New Moon from a new moon

By Phil Plait | September 9, 2012 7:00 am

When I get too frustrated with things, when I’m annoyed at people, when the dickishness of the commentariat gets too overwhelming, I’ll just click the bookmark I made that goes to this picture:

Sigh. Much better.

The International Space Station was 400 kilometers (240 miles) above the US northwest coast on August 21, 2012 at 05:42 GMT (9:42 p.m. August 20 local time) when an astronaut faced west, looked over the Pacific ocean, and took this picture of the new Moon just after sunset.


Image credit: NASA. Tip o’ the spacesuit visor to Fragile Oasis on G+.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, NASA, Pretty pictures

Comments (20)

  1. Mike

    Shouldn’t your title have been, “New man from a new moon?”

  2. Connor

    But if the ISS is so much closer to the moon, why is the moon still so small in the picture?

    Kidding Phil, go back to relaxing. :-)

  3. Wzrd1

    My first thought was, all of that ugly metal obscuring the view.
    Then, I considered sitting unprotected trying to enjoy the view.
    I rather like that ugly metal obscuring the view, for it is beautiful life support containing metal. :)

  4. Chris

    Not to be a “dickish commentarian”, but if that is a new moon, why can you see it illuminated by the sun? Isn’t more of a waxing crescent?

  5. Levi in NY

    Beneath the Russian flag there is the word “ПРОГРЕСС” — “PROGRESS”. Progress indeed! It is amazing to be alive at the time that humanity is beginning to explore this new frontier.

  6. Chris

    @5 Levi
    I find it kind of remarkable that progress is spelled the same in English as it is in Russian, once you account for the Latin equivalents of the Cyrillic letters.

  7. Daniel J. Andrews

    Phil’s happy place. An idea for a website is to have people send in their own pics of their own happy places. Wouldn’t have to be just pics either. A poem, or piece of literature can also transport some folks to a better place for a while. It would be interesting to see the types of things people sent in to see how or what they perceive to be a happy place.

    At the moment my happy place isn’t a picture. It is a picture window and I’m looking out into the forested yard and watching numerous birds fly back and forth, and a red squirrel cutting and collecting pine cones.

  8. Call me a nationalist, but I look at this one:

    Besides it was launched when I was young. AND! I still have the (original) decal (see above) on my yeh olde camera (now holding my eyepieces) transport case. It´s scratched and worn, but it is still my precious.

    A picture can be a Tranquility Base.

  9. RAF

    Actually, that image depresses me…it reminds me that we haven’t returned to the Moon, nor will we be in the near future.

    I used to think that I would live to see a Man on Mars mission…now, I’d just be happy to live long enough to see a return to the moon.

  10. @RAF

    Indeed, we are are the depressed generation.
    We´ve seen it in our youth. We had a glimpse of the future… that never was.
    Now we are getting older and we know we´ll never see anything as great as that.
    Not counting robots, which are fun, but not as fun as “been” there for real.
    And the worst part is that we have to put up with “deniers”.

  11. E

    That’s no moon; it’s a space station.

  12. Nic

    Lovely shot. Like it..

    Those of us born in the sixties (myself Aug 66) kind of expected footprints on Mars in maybe the 80’s.
    I don’t remember Apollo 11 specifically, but I do remember it seeming commonplace to have guys walking around on the Moon.

    Certainly what I didn’t appreciate at the time – and what people miss to this day, is Apollo cost fully 4% of the US federal budget (or was it GNP) in 66.

    That was politically necessary at the time but also why nothing on that scale will happen for a LONG time.

    That is why Bush and Obama couldn’t fund Constellation, and why, what we mostly see is pretty artwork. For manned stuff.

    BUT – look at the incredible stuff we have – the Voyagers are still going, we have Opportunity on Mars, Curiosity after an incredible landing, Dawn has just left Vesta heading to Ceres, Cassini is still out there, New Horizons heading to Pluto, numerous telescopes in orbit (SOHO is still there, STEREO, Swift), WOW is there some kit up there!!

    And you know what? (Brit speaking) – it’s largely American. SOHO with ESA, Huygens was ESA. Hubble I think with ESA, correct me if anyone knows different.

    So you Americans out there, before you dis your government, please think before you suggest you’re losing a new space race. Because no-one else is anywhere near close.
    And – if we go back to manned – you are the only country to put anyone beyond low-earth-orbit. AND then go into Lunar Orbit AND then land on the Moon. And rather important get back. SIX times to the lunar surface and and and further 3 (Apollo 8, 10, 13) which were up there but didn’t land.

    Don’t get down about it. It costs money, especially manned. And that won’t happen again soon, and that’s sad, but 4% of budget is a lot of hospitals.

    It’ll happen again. But maybe not in my time. :)

    Did I wander off topic? Sorry Phil! Love your blog.

  13. James Evans

    That URL must get a lot of hits from your IP, Phil, because even if you posted an announcement that NASA found indisputable evidence for life on Mars, there’s a select few here, who, rather than celebrate, would complain that you foolishly failed to recognize the import of the 1927 publication of an obscure scientific treatise by a little-known German astronomer named Sandor von Kriegenhoffer, in which it was clearly explained how interplanetary cross-contamination would one day provide numerous astrobiological false positives due to the porous nature of rocketry metal and the interrelated prevention of proper, pre-launch UV-sterilization, and how some cheap but inadvisable propellants would provide not only the proper environment for yet-to-be-discovered extremophiles to flourish, but also the right chemical mix for providing their unusual food supply, given orbital dynamics and the interactivity of cosmic rays with some isotopes of likely booster housing polymers, and blah, blah, blah.

  14. Messier Tidy Upper

    @11. E wrote : “That’s no moon; it’s a space station.”

    Actually E there’s both there ! (Cap’n Obvious.) 😉

    @1. Mike : ” Shouldn’t your title have been, “New man from a new moon?”

    I think the BA is playing on the sense of an artificial moon – i.e. satellite – being the vantage point for seeing the New Moon phase of Earth’s natural satellite! 😉

    @4. Chris :

    Not to be a “dickish commentarian”, but if that is a new moon, why can you see it illuminated by the sun? Isn’t more of a waxing crescent?

    Not necessarily no. It looks like the traditional “new moon in the old moons arms” with some Earthshine on a new crescent to me. Could be the orientated the reverse of your expectations based on the camera / scope technology used or because of the hemisphere reversal ie Southern versus northern hemisphere vantage point?


    Great image BA. :-)

    I hope I haven’t been one of the too dickish commentariat driving you to looking at it so regularly! If so, well my apologies.

  15. Solius

    Well, that went into moderation… without links, no less. I’ll be curious if he accepts my argument, or continues with the hypocrisy and gender specific insults.

  16. #5 Levi:
    “It is amazing to be alive at the time that humanity is beginning to explore this new frontier.”

    It was even more amazing, to be alive when humanity was really beginning to explore the new frontier, over 40 years ago!

  17. Mike

    to Messier Tidy Upper:

    I still think my title is better. :)

  18. mike burkhart

    This is a good picture lets see the Moon formed 4 billon years ago and the ISS formed 20 years ago.Off Topic: I was reading Phils Bad Astronomy book the other day, on the subject of combat in outer space there is a video game that acurately simulates it. Ace Combat 3 is the 3rd chapter of the Ace Combat series, in witch yoou play a fighter pilot , this one includes a mission in space in witch you are launced into space to destory laser armed satelites. Heres an Example of space combat according to exerts on the subject: I am in one craft launced from the US my adversery the target form another, now in space neather of us can do high speed menovers like Imalin loops or split s s like we could if we were flying in the air ,nor could we destory the other with projectile wepons like guns or missles . In space the two of us could only fly in a stright line ,head to head at each other and once in range (using a energy wepon like a laser or particle beam) hope to blast the other on the frist pass , normaly in air combat ,one plane tries to get on the others tail to shot him down in space if we both miss it would be impossable to sundely turn to get on the others tail , because frist I would take to munch time to slow down and reverse direction that I would never get in range chaseing him we would have to wate for another pass to try again. Not like Star Wars is it.

  19. Brian Too

    @11. E,

    Space stations, methinks!

  20. Solius

    Wow, any mention of “that skep-apparatchich” won’t get published on this weblog.
    saved to pastebin


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar