Sunday, January 10, 2016

Christmas Eve 2015

It's easy to forget about the weather, to think of it only in the context of the moment. Today, January 10, 2016, was gray, clammy, and rainy, not too cold, not too warm - until a brief, windy rainstorm blew through around 5:00 in the afternoon. But last week, briefly, it was cold.

The Winter of 2015-2016 has so far been a sharp contrast to the last two Winters, and even that memory is misleading; neither of those Winters was particularly cold until later in the season, though once the temperatures dropped, they stayed in the bone-shatteringly cold range. The deep freezes of late 2013 and early 2014 were the first in several years, meaning that water that had seeped into cracks in roadways over the previous few years froze all at once, causing three or four years of potholes to emerge in a matter of days. In early 2015, the snows that fell fairly regularly were not particularly heavy, but the snow never melted between snowfalls. While it was easy to shovel the sidewalks after any one snowfall, the snow on the sides of the sidewalks just piled higher and higher.

December 2015 was the warmest on record in Northeastern Pennsylvania. So much so that when I pulled up at my brother's house after work on Christmas Eve for our Vigil Supper, no coat was required.

Christmas Eve 2015 featured a Full Moon. When I arrived at my brother's house I pulled out my camera and grabbed a few shots of the cloud-shrouded Moon rising through the trees.

What used to be "Midnight Mass" was held at my church at 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve. Parishioners used to wearing winter coats in church filled the pews in shirtsleeves. Stepping out after Mass brought some relief - temperatures by then had plummeted into the low 50's and I took the opportunity to try to grab some shots of the Full Moon over the church. This turned out to be a bit of a challenge: the Moon was still wrapped in thin clouds, while the church was surrounded by bright lights. Properly exposing the Moon might mean underexposing the church, while any attempts to get much of the church resulted in all sorts of glare. In the end I settled for two compromise shots. 

Here the overexposed Moon can be seen directly over Orion. I didn't notice Orion when I first took the image, and would not have tought it visible through the clouds.The green orb in the lower left is an internal reflection.

This is a more zoomed-out image, which unexpectedly caught my Mom coming out of the church. (She had assumed I was on my way to the back parking lot to get the car and pick her up in front of the church.) Behind her the lone altar server emerges. She promptly ran up to her parents to let them know how hot she had been!

The warm Christmas Eve was a strange experience, and not entirely unpleasant, though it left everyone with a sense of a world seriously out of whack. The Full Moon was just a nice added touch. What will future Christmas Eves be like? Was this an anomaly, or a new normal?

1 comment:

Don Williams said...

Green Orb? I think it's a UFO!