Physics Photo of the Week

May 5, 2006

The moon in daytime
The moon can appear at all times of day or night depending on its monthly cycle.  This photo was obtained this past winter on February 5 in the early afternoon.  The camera was set to a long focal length to magnify the size of the moon from normal vision. 

Today, 3 months, or moon cycles, later (weather permitting) we should also see the moon in about the same fullness in the early to mid afternoon high in the eastern sky.  If the weather is cloudy, keep looking in the sky in the afternoon for the next several days and you should find the moon, a little more full each successive afternoon.  In another two weeks, the moon will have advanced half-way around the earth, and we should see the moon high in the sky at dawn.  Don't miss it....

Note the features - the dark maria and the bright highlands - on the moon's image especially in the small image at right.  The small image  is an enlargement of the moon from the daytime photo and digitally enhanced so the details may be detected.  The small dark area near the top of the moon is called Mare Crisium or Sea of Crises.
The telescopic photo of the moon  at lower right was photographed more than a year ago on February 17, 2005 by Anna Shoemaker using a telescope and a digital camera.  (See PPOW for March 4, 2005)  Compare the much improved detail in the telescope image from hi-zoom digital camera (top images) without a telescope.   You can also notice the same features.  Anna's photograph was taken at night, hence the sky is black.

Physics Photo of the Week is published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren Wilson College Physics Department.  These photos feature an interesting phenomena in the world around us.  Students, faculty, and others are invited to submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and explanation.  Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.  Please send any photos to

Click here to see the Physics Photo of the Week Archive.

Observers are invited to submit digital photos to: