Images of a Lunar Eclipse

An astrophysicist friend of mine (don’t you love sentences that start like that?) told me on Tuesday night that there would be a lunar eclipse on Wednesday morning. She wasn’t kidding.

I wound up waking up naturally a little before the event and you wouldn’t know it by the photo but the moon was large and clear, low in the sky, near the horizon and I watched the shadow of the earth creep across its face.

It’s not hard to see how ancient people could have gotten a little freaked out witnessing such a display. The Egyptians believed it was a sow swallowing the moon. The animal-eating-the-moon thing was a common reaction. The Mayans thought it was a jaguar and the Chinese believed it was a three-legged toad. The ancient Greeks, rational people that they were, said that the earth was round, not flat, and used the lunar eclipse as proof.

As the eclipse progressed the part of the moon that remained lit seemed incredibly bright. I didn’t take this photo (you can tell because it’s not just a blurry mess) but it captures that part of the phenomenon.

It’s not often you get to see the shadow of our little blue home and it’s well worth a viewing if you get a chance. The next one will happen on September 28 of next year (unless a jaguar eats it before then).

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