Skip to comments.Stargazers watch total lunar eclipse
Posted on 03/03/2007 6:47:24 PM PST by NormsRevenge
LONDON - The moon darkened, reddened, and turned shades of gray and orange Saturday night during the first total lunar eclipse in nearly three years, thrilling stargazers and astronomers around the world.
The Earth's shadow took over six hours to crawl across the moon's surface, eating it into a crescent shape before engulfing it completely in a spectacle at least partly visible on every continent.
About a dozen amateur astronomers braved the cold and mud outside the Croydon Observatory in southeast London to watch the start of the eclipse.
"It's starting to go!" said Alex Gikas, 8, a Cub Scout who was studying for his astronomy badge. "I've never seen anything like it before. I'm really excited."
By the time greatest eclipse, shortly after 5:44 p.m. EST, the light of the full moon was replaced by near-total obscurity.
"It was really very dark," said Paul Harper, Chairman of the Croydon Astronomical Society, who estimated that moon had lost over four-fifths of its luminosity. "It was quite a nice one."
Lunar eclipses occur when Earth passes between the sun and the moon, an uncommon event because the moon spends most of its time either above or below the plane of Earth's orbit.
Sunlight still reaches the moon during total eclipses, but it is refracted through Earth's atmosphere, bathing the moon in an eerie crimson light.
Mike Ealay, a 60-year-old architect who wandered over to the observatory to watch the eclipse, said the red color of the moon made it look like a close-up version of Mars.
"I think it's quite exciting. It's like having the red planet on your doorstep," he said.
Despite cloudy conditions over much of Europe, a variety of Webcasts carried the event live, and astronomers urged the public not to miss out on the spectacle.
"It's not an event that has any scientific value, but it's something everybody can enjoy," said Robert Massey, of Britain's Royal Astronomical Society.
The moon's red blush faded as it began moving out of Earth's shadow just after 8 p.m. EST. The eclipse ended a little more than hour later.
Residents of east Asia saw the eclipse cut short by moonset, while those in the eastern parts of North and South America had the moon already partially or totally eclipsed by the time it rose over the horizon in the evening.
While eastern Australia, Alaska and New Zealand missed Saturday's show, they will have front row seats to the next total lunar eclipse, on Aug. 28.
A Lunar Eclipse is seen over the Westminster Abbey in London, Saturday, March 3, 2007. Amateur star-gazers and astronomers worldwide dusted off their telescopes and unsheathed their binoculars Saturday for the first total lunar eclipse in three years. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
NASA Lunar Eclipse Page: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/lunar.html
The first total lunar eclipse in three years wowed observers around the world Saturday, with those in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (Jordan, above) getting the best view. The next total lunar eclipse occurs in August.
Beautiful pic...no sightings here--
You see anything over there? Bupkis here.
Total Lunar Eclipse Expected Saturday ^
Posted by RDTF On News/Activism ^ 03/02/2007 8:22:44 AM PST · 35 replies · 1,176+ views
Not where I am. Sunny this AM and even early PM, but it clouded up by 5PM.
nada,, it was a nice sunny afternoon. almost 70 too..
I watched it with my 6 year old son in CT tonight. It was spectacular. Forecast called for rain and there wasn't a cloud to be seen. We found the highest, darkest, most deserted road we could find to view the eclipse. The moon rose red and slowly grew in intensity from its SW corner. Then suddenly an icy brightness pierced its edge as the Earth's umbra yielded. My son squealed with delight as the Sun's bright rays swept across the lunar surface over the following hour. He could barely sleep later he was so excited. I hope others in New England were able to enjoy the show. It was terrific.
Sounds like ya had a good seat and a good time too. :-)
Heads up to your son,, we get a total solar eclipse
August 1, 2008.
Projection of the lunar eclipse on a radome covers a observatory in Bochum Sundern, western Germany, Saturday, March 3, 2007. Despite bad weather conditions sometimes visitors are able to observe the entire shading of the moon at midnight for approximately 70 minutes. The next lunar eclipse will be seen in Central Europe in February 2008. (AP Photo/Volker Wiciok)
A Lunar Eclipse is seen above the war memorial outside Westminster Abbey in London, Saturday, March 3, 2007. Amateur star-gazers and astronomers worldwide dusted off their telescopes and unsheathed their binoculars Saturday for the first total lunar eclipse in three years. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
A sculpture near the Olympic stadium in Barcelona is pictured in front of the moon at the beginning of a lunar eclipse in Barcelona March 3, 2007. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon in orbit around the Earth passes through the earth's shadow, which can be seen cast on to the moon. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN)
A combination of five pictures shows various stages of a lunar eclipse over the sky of Madrid March 4, 2007. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon in orbit around the Earth passes through the earth's shadow, which can be seen cast on to the moon. REUTERS/Paul Hanna (SPAIN)
The beginning of the lunar eclipse is observed as the moon rises near Three Fathom Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday, March 3, 2007. Lunar eclipses occur when Earth passes between the sun and the moon, an uncommon event because the moon spends most of its time either above or below the plane of Earth's orbit. (AP PHOTO/CP, Andrew Vaughan)
A sculpture on the Cathedrale of Lausanne is pictured in front of the moon at the beginning of a lunar eclipse in Lausanne March 3, 2007. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon in orbit around the Earth passes through the earth's shadow, which can be seen cast on to the moon. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND)
A sculpture on the Cathedrale of Lausanne is pictured in front of the moon at the beginning of a lunar eclipse in Lausanne March 3, 2007. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND)
In Cali? I may just head out for it. There is nothing quite like a celestial event out West. You cannot get away from light pollution in CT.
And there will still be three months to the election!!
BTW, thanks for the post, Norm and for all the great posts you put up. We all could follow your example.
I missed it =(
The 2008 total will be far North on our side of the Atlantic, unfortunately
here's a Dynamic Eclipse Map Using GOOGLE Maps
we get a total solar eclipse August 1, 2008.
well, "we" as in some spots on Earth, that is..
You're most welcome for the posts and stuff. My pleasure.
What a lovely description! I am so glad your son got a glimpse of the heavens and how they work!
Beautiful pics, NR!! Thank you so much!
I was in downtown Atlanta in the middle 80's and there was a total eclipse of the sun. That was very very strange. I can imagine how people would have just gone bonkers way back in the day.
If it's a solar eclipse, you won't need to worry about light pollution.
strange is right... the light to dark effect is eerie and when the jewel appears on the ring of light,, awesome.
Me and my girlfriend missed the eclipse, but were treated to the coolest sunset either of us have seen in out 78 years combinced experience,
I recall the birds stopped singing. And the shadows got really weird. The perception shift was like a psychedelic drug experience....uh, I imagine.