friendless, sick or without shelter or money or suitable clothes. There will be some who are grief-stricken, not knowing where to turn, without friends or family. Some will need practical help, many will just need a listening ear. And some may need emotional support for years to come. May the church bless them all and provide whatever they need.

Noah and Kate will be in the thick of it. And later they will have some extraordinary stories to tell - but not just yet.

You can learn more about Noah and Kate at 'Stories from the Revolution'.

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