Blood Moon

April 4, 2015

I hadn't really planned on checking out the blood moon, but my body clock (read, "bladder") woke me up a half hour before today's lunar eclipse was supposed to start. I debated trying to get back to sleep but I have the type of brain that would just lie there whispering "you're practically up, and you're missing the eclipse", so I hauled my butt out of bed and wandered downstairs to the big picture window.

Astronomical events are pretty hit and miss here in British Columbia: the recent auroras were a bust because of all the cloud cover. There was partial cloud cover when I first started looking last night, and for a while I thought the sky was telling me "fuggedaboutit", because even though I could see the reflection of the moon on the cloud tops, the moon itself was obscured. The article I'd read said the eclipse would happen at 3:15 AM, and that it would be one of the fastest lunar eclipses ever, only lasting a few minutes. Which puzzled me, since eclipses are pretty slow occurrences. When the clouds finally sauntered away at around 3:23 AM, I thought I'd missed the main event.

Ironically, the clouds are what kept me looking. As they kept scudding across and filtering the moon's light, they dulled its brightness enough for me to finally determine that yes, the Earth's shadow was slowly covering the moon's face, and totality had not been achieved. I guess by "fast", the article had meant totality, not the full process of the eclipse.

And lo! the sky magically cleared completely, and I got to see my blood moon somewhere around 5 AM. Though I didn't have my good camera with me, I did remember that on the table behind me there was a perfectly serviceable pair of binoculars I'd just inherited from my in-laws. I'm not sure we got complete totality around here. To my eyes there was always a small bright bead of light visible just near the top edge. But it sure was cool. Sometimes I feel really dorky for losing sleep over this type of thing. And then I lose that sleep and it was all worthwhile.

Happy Blood Moon everyone.


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