Easter weekend began with the Moon’s disappearance.
During part of a lunar eclipse, the Moon looks like a fairly normal crescent, but the fuzziness of the line between light and dark gives it away as something different. The Moon was reduced to a tiny sliver as dawn approached Saturday, the rest of its circle barely visible as a purplish smudge. This month’s lunar eclipse had a certain poetic symmetry: The full Moon’s light was swallowed up by Earth’s shadow as the Sun’s light appeared on the opposite horizon.
Eclipses are sometimes called blood moons because they’re stained orange and red by every sunset and sunrise on the planet at once. But because the eclipse reached totality when the sky was a soft blue, instead the Moon simply vanished. Almost as cool, really.
For all the Christian followers of this blog, happy late Easter! For the rest of you, I hope it was a beautiful weekend of spring.
Spring is fully underway, but Saturday morning still managed to drop to around freezing. The cold meant Bella Vista Lake was steaming like a sauna when I passed on the way up to Missouri for the holiday. I couldn’t resist stopping.
I’ve missed dyeing eggs. Have a good one, everybody.
The Sun returned to us today, but with a price: highs in the 20s, wind chills in the single digits and a smattering of snow, even when the Sun was shining. The sunlight and cold aren’t opposites; the northern air is so cold that those clouds we’ve had for the last month can finally drop out of the sky. I played sub-freezing Ultimate with some other knuckleheads, including a few first-timers.
The evening drew on and temperatures fell; looks like it’s about 16 degrees as I type this. Still, a cloudless sky is a valuable opportunity.
A full Moon, a comet and Jupiter are above us tonight. I wish I could do them justice with the equipment I have.
(The Moon through trees)
This is Orion — my first shot of a constellation. Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, is now visible from Earth near Orion’s bottom right. The Moon is bright enough to give the glare in this image and drown out the comet, but it should be dimming enough in the next week or two to see the comet with the naked eye. I’ll have to try again; this is the best I could get tonight:
It’s that fuzzy green thing near the middle, trailing a faint wisp, the merest suggestion of a tail. Like an eclipse, these celestial crossings, even seen through a noisy long exposure, remind me there are inconceivably huge and grand things happening beyond our little world. Remember that, will you?
Thanks for passing by,
Today I saw my first solar eclipse. It’s tough to convey how exciting it was for me; I was thoroughly geeking out. Just look at that crescent and remind yourself that it’s an unfathomably huge, seething sphere of gas and energy that’s being obscured by a much smaller, but no less beautiful, sphere of rock and cold. How cool is that?
You can also barely see a massive sunspot moving across the Sun’s “southern” surface. It’s about the size of Jupiter. Sunspots are regions of particularly intense magnetic activity, and they only look dark compared to the rest of the Sun; they’re still plenty bright.
I always like to think of eclipses from the perspective of people 2,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 years ago. What would you think if you saw the light of the sky dimming, or going out as during a total eclipse? I’d think the world was ending. I wonder how terrifying it was. Or maybe ancient people were more relaxed than I suspect. Either way, I wonder.
It was a really lovely evening here. I spent most of the day nervous that the clouds wouldn’t get out of the way in time. They broke just enough to let me see the Sun through their filter — perfect. A few other creatures joined me to see it.
Beautiful all around. I’m looking forward to the total eclipse coming in 2017.
Thanks for looking,