Sunrises, moon sets

A couple of nice sunrises last week:

A cloud bank lies just east of the Continental Divide, with some lenticular shapes protruding.

A cloud bank lies just east of the Continental Divide, with some lenticular shapes protruding.

The morning sun briefly flashes off Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak before rising above the clouds to the east [behind us in this view], smothering everything in shadow.

The morning sun briefly flashes off Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak before rising above the clouds to the east [behind us in this view], smothering everything in shadow.

And a shot of the full moon descending towards the western horizon:

Purple alpenglow suffuses the horizon as the full moon sets just at sunrise.

Purple alpenglow suffuses the horizon as the full moon sets just at sunrise.

Harvest Moon setting over Long's Peak

The so-called "Harvest Moon" is the full moon closest to the Autumn equinox - one of two times during the year during which the plane of the earth's orbit is not tilted in relation to the Sun, and day and night are of approximately equal length [the word "equinox" means "equal night" in Latin].

All full moons rise at around sunset, and set at around sunrise, because a full moon occurs when the sun is on the other side of Earth from the moon.

So, last night the moon rose at 6:20 PM and the Sun set 25 minutes later.  And this morning, sunrise officially occurred at 6:57 AM and the Moon set at 7:31.  Of course, with all the mountains around here, I don't see the sun or the moon come up until well after the official times.  And they both drop below the mountains to the west of me well before the official times as well.

What was special about this morning, though, is that the moon set right over Mount Meeker and Long's Peak, the two high mountains on my western horizon - the summit of Long's Peak at 14,259 feet [4,346 m] being the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park.

It wasn't the most spectacular sunrise, with cloud cover to the east of me keeping the sun from lighting up the clouds as sometimes happens.  But still, it was a beautiful sight, with a dusting of snow on the mountains, the red rock cliffs, and the aspens golden down in town.

6:47 AM:  The Harvest Moon slides down and right [North] towards the summits of Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak, over the town of Lyons, Colorado.

6:47 AM: The Harvest Moon slides down and right [North] towards the summits of Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak, over the town of Lyons, Colorado.

6:53 AM:  Last glimpse of the Harvest Moon before it is hidden behind a cloud bank hovering over Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak.  Official moonset didn't occur until 40 minutes later at 7:31 AM.

6:53 AM: Last glimpse of the Harvest Moon before it is hidden behind a cloud bank hovering over Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak.  Official moonset didn't occur until 40 minutes later at 7:31 AM.

Moonset

Just caught the full moon setting between the clouds and the ridge to the West.

Moonset between Indian Lookout Mountain and Mount Meeker and Long's Peak in the distance.

Moonset between Indian Lookout Mountain and Mount Meeker and Long's Peak in the distance.

The moon drops behind the mountain just before sunrise.

The moon drops behind the mountain just before sunrise.