There is only one moon orbiting the Earth.  Other planets have more moons, some of them many more, but we have just the one.  At least we aren’t moonless, like Mercury and Venus.

moon rise

The moon looks different each night as it moves in its orbit.  Sometimes, we can’t see it at all.  Two weeks after that, an entire illuminated face of the moon is shining in our direction.

When the moon appears in the sky, its light reflects on shiny surfaces: glass or polished cars or the surface of a pond.  A smooth surface generates a simple reflection.  It is bright and compact, and thus it resembles the moon

But the surface of a pond is not always smooth.  What happens then?  The water presents many angles to the light, and the light reflects in many directions.  A portion of each ripple will be at an angle to reflect light in my direction, so I will see a long, agitated and poorly resolved reflection of the moonlight.  It is soft, only an impression.

multiple reflections

Sometimes, the surface is smooth in one place where the wind has not reached it, and rippled where the wind has made contact.  Then there are two moons, one intense and condensed, the other soft and diffuse. And sometimes, there are more than two.

two moons

Of course, there is only one moon orbiting the Earth.  It merely appears as two (or more) on the complex surface of the pond. Goodnight, moons.

red moon