Monday, 28 September 2015

supermoon eclipse

In the midst of a Total "Supermoon" Lunar Eclipse, I am moved to write about it as I am too cold to stay another minute outside.

 This might normally be a Harvest Moon, the name given to the first full moon after the equinox, but every 18 years, there is a full total lunar eclipse where the moon is closest to the earth. That is when it is called a Supermoon.  That is a term used for a full or new Moon that occurs when the Moon is less than 360,000 kilometers (ca. 223,694 miles) from the center of the Earth. It appears largest as it rises. The next Supermoon eclipse will not happen again until October 8, 2033. 

 A Total Moon Eclipse occurs when the Moon, the Earth and the Sun are in a straight alignment. You may have heard that this Lunar Eclipse is called a Blood Moon, but not by astronomers. Even though the Earth completely blocks sunlight from directly reaching the surface of the Moon, the Moon is still visible to the naked eye during a Total Lunar Eclipse because the Earth's atmosphere refracts sunlight and indirectly lights up the Moon's surface with a reddish colour, same mechanism that causes colorful sunrises and sunsets.

The darkest part of the Earth's shadow as it sits on the moon is called the umbra. This umbra is about 870,000 miles (1.4 million km) wide. As I watched the eclipse tonight, it was like an exotic pearl. With the binoculoars I had a real sense of the moon's dimension. Part of the lyrics to the song "Stranger in Paradise" came to me:

I saw her face and I ascended
Out of the commonplace into the rare
Somewhere in space I hang suspended
Until I know there's a chance that she cares
(written by Robert Wright and George Forrest for the musical "Kismet")
My pictures of the moon are too poor to share, so I will leave you with this watercolour I made.
watercolour and coloured pencil
peace on earth under a starry sky and a wondrous moon


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