Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Live-Blogging The Solstice Lunar Eclipse

12:50 am central time:

Put on coat over fleece robe. Put on big furry hat. Walk outside and crane neck. The sky is hazy but the moon is visible. A definite shadow creeping across its edge! Can't discern any coppery color yet.

Go back into the house and drink egg nog.

1:10 am central time:

This eclipse is moving fast! On our way to totality. Moon is almost halfway covered. Makes you realize how fast these celestial bodies are traveling. Peaceful night. Think I'll make a cup of tea.

1:20 am central time:

Geez louise, where's the fire? The eclipse is moving at a fast clip, and the moon already appears nearly three-quarters in shadow. It seems I could just stand out there, planted in the yard, and see it changing before my eyes. I can begin to discern more of a reddish glow, like they talked about, but it's subtle.

1:28 am central time:

Just a slim band of light now, on the moon's right side. The rest is all in shadow. There is more and more of a reddish glow visible. It's nearly 1:30 am and people still have their Christmas lights on. Do they leave them on all night?? I would love to be down at the Powell Observatory, in Louisberg, Kansas, which is open for nuts like me who want to "gather."

1:35 am central time:

Just a sliver left!--rapidly approaching totality. And the moon is indeed taking on a coppery hue as promised! Someone across the street just came out of their house. Did they come out to see the eclipse, or to grab a smoke?

1:45 am central time:

Totality! The moon was a faint smudge in the sky, but now has disappeared altogether, and I am not sure if this is the eclipse at work or increasing cloudiness. Lilah wasn't sure she would stay up at first, but then decided she would, and stands with me trying to find the moon behind all that grey milk. Okay, gradually, the moon is becoming faintly visible again. The person across the street is gone. No one else out in the street or in their yard, no one but us watching.

1:56 am central time:

Clouds! Dense clouds have moved in and I can't find the moon anywhere in the sky. If this keeps up I might have to go to bed. Though I'm not the least bit tired. Astronomical events are pretty stimulating, you know.

2:08 am