Nearly Full Moon, originally uploaded by neatonjr.
Hazy Moon, originally uploaded by neatonjr.
Moon Ring, originally uploaded by neatonjr.
A few quick shots to record the lunar start to IYA2009. Snapped one Friday when it wasn't quite full yet, then tried again this evening once it was full. Too many clouds, so I never got a clear view. Around midnight, though, I stepped out one last time to catch a spectacular moon ring! That definitely made up for missing out on a clear view tonight.
It was interesting to note that the moon was nearly straight overhead when I took the moon ring shot above. Not only was it near the zenith, but was about 73 degrees above the horizon. Why so high? As Astroprof explains, it has to do with the earth's tilt and the fact that since the full moon is directly opposite the sun, during the time of year when the sun is low in the sky for our hemisphere the full moon is at its highest.
I am still researching but suspect that the moon being nearly straight overhead contributed to how large the moon ring was. I'll post more when I have an answer.