Blood Moon

Start of the total lunar eclipseI really enjoyed tonight's total eclipse of the Moon. It was a warm and clear night, perfect for moongazing. I had both the binoculars and the 4.5" reflector telescope out, but I think the latter needs a good clean as the binoculars provided the superior view.

Watching the shadow of the Earth creep across the Moon gives you an appreciation of their relative sizes. During a total solar eclipse the Moon just covers the Sun (it's remarkable!). However, the Earth's shadow easily covers the Moon with plenty to spare.

When the shadow had almost entirely covered the Moon it was like looking at red Mars with a bright white ice cap. The red darkened greatly as the shadow obscured all Sun. It also reduced the glare in the sky. As I gazed around other areas of the sky with the binoculars I could see two of Jupiter's own moons, the smudges of nebulae and the many bright pinpricks of light from the young stars in their birthing regions. The whole sky tells a wonderful, epic story and after studying astronomy I can read it a lot better now.

After what seemed like a very long time the Moon started to brighten once more and the red retreated, as if a sunrise on the Moon.