The moon illuminated oddly?
« on: January 05, 2021, 08:08:09 AM »
First photo was taken December 8, 2020 at 3:46AM. Second photo was taken the same day at 12:35PM.

The moon recently caught my attention because it was being illuminated from the bottom. How is the moon sitting above the sun? I never noticed it this way before. Could someone explain how this is possible?
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 10:18:38 AM by Staycurious »

Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2021, 02:46:13 PM »
By rotation of your iPhone 8, have a look into the exif metadata

DateTime - 2020:12:08 03:46:28
ExifImageWidth - 480
ExifImageHeight - 640
DigitalZoomRatio - 3.33 x
Lens Info - 3.99  3.99  1.80  1.80

DateTime - 2020:12:08 12:35:07
ExifImageWidth - 640
ExifImageHeight - 480
DigitalZoomRatio - 4.58 x
Lens Info - 3.99  3.99  1.80  1.80


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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2021, 04:37:31 PM »
By rotation of your iPhone 8, have a look into the exif metadata
fortytwo has a interesting argument, at least at face value, but this merits further investigation. The assumptions made do not quite square up with how phone cameras work, and they do not match even a rudimentary consideration of the scenario.

First and foremost, we need to understand how camera orientation is accounted for in modern JPEGs. There is actually an orientation metadatum in the EXIF of one of the two files:

Quote
Filename - IMG_1776 - Copy.jpg
Orientation - Right top
XResolution - 72
YResolution - 72
ResolutionUnit - Inch
DateTime - 2020:12:08 12:35:07
[...]

This page by Calvin Hass explains the different rotations quite well, so I'll skip it here for brevity. The take-home message is that the iPhone's camera app itself acknowledges that the photograph should be rotated.

Now, what many people miss is that most modern software will already perform that rotation for you. This is true of my Web browser, Windows 10's photo viewing thingamajig, and it is optional (enabled by default) in IrfanView.

So, let's see what happens if I strip all EXIF data from these photographs. I am avoiding any other interaction with the photos, simply running exiftool -all= * on a directory that contains them (do try it at home!). The result is just plain JPEG data, plus some metadata that Windows insisted on immediately regenerating:




Alternatively, you can replicate these results by ignoring EXIF rotation data in IrfanView [Options -> Properties -> JPG / PCD / GIF -> Auto-rotate image according to EXIF info (if available)]. You should see pretty much the same result.

While the two moon images now make more intuitive sense when viewed this way (They match, right? That sounds like something we'd want), the second now-unrotated photo doesn't make much sense overall - the gradient of the sky is now sideways, which we can safely assume was not the case in real-life observation. It therefore appears that the rotation performed by our browsers was helpful, and reversing it does not bring us closer to answering the question.

A couple of hypotheses could be presented:

  • The first photo lacks an orientation tag. It may be that this wasn't saved by the camera due to a bad reading from the magnetometer/accelerometer, and it is this photo that we should be rotating until the two moons match. However, this would directly contradict the dimensions of the two images as highlighted by fortytwo - we'd have to assume that both are incorrect, rather than that both are correct. I would therefore posit that fortytwo's analysis is flawed, short of multiple simultaneous technical failures in the phone used. In fact, this analysis brings up more problems than it solves - as the position of these celestial bodies changes relative to the observer over the course of the day, you would rather expect that the angle at which the moon is being viewed would have changed.
  • Let's assume that the photographs are presented the right way up in the OP (i.e. the phone didn't fail, and the photos were not tampered with). The photos are separated by 9 hours in time, and 160 degrees in direction the camera was facing (rather obviously). OP's question was why the moon appears to be above the sun. The RE answer would be "well, that's because it is - the sun is only about to rise in a few hours, while the moon is already prominently visible in the sky". The FE answer, surprisingly, would not be very different. Since the sun appears not to yet have risen (due to EA), its rays would naturally illuminate the moon from "the bottom". This is consistent both with the time (3:45AM) and direction (107° clockwise from North, i.e. roughly East) the photographer was facing. It looks like not-quite-morning-yet because that's precisely what it was. Similarly, the second photograph is taken at 12:30 PM, and the photographer is facing 268° away from North, i.e. West. The moon is getting close to setting, and the sun is firmly up in the sky. It looks like the moon is setting and the sun is high up because they are.
tl;dr: the photos likely do not need further rotation (already sorted out for you by modern software), it stands to reason that the OP's observation was accurate, and the observation wasn't particularly surprising regardless of whether you're a RE'er or FE'er. A Cheshire  moon is perfectly expectable in winter
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 05:13:54 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2021, 05:07:24 PM »
Double-posting to supplement this. fortytwo, you recently asked if Stellarium data is trustworthy. I figured we may as well cross-reference the two photographs with Stellarium and see where it gets us. I had to approximate the location slightly due to missing geolocation data, but humour me for a moment and assume that I have a good reason to have placed us in Texas. I am a few hundred miles off by choosing Austin, TX - this is intentional, and will not significantly affect out results.







