Thursday, February 21, 2008
taken by me
The last total lunar eclipse until 2010 occured last night, with a cameo appearance by Saturn and the bright star Regulus that appeared on both sides of the veiled full moon. It lasted about an hour.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes into Earth's shadow and is blocked from the sun's rays that normally illuminate it. During an eclipse, the sun, Earth and moon line up, leaving a darkened moon visible to observers on the night side of the planet.
The moon doesn't go black because indirect sunlight still reaches it after passing through Earth's atmosphere. Since the atmosphere filters out blue light, the indirect light that reaches the moon transforms it into a reddish or orange tinge.
Unlike solar eclipses which require protective eyewear, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye. In August, there will be a total solar eclipse and a partial lunar eclipse.
I was washing the dishes and almost forgot about it. Am I the only one that gets excited about things like this?