High Points: Bright nights. Big world. | AspenTimes.com

High Points: Bright nights. Big world.

Paul E. Anna
High Points

Have you seen the moon this week? If you haven’t it is likely because you live or sleep in a windowless room. Each night since Sunday, the moon has been bright enough to read by. I know because I actually took a copy of The Aspen Times and read it under the light of the full moon.

I believe that the evening of April 7, that would be this last Tuesday, was the single brightest night of my entire life. There was a supermoon, i.e. the brightest and closest full moon of the year. And, if you saw it, you know it seemed almost close enough to reach out and touch. When it rose, it spotlighted the ski runs with a glow as they literally reflected the moonshine, just like they do the sunshine each morning.

In addition to the size and proximity, that Tuesday night saw a perfectly clear sky, not a cloud, not a wisp, nothing to diminish the total impact of the light. And speaking of lights, with so few people and so many lights off in our little city due to the pandemic, the building lights that normally be would dimming the light of the moon on a normal spring night was low to nonexistent. Light pollution has diminished as we have hunkered down.

Add it all up, big moon, clear skies, limited light — all at 8,000 feet in the Rockies — and you have the perfect circumstances for an unforgettable bright night. Oh, there may have been a few other places on Earth, maybe seaborne (it must have been something to see that ball rise out of the water), or in other mountain ranges, where the supermoon may have been a watt or two brighter. But in my life, and there have been in the vicinity of 750-plus full moons (don’t do the math), I’ve never seen anything like it.

And the irony was not lost that this supermoon-lit night arrived to contrast one of the darkest periods in our collective global history. As I watched the full moon travel across the sky and eventually set behind Mount Sopris, I couldn’t help but think that across the Earth there were people in different cultures and circumstances who were feeling the same insecurities and concerns about the future that we are here in Aspen. I wondered if they too were uplifted by the massive moonrise. Whether there was some sense of combined solace that had been imparted by the bright night. 

I hope so. Shine on.


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