Have you seen the moon lately?!

While driving to work this morning, I see something in my peripherals and at first I think, "...aliens."  I have a wild imagination, I love space, and I would love to be abducted by aliens someday...I probably shouldn't tell anyone that.  Once I snapped out of "Tessland" and came back to earth, I realized that it was just the moon being its awesome self. It was GIANT and had a really cool red tint.

I try to take a picture of it with my smartphone, but just like every other time I try to photograph the moon with my smartphone, it shows up as a tiny white dot.  For something that (1) does not emit its own light and (2) begs to have its picture taken, the moon is pretty hard to photograph. Why is it so tricky?  Turns out you need one of those cameras with a far-reaching telephoto lens (like the one recently used by the paparazzi to photograph Bruce Jenner in a dress at his home in Malibu).

After I decided to give up on trying to get a good picture, I started trying to figure out what makes the moon look so majestic.  Here's what I found:

According to Moon Giant, "the Moon today is in a Waxing Gibbous phase. This phase is when the moon is more than 50% illuminated but not yet a Full Moon. The phase lasts about 7 days with the moon becoming more illuminated each day until the Full Moon."

The moon will be full on May 4, so it's time to break out the telescopes!

The full Moon and the U.S. Capitol are seen early in the evening on Tuesday, Feb. 7th. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)