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32: in the sky - night and day


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32: in the sky - night and day - abelard

Here at abelard.org, we take a lot of photographs. Many of them are pretty or interesting. This is the thirty-second in a regular “photograph with little or no explanation or comment” feature.

With the clear sky created by an anticyclone, unusual events can be seen in the sky. Here is a lunar eclipse [21 February 2008, 01:43 GMT/UT and on], the last until 2010.

The February 2008 lunar eclipse, 02:39 GMT/UT.
02:39 GMT/UT

The February 2008 lunar eclipse, 02:53 GMT/UT.
02:53 GMT/UT

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon, and casts its shadow onto the moon. Because sunlight ‘leaks’ around the edge of the Earth, in full eclipse the Moon has a deep red tinge from leaking sunlight.

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Early spring sunshine in Landais pines
Early spring sunshine in Landaise pines

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The common crane migrates from Northern Europe southwards, to France and previously Spain, where there is food to be gleaned in warmer climes. When the weather down south turns to steady warmth, the cranes gather to return north to their summer quarters and breeding grounds in Sweden and Germany.

Cranes in a now harvested maize field, 20 February 2008.
Cranes in a now harvested maize field, 20 February 2008.

Today is the day! The eighteen thousand cranes who winter in the French department of Les Landes, at a nature reserve created from a disused lignite mine, decided it is time to leave. [23 February 2008]

Cranes gathering in a thermal above a pine forest clearing.

They gather in the sky, crying and crawing, and gradually gain height, circling in the thermals generated by the pine forest and its clearings.

Cranes at different heights gradually circle upwards.
Cranes at different heights circle upwards. There are cranes at three heights in this photo, as different groups swirl in the air to gain height.

As they gain enough height, the cranes change formation, and gradually align themselves in the aerodynamic long-distance V-formation.

Cranes moving towards their long-distance formation
Cranes moving towards their long-distance formation

Then the cranes gradually disappear northwards until next winter.

Cranes flying north to Scandinavia.

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