Distant Astronomical (Fruiting) Body Discovered!

Mushroom Moon
Moon of a distant star in the constellation Basidiomycetes

This just in:

From the profoundly dark skies of the northeastern tip of Floyd County in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia comes the announcement of the discovery of a new celestial body seen in clear detail for the first time.

This is the third moon, Boletus, of the distant dwarf red star, Geoaster. It appeared suddenly and was visible only in a forested section of the Terry’s Fork section of Virginia.

Unfortunately, the cratered body will never be seen again as it was infested by fruit and other flies and went to the bad the day after this remarkable distant image was taken by an astute and sagacious cosmologist and celestial photographer at the Goose Creek Observatory.

[You should have heard me hoot when I looked at this bolete through the viewfinder. “It’s a MOON!” I hollered. Of course I took away the surrounding forest floor and added the blackness of deep space plus a few other space objects, but did no other retouching to this image. I thought about making it a perfect circle, but then some moons are lumpy and irregular. The lighting was such that it enhanced the sense of spherocity and depth. Here, one of those AHA and HAHA moments in nature that are so memorable and gratifying. At least to me.]

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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