Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Impressions of an eclipse

1:30 AM:  The Moon seems so tiny almost directly overhead, appearing to race to the North through the clouds that cover the sky, clouds that are actually racing to the South.  The South-facing edge of the Moon appears to be flattened slightly, as though someone had dropped the great orb and then put it back in the sky, hoping no one would notice.

1:40 AM: Now like a giant white cookie with a bite taken out of the edge! The shadow looks so dark - but what will it look like at totality?

‎1:55 AM: Like a First Quarter moon with a curved terminator, but pointing in a direction no First Quarter Moon ever would.  The clouds have thickened and the Moon only appears sporadically. Oddly, the breaks in the clouds seem to favor Jupiter, off to the South. I guess Jupiter has far more opportunities to pop through breaks in the clouds than the Moon.

‎2:14 AM: Almost completely lost in the clouds, just a patch of white among the gray. Occasionally a slim crescent pops out. Totality in 25 minutes - if there are still clouds, will a red glow be visible?

Totality! A pale rust color, like rust stains on dull gray metal.

The eclipsed Moon keeps playing a frustrating game of hide-and-seek with the clouds.  Even when the sky looks clear, binoculars will reveal clouds streaming across the Moon's face.  Still, I made it, and got to see totality!  I think it's time for bed.

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