A Total Eclipse of the Red Moon

20 02 2008

The news has been buzzing lately about the total lunar eclipse visible from North America other than the standard political fanfare. During the time of a total lunar eclipse, the color of the moon will turn into a dull red reminiscent of our friendly and dead red neighbor, Mars. The reason for this is when the moon gets completely enveloped by the earth’s shadow (umbra), the sunlight passing by are bent and deflected off our atmosphere thereby dimly lighting up the moon. The earth’s atmosphere then bends out the light coming back towards us only allowing us to see the red hue. An important part of all this is that this can only occur at a full moon.

Here’s a picture I took of the moon when it had turned red. The other pictures looked like the moon was going through it’s usual phases.

… and here’s a close-up of the moon. My 5MP point and shoot camera sucks so I had to blow up the image. It all began around 7:45pm central and around 9pm was when it was completely covered and turned red. You notice 2 bodies of light around it. Could be distant stars?

So if you have clear skies, hope you saw the red moon because your next chance will be sometime in December 2010, weather permitting.