Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Eclipse (not a Twilight book!!!)
Very early this morning (Tuesday) a total lunar eclipse was visible in the sky in North America. Basically, this happens when the moon passes behind the Earth, and the Sun's rays are blocked (mostly) and unable to reach the moon. The rays that do make it through, pass through our atmosphere and typically make the moon appear red. Lunar eclipses are not rare, they happen a couple of times a year (TOTAL lunar eclipses are a little more rare than that). However, the next time a total lunar eclipse will coincide with the beginning of the winter solstice will be 2094. My camera is not quite strong enough to take a decent picture, so I got one using Google Earth (Google is the greatest company in the world) and posted it here. I hope you got a chance to see it (it is still happening as I post this). It's interesting to consider what someone watching 2000 years ago would have thought when they saw the moon turn red. It seems that "angry Gods" would have been a reasonable explanation at the time. The beauty of science is that through discovery, we can put old notions like this behind us. Well...sometimes anyway.