中秋節

Originating in China about 3,000 years ago, the “Mid-Autumn-” or “Moon Festival” (Zhongqiu in Chinese, Tết Trung Thu in Vietnamese) is one of the year’s most important holidays in much of Asia.

Having admired and loved the Moon since childhood, I have come to think that the Chinese had the right idea by giving the Moon its own holiday. There are of course many beautiful myths and customs surrounding it, the details of which vary by region. But the roots go back to the beginning of science, as the festival marks both Autumnal Equinox and Full Moon. This year was very special, because both occurred simultaneously, which has not happened in 20 years.

Full Moon and Jupiter over West Los Angeles. Photo: Reinhard Kargl, 2010. Click to enlarge.

I took the above picture from a hilltop west of Los Angeles, looking east just before 11 PM last night. (B&W, digital SLR, ISO 50, 24 mm lens, f/2.8, 15 sec., 2 stops underexposed. Digitally processed and vignette added. The blur was natural and caused by moist marine layers drifting in from the ocean).

PS: And yes, I did get to enjoy the traditional moon cakes. (Three different kinds!)

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