Oil Painting: Heart of the Lion

Posted on Updated on

11 by 14 inches, oil on hardboard
11 by 14 inches, oil on hardboard

At dusk on July 11 the thin crescent of the waxing moon set alongside Regulus: the Heart of the Lion.

“Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, is known to spin rapidly on its axis. If it spun only slightly more rapidly, the star would fly apart.” – Earthsky.org

I’ve had it in my head that if you hold a quarter at arms length, that’s about how large both the sun and moon appear from Earth. Not true. I tested it out and was surprised at how tiny the moon looks. With a ruler held at arms length, it measured less than a quarter inch. I’ve noticed that when I take photos the moon looks smaller. I thought it was the camera distorting the scene, but it’s my brain doing the distorting. My mistake is probably unrelated to the “moon illusion” where the moon seems larger towards the horizon. (It’s really the same size, of course, but it appears slightly smaller, since it’s farther away from the viewer by one Earth radius).

If you’re outside today, stay cool and wave to the Cassini spacecraft – it’s taking a photo of Earth through the rings of Saturn, over a billion miles away.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s