Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eclipse #2

It was a dark and stormy night... Well, actually, it wasn't very dark and the rain had stopped. We were between storms. But the wind was fierce! So the last eclipse of the moon for us Southern Californians until 2010 was very different from the one in August. After having rain in the morning and clouds all day, I almost gave up hope when I went out to look for the moon at about 6:30 p.m. PST. The wind was blowing the clouds away very fast but at one point, as luck would have it, there were no clouds except one which, of course, was covering the moon. I set up the tripod anyway and went back inside to eat a hurried dinner. I had a date with my quintet friends for 7:30.

Checking back outside at 7:00, I found the moon in this state. Almost into totality and surrounded by wispy clouds. Whereas in August, the moon was high in the southwestern sky (which for me is the darkest part of the sky), this moon was just rising and was awash in the glow of the city lights. In August there was no wind, but last night as I said a strong and cold ocean breeze was blowing shaking the tripod and making it impossible for me to get a good sharp picture.

Interestingly, this moon showed a bright edge on the right both going into and out of the umbra of the Earth's shadow. That's because it's path was situated toward the edge where the umbra meets the penumbra. Last August, the moon's path was more towards the center of the umbra. All these factors combined led to the color of the moon in totality not being as deep blood red as in August. But it still was a spectacular sight in my binoculars.

Before settling down to play some Mozart, my friends and I went out to have one last look at the moon. It was leaving totality and had a silver edge. But now mist was settling in and later when we finished playing at 10:30, the full moon was a blurry but very bright light, high in the sky.

1 comment: