Full moon 10 times brighter than half moon?

Dear Tom,
I have heard the full moon is 10 times as bright as a half moon, but this defies logic.

Milan Antilli
Dear Milan,
It’s true. The moon has a rocky surface that shines only by reflected sunlight. The face is so deeply scarred and cratered that, as viewed from Earth, much of its surface is in shadow. Light reflected to our eyes is maximized when sunlight shines directly down on the center of the moon’s face —the only portion of the spherical surface that “looks” straight to us. During a half moon, only a poorly illuminated periphery of the face is seen. The view of the moon’s face is best during a full moon, when the moon is in such a position in its orbit that the sun is behind us and the moon appears in the opposite side of the sky. That’s when sunlight best illuminates the moon’s deepest features and reduces shadows.

Snow, our long-time companion, is checking out

Thursday marks the 68th day that at least 1 inch of snow has covered the ground in Chicago during the 2009-10 snow season. That’s the greatest number of days of snow-covered ground since the snow season of 1983-84, which logged 85 days of snow cover, but it’s far short of the city’s snow-cover record: 100 days of at least 1 inch of snow on the ground logged during the brutally cold and snowy winter of 1978-79. Lingering snow will disappear this week with temperatures climbing into the 40s.

Another cold Florida night

With expected wind chill temperatures as low as 30 degrees, much of north and central Florida (including such normally mild locations as Tampa, Orlando and Daytona Beach) lies under a wind chill advisory early this morning. In addition, a freeze watch has been posted for the south tip of the state late Thursday into early Friday.

Which March 1 was most "lion-like? in Chicago"

Dear Tom,
Which March 1 was most “lion-like?”

Pepper Roberts, Park Forest

Dear Pepper,
You pose an interesting but hard question to answer. March 1 has produced its fair share of inclement weather and it is difficult to select any one as being the worst. In 2007, thunderstorms produced 1.09 inches of rain, including some freezing rain. In 1948, 4 inches of snow fell. In 1947, 4.6 inches of snow fell at the opening of a two-day storm that put down 7.4 inches of snow. In 1962, the mercury plunged to 5 degrees below zero. And in 1890, the high for the day was only 14 degrees.

On the lamb side, there have been some delightful March openings, the most noteworthy being in 1992 when gusty southwest winds and plenty of sunshine boosted the temperature to a record high 71 degrees.