Under A Raging Moon
The much hyped "super moon" during the night of 5-6 May 2012 did not bring any noticeable increase in seismic and volcanic activity worldwide, and also Etna refrained from producing its next episode of lava fountaining (paroxysm) on this occasion. In spite of the lack of apocalyptic events, the moon was spectacular to see, and on the late evening of 5 May, I captured this view of it (slightly overexposed) in a peculiar interplay with the gas plume rising from Etna's summit craters. The gas cloud did indeed not rise immediately, but was pushed by strong wind down the eastern flank of the mountain to some distance. Then, in the wind shadow of the mountain, it rose, and the water vapor constituting much of the gas cloud condensated into a conspicuous, anvil-shaped cloud. At its top, the cloud was bent over by strong wind again, and began to dilute again while drifting in the direction of the full moon. In this perspective it almost looks like the gas plume was being attracted by the moon, which obviously is an effect only visible from this local perspective, near the town of Linguaglossa on the northeast flank of Etna.
We had been out for dinner to celebrate the simultaneous birthdays of my wife Catherine and our friend Marco, hoping to see some fireworks from Etna - but the volcano apparently preferred to have her say on the "super moon" idiocy, and did NOT erupt, although there are signs that she is slowly heading toward her next episode of lava fountaining.