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Old 05-04-2004, 07:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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total lunar eclipse

This week offers an opportunity to view the dramatic shift of moonlight from familiar gold to ruddy reddish hues as a total lunar eclipse will be visible from much of Europe, Africa and the Americas....

..................

Skywatchers await lunar eclipse
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

Skywatchers are preparing themselves for a total eclipse of the Moon on Thursday night into Friday morning.

It will be visible from much of Europe, Africa and the Americas.

The slow and subdued nature of lunar eclipses makes them less dramatic than solar eclipses. Scientifically they are also less important.

From the UK, the eclipse will occur in the early hours of Friday morning, when the Moon is low over the southern horizon.

At the start of the eclipse, the satellite is 17 degrees above the horizon. It gets lower in the southern sky as the event progresses. By mid-eclipse, at 0440 BST (0340 GMT), it is just five degrees above the horizon.

Serenity and fertility

Lunar eclipses are an enchanting spectacle of nature, delightfully reminding us of the cycles and rhythms of the cosmos, of which we are only spectators.

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE
Occurs when Moon passes into Earth's shadow
Penumbra: Region where Earth blocks some (but not all) Sun rays
Umbra: Zone where Earth blocks all direct sunlight - total eclipse
Although not as spectacular as when the Moon crosses the face of the Sun, lunar eclipses have a beauty and grandeur of their own.

Thomas Hardy said the movement of the Earth's shadow over the Moon had an "imperturbable serenity".

This week's event lasts just over five hours. One thing to watch out for is the colour of the Moon as it moves into the Earth's shadow.

During a total lunar eclipse the only light that can reach the Moon's surface has been refracted through our planet's atmosphere on the limb of the Earth as seen from the Moon.

Stuff of myth

The refracted light is red. If it were possible to look back at the Earth during a lunar eclipse then the rim of the Earth would appear a glowing red.

WHERE TO SEE IT
South America and eastern North America get best view
Dust and cloud in Earth's atmosphere affects Moon colour
Telescope is useful but total eclipse is viewable with naked eye
This colour effect is the stuff of myth and legend. An account in 331 BC said: "...all her light was sullied and suffused with the hue of blood."

Some ancients called it "the time of the blood of the Great Mother's wisdom", linking the Moon's colour with menstruation. This was a natural thing to do given the link between the length of the month and human fertility.

In 1503, Christopher Columbus, stranded in the Caribbean, used a lunar eclipse he knew would take place to impress the natives and secure respect and fear, as well as a regular supply of food.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3020737.stm
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Old 05-04-2004, 07:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Didn't we have one of these just a few months ago? I know it was within the past year, unless by we, I really mean my area of the country. I don't know much about this stuff.
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Old 05-04-2004, 07:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Last year's eclipse:


This one:
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I caught a lunar eclipse for the first time last fall... it was really cool.

For some reason I've always missed them because of cloud cover or just plain forgetting... My son and I just sat on the porch and soaked it up...
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Fun

So long as the clouds stay away, i should be able to catch this one

Thx for the heads-up
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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According to CNN it won't be viewable here in USA:

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/spa...lunar.eclipse/
North America will miss out on the entire show, as the moon will be below the horizon during midday and afternoon hours. Weather permitting, some Europeans will have a chance to see the very end of the event.

The very best region to view this eclipse will be across western Asia, much of the Indian Ocean and the eastern two-thirds of Africa. The entire eclipse will be visible from this region.





ah well I'll take a gander in case someone's wrong.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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seems to contradict the BBC story above.
hmm...more checking...
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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yah i'm seeing that it wont be visable from the states....
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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We were spoiled with an eclipse a couple of months ago. I knew I wasn't crazy. It will be years again before we see another one here.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rubyee
We were spoiled with an eclipse a couple of months ago. I knew I wasn't crazy. It will be years again before we see another one here.

from CNN:


The next total lunar eclipse will occur on the night of October 28-29 and will favor most of the Americas, as well as western portions of Europe and Africa.





so only a few more months for America to get one.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I did not know they were that frequent. I cannot wait.
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Old 05-05-2004, 07:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Ah yes, nothing quite like a lunar mooner party!
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Old 05-05-2004, 10:41 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The last lunar eclipse visible here, I took pictures every 20 minutes-they came out as a orange blob surrounded by black sky. Not perfect, but definitely worth keeping as are the pics I took of Mars last August.
Whenever your ego gets too big and you feel the world owes you, look up into the clear night sky. I guarantee you will feel your true place in this universe.
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Old 05-06-2004, 06:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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God-dammit! I always look forward to lunar eclipses, and its supposed to cloud up later in the day today, and rain all night tonight, making it impossible for me to see...!
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