Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse

We awoke at 4 o'clock this morning to :yawn: see the total lunar eclipse.

We took pictures. Our camera was able to capture the first phases, but when the eclipse reached totality, our little digital was outdone, and the pictures were black.

A first shot while I was figuring out how to program the camera for Night.

Oops!  How do you use this thing?

The partial phase.

partial eclipse

The bunny watched too.


Lunar Eclipse for Beginners (that's us!)

It is now 5:38 am, and the moon is in mid-eclipse. We cannot get a picture of it with our poor little camera because it is too dark. So we are blogging about it instead.

Cornflower's narration: "First, the moon is whole. Then, there is a bite, then a big bite, then another big bite, then another, and then just a little bit is left. Then it's eaten!"

Her narration after Triss and I explained what was happening: "Mom said get a soccer ball and a softball. The softball is the moon and the soccer ball is the earth. And the flashlight is the sun. First, you see, the sun is in front with its light pointing to the earth and the moon is right next to it. The moon has some light on it, but when it doesn't, it's behind the earth."

Triss' narration: "The moon starts out looking like it does normally, and then slowly you begin to see all the phases of the moon. It goes from full to gibbous to half to crescent to nail sliver. Then it almost disappears. All you can see is this round orange hole in the sky. It looks like a dust-filled hole."

Mariel's narration: "It looks like a hole into Saudi Arabia at night. Or a big penny that hasn't gotten the picture of Abraham Lincoln and the White House on it. Triss mentioned being on the moon while the moon was in the lunar eclipse, and she said it would be neat, but I thought it would be scary. I don't really want to go out to outer space. I wish we hadn't gone to the planetarium. That guy told me things I don't want to know."

You can figure out the relative brightness of a lunar eclipse in totality by using the Danjon Brightness Scale. It was very dark in the early stages of totality, and gradually warmed to a dark orangish red. Right now, at mid-totality it is very dark again, almost invisible. We disagreed as to whether it was L=0 or L=1, so Triss said it must be L= 1/2.

From Sky and Telescope magazine online: "The reason a totally eclipsed Moon isn’t completely black is because Earth’s atmosphere scatters and refracts some reddened sunlight into our planet’s shadow. This is why the shadow’s umbra (its dark central portion) glows with a ruddy hue — anywhere from bright sunset-orange to dark blood-black."

NASA's official August 28th lunar eclipse website.

Update: Now it is seven minutes after six, and there is an orange glow on the top left side of the moon.

Update: Now, at 6:25, that sliver of faint orange glow is all of the moon that is visible as light diffuses in the east.


JLW said...

Good for you guys!!!

Javamom said...

I love these narrations! *I've* linked to *YOU* and posted three more photos of the event.

Enjoy your kiddos!


Mother Auma said...

Thanks, ya'll! We had such a great time.