When I was in third grade, I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to go to the Moon, to Mars… I even had a very realistic dream where Sarah McFarland and I had to survive on the Moon for 6 months. It was pretty frickin’ awesome for a dream.
So this evening is a total lunar eclipse that is actually visible where I’m at. All day I went back and forth between going to bed early and just staying up. Those of you who know what a night owl I am probably could have guessed what I would end up doing, and you’d be right. :) At about 1:40, Rob jokingly suggested that I should just get the 3.5 mile run that is scheduled for 6:45 in the morning over with now, so that I can just go to sleep when the eclipse ended. I thought it was a pretty good idea, and when he agreed to come with me to protect me, we laced up and hit the road (42 minutes, which is exactly a 12:00 min/mile pace).
04:02; Moon: 25% in the penumbral shadow. Now, I’m sitting on the stairs outside my apartment, watching as the black shadow of the Earth slowly falls onto the Moon. Wow. The dark side of the Moon is very cold, so does the part of the Moon in the Earth’s shadow get cold? How long does it take to cool down, and how cold does it get?
I’ve got my binoculars (you’d be surprised how well a decent pair works for viewing the Moon) and my camera, and even though my point-and-shoot won’t take any pictures that’ll win prizes, maybe I’ll get something that looks kind of neat. The binoculars help you to see a 3D Moon, instead of the flatness we see with our eyes. Pretty cool!
:( It’s 11a in Giessen, and I just received an email from my boss’s secretary. The studio we were very hopeful about renting is no longer available. Which means I have that icky nervous feeling in my stomach again. I had been feeling great all day, because the studio is perfect for what we were wanting to start out in. Now, the only option is a rented room (which means NO PRIVACY) or a beautiful but expensive apartment with a long-term contract. :(
04:25; Moon: about 40% in the penumbral shadow. Wow. That’s pretty sweet. Unfortunately, I just read that we might not get to see it the best here in the Mid-West. I guess I misunderstood what I read earlier today.
04:28; Moon: 50% shaddowed. (I guess my last estimate must have been a little off.) Awww!!! There is the slightest hint of deep red in the upper right quadrant of the moon now, just barely. If you were just glancing up at the Moon quickly, you might not even notice it. That redness is the beginning of totality. It is much more obvious through the binoculars, and the difference between the partial shadow (which is grayish) and the total shadow (reddish) is also more obvious.
04:35; Moon: about 75% shaddowed. The red still isn’t very obvious to the naked eye. But I sure am having fun sitting out here blogging about it. Except for the mosquitoes nipping at my salty legs. Ick.
It’s starting to look more blood red now. I remember watching only one lunar eclipse before. It was at the Oak Cliff house, and I think Dad must have been on call in the emergency room that night, because Mom and I were going in and out of their room onto their balcony watching it. The Moon and shadow weren’t as crisp as they are now, or at least that’s how I remember it. :P I bet it was pretty much the same.
04:43; Moon: a sliver! I just saw a falling star! And I want to watch, watch, watch and try to notice when the Earth’s shadow completely takes over the Moon. It’s a good thing I can type without looking at the keys.
04:52; Moon: completely in shadow. I think I know now why I don’t remember the shadow being as crisp as it is now. Once it gets really close to being totally behind our shadow, the crispness disappears, and part is in a gray shadow and part in the reddish shadow. Now the Moon in completely reddish. Well, almost completely. There is a little sliver on the lower left quadrant that looks a little white compared to the red, but other than that tiny sliver, it’s red. As I type this, though, the red is becoming blacker. Totality?
04:56; Moon: darker and darker. Man, it must be totality! It just keeps getting darker! I bet it doesn’t take very long for the surface of the Moon to get cold cold in our shadow…
05:02; Moon: upper 10% very black. We are about 30 minutes away from the middle of totality now, and with my bare eyes, it is difficult to make out the top boundary of the Moon.
05:18; Moon: no white or gray, upper right quadrant very dark. I finally feel like I have something new to say, but it still includes the word “dark.” Sorry. :P It is very difficult to find the Moon in binoculars now. Earlier, when part of the moon was still not covered by shadow, the bright sunlight reflecting off of it helped me to find it. Now, there isn’t anything bright to draw my eyes to the Moon. It’s just dark. It’s kind of like there isa black disc inside an orange one now. The black disc is probably about forty percent of the moon, in the upper right quadrant. This is because the Moon isn’t passing directly through the center of the Earth’s shadow, but kind of uner the center of our shadow. ‘m typing now with the laptop monitor mostly closed (just enough room for my hands!), because the brightness of the monitor ruins my eye’s sensitivity to the subtle light on the Moon. Sorry for mistakes, then, because I doubt I’m going to want to proof this before I go to bed. I think now is the first time I can say that there is truly no more white.
5:24; Moon: Mostly blackish, with about 25% reddish. Almost to totality. I was about ready to go to bed, but there are only a few minutes left to total eclips time, and I don’t want to have come so far, only to go to sleep just before “totality.” I’m staying up. But I think that I will cut out after that. I is gettin’ tye-erd.
Totality: pretty frickin’ sweet. Wow.