Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Crescent Moon, Venus and Earthshine

Earthshine... what a lovely word! I probably learned it as a youth, but paying attention to science, history and math really wasn't my thing back then :)  Just imagine if illustrated nature journaling was part of my school's classroom curriculum.... ooh, la, la... what fun it would have been to learn these subjects through art!

Best seen during Crescent Moon phases (the one to five day period before or after a New Moon), Earthshine is caused by direct sunlight on the earth that reflects onto the Moon which creates the smoky glow of the shadowed portion of the moon.

Click on the Earthshine link above for great information from NASA including these goodies:
Scientists in recent years have found that Earthshine is most intense during the northern spring months of April and May.  I could only see a milky glow even through binoculars.  But during the spring, you'll be able to see the Moon's features :)

Leonardo Di Vinci explained this phenomenon nearly 500 years ago!

This sketch by Leonardo is part of the Codex Leicester, written by Da Vinci between 1506 and 1510!  Oh, the mind this Renaissance artist had. Leonardo's journals and notes show what an "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination" he possessed.

Wouldn't it be marvelous to give each child a sketchbook to call their own. A place for them to discover their world, make their own observations and conclusions. What a way to learn :)

This is my quest. Step by step I'm making in-roads into schools: Visiting Artist at Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville last April and last week, leading a Beaufort County School District Teachers Workshop: How to Integrate Nature Journaling into the Classroom.  But more on that for my next post :)

After sunset tonight, take a peek at the sky to see Venus, the Crescent Moon and Earthshine for your very own. Venus will be to the lower left tonight.  Happy viewing and hopefully painting!!