Dan Joling of Anchorage was set to photograph the full moon rising over the Port of Anchorage on Jan. 6, 2023. His research told him the moon would pop over the horizon at a certain number of degrees from north. Guided by the compass feature on his iPhone, Joling aimed his camera that way.

He waited. Suddenly, the moon rose far to the left of where he expected. He jumped in his car and drove to an overlook near West High School. There, he captured the shot with the backdrop he wanted.

Since the late 1970s, the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute has provided this column free in cooperation with the UAF research community. Ned Rozell ned.rozell@alaska.edu is a science writer for the Geophysical Institute.