Midday moon in Alaska a first in nearly 19 years

Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2005

ANCHORAGE - The moon is at an extreme end of its 18.6-year lunar cycle and between Thursday and Saturday, it will pull an all-nighter.

North of Delta, it will skim the northern horizon before heading back up in the sky.

"We are in the middle of the best time for observing a very weird thing," says Glenn Shaw, professor emeritus at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Due to the complexity of its orbit, the moon rhythmically rises and falls in the sky, Shaw said. Druids noticed this more than 3,000 years ago, and incorporated it into the Stonehenge alignment.

Anyone north of Delta will be in great shape to see this midday moon event. According to Shaw's calculations, this skimming of the horizon will be observable where he is, in Fairbanks, an hour later each afternoon, on Thursday at 2:14 p.m., Friday at 3: 14 p.m. and Saturday at 4:14 p.m.

This moon dance will also be seen up north on Dec. 15 and 16, between 1 and 2 p.m., and on Jan. 11-13, between 10 a.m. and noon.

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