These are a very close match to OP's original observation - the times, angles, and appearance of the moon as seen from the Earth all match up nicely. I think it is fair to say that any rotation of the photos would therefore contradict RET (since we both accept Stellarium as an okay representation thereof). Combined with other evidence presented previously, I think it's fair to dismiss any suggestions for the photographs to be rotated, agnostically of FE vs RE. As an added benefit, we now have two data points in which Stellarium matched observation (once correctly interpreted).
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 05:16:12 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2021, 07:43:29 PM »
With the photo issue addressed and better knowledge about EXIF metadata, I still do not understand how we end up orbiting above sun (I am viewing this from what we are taught in school perspective). From what I remember being taught and briefly refreshing my memory on the subject, we orbit in a disc like plane around the sun mostly horizontal, not vertically or vertically enough to put the moon above the sun. Horizontally orbiting the sun explains why I can see the moon being illuminated on the lefts and rights but not sideways (top and bottom).

It is as if the sun and moon orbit us. Sort of like the way an electron orbits a nucleus.


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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2021, 08:10:21 PM »
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2021, 08:19:39 PM »
With the photo issue addressed and better knowledge about EXIF metadata, I still do not understand how we end up orbiting above sun (I am viewing this from what we are taught in school perspective). From what I remember being taught and briefly refreshing my memory on the subject, we orbit in a disc like plane around the sun mostly horizontal, not vertically or vertically enough to put the moon above the sun. Horizontally orbiting the sun explains why I can see the moon being illuminated on the lefts and rights but not sideways (top and bottom).

It is as if the sun and moon orbit us. Sort of like the way an electron orbits a nucleus.

the planets orbit the Sun, roughly in a plane...but individual orbital paths can be off from perfectly on the plane, which has some major consequences for what we observe on Earth.

as far as why the moon appears illuminated from a weird angle, Vsauce did a decent video on this years ago
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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2021, 09:10:42 PM »
Not sure if I can follow ...

Last photos posted should IMHO be rotated 90° clockwise and they are taken more north than Austin. I assume the trees on the day photo are on the bottom and the gradient of the sky also indicates that. But I think we cannot be sure and I'm not aware of the location.

I agree, the more we come closer to the equator, the more horizontal the moon shadow is. And yes light is on top during the day and on bottom in the night.

... since we both accept Stellarium as an okay representation thereof ...

Yeah man! And you know well how to use it and how perspective affects angles. That's your point, I agree that Texas is flat.  ;)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 09:16:18 PM by fortytwo »

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2021, 10:17:36 PM »
Last photos posted should IMHO be rotated 90° clockwise
Funnily enough, because of the software backbone I just described, you and I might not be seeing exactly the same thing in the OP. I see two photographs in a portrait orientation, like so:



If you do too: we can be certain that nothing needs rotating, because of the metadata helpfully left for us by the camera, basic analysis, and because we can compare what OP saw to RE predictions (RE has flaws, but they're not quite so obvious. It can be assumed to be an okay representation of day-to-day observations)

If you see one portrait and one landscape photograph: yes, one of them should be rotated, and most modern software will do so for you without asking any questions.

and they are taken more north than Austin.
Yes, but not significantly. I am obfuscating OP's real location since he chose not to reveal it.

But I think we cannot be sure and I'm not aware of the location.
We can be sure. I have access to information you don't, and I made use of it in my reasoning. I introduced a degree of imprecision by narrowing OP's location to the state. Anything more would be a gross breach of trust, and it wouldn't change the result significantly anyway.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 10:25:56 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2021, 09:36:24 AM »
If you do too: we can be certain that nothing needs rotating

Yes, this one looks plausible to me, but I would not use this pictures for FE - RE discussion. Especially the night picture could be rotated by a smaller angle without changing portrait/landscape.
The illuminated part seems to me a bit to big in the night picture, but this could also be related to the digital zoom and the exposure time.

My first look was at the orientation of the picture because of this statement in the OP ...
I never noticed it this way before.
... which made me assuming that this is not expected in the respective area.
Maybe it's just a rare event at the original location, which only occurs close to the winter solstice. The closer to the equator the more often one would see a horizontal moon shadow.

I think even if the pictures are assumed do be precise enough, both theories have an explanation for moon be illuminated from the bottom.

In my understanding of RE (not being an expert in astronomy) simplified and leaving the tricky part out ...
the planets orbit the Sun, roughly in a plane...but individual orbital paths can be off from perfectly on the plane, which has some major consequences for what we observe on Earth.
... I would expect a moon shadow close to vertical not changing during the day on the poles, a shadow close to horizontal rotating by 180° each day at the equator and values in between at other locatons.

In FET I don't understand how the moon can be illuminated from the bottom when it so so close to the sun (I would guess both are somewhere in east direction from location in the night) and how it changes during the day where I would expect the moon to be farther away from the sun light comes from top/side. I was not able to imagine this without changing the force of EA during the day.
But I could not manage to understand FE so far, so this might be my own interpretation.
If there is any picture which illustrates how this specific scenario would look on a FE map, I would be very interested in. But I'm also fine to acknowledge that there is an explanation for each single part but the details how this fits together are not known yet.

And as mentioned before, I think the pictures are not a good base for FE vs RE discussion.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2021, 10:18:18 AM by fortytwo »

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2021, 01:20:45 PM »
Yes, this one looks plausible to me, but I would not use this pictures for FE - RE discussion.
Obviously. Nobody implied that this would be a RE-FE debate. You might notice that I provided answers for both models, and that neither model necessitates wanton rotation of the photos.

Especially the night picture could be rotated by a smaller angle without changing portrait/landscape.
It can, but to what end? You need to have a good reason to propose the photographs are oriented incorrectly, especially when their current orientation matches expectations perfectly. The camera already keeps track of orientation to a reasonable degree - unless you suggest that it was malfunctioning (for which you'll need some evidence), you don't have an argument.

The illuminated part seems to me a bit to big in the night picture, but this could also be related to the digital zoom and the exposure time.
It's blatantly overexposed (have you actually looked at the photograph?), and this is pretty normal for attempts at photographing the moon with a cell phone camera (auto-exposure won't exactly make good choices for such a small bright subject on an otherwise dark background). It also includes some motion blur - a quarter of a second is an extremely high exposure time for free-hand photography, you stand very little chance at keeping steady.

... which made me assuming that this is not expected in the respective area.
Maybe it's just a rare event at the original location, which only occurs close to the winter solstice. The closer to the equator the more often one would see a horizontal moon shadow.
Yes, OP has likely never paid attention to a Cheshire moon before. He did indicate that his interest in the moon is fairly new.

And as mentioned before, I think the pictures are not a good base for FE vs RE discussion.
Why do you keep fixating on this?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2021, 01:30:00 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #11 on: Today at 05:50:03 AM »
First photo was taken December 8, 2020 at 3:46AM. Second photo was taken the same day at 12:35PM.

The moon recently caught my attention because it was being illuminated from the bottom. How is the moon sitting above the sun? I never noticed it this way before. Could someone explain how this is possible?

The moon has a cooling light. The temperature of the ground is cooler in moonlight than it is the shade. I’ve tested this several times in several different places with an infrared thermometer.  My test always 4-5f degrees cooler in the light of a full moon.

So I don’t see how moonlight can come from the Sun if it cools. If anything it would be a warming light if moonlight actually was the reflection of the Sun.

Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #12 on: Today at 08:37:14 AM »
The temperature of the ground is cooler in moonlight than it is the shade. I’ve tested this several times in several different places with an infrared thermometer.  My test always 4-5f degrees cooler in the light of a full moon.

I’ve noticed something similar recently - in recent frost the ground was frozen hard in the open but not frozen under the pines. Only problem is there was no moon that night, so that effect is seen whether there is moonlight or not.
Once again - you assume that the centre of the video is the centre of the camera's frame. We know that this isn't the case.

Re: The moon illuminated oddly?
« Reply #13 on: Today at 09:31:36 AM »
The temperature of the ground is cooler in moonlight than it is the shade. I’ve tested this several times in several different places with an infrared thermometer.  My test always 4-5f degrees cooler in the light of a full moon.

I’ve noticed something similar recently - in recent frost the ground was frozen hard in the open but not frozen under the pines. Only problem is there was no moon that night, so that effect is seen whether there is moonlight or not.

Not just under trees but any area that makes a shadow for most of the night. Side my house in the grass or behind my vehicle on concrete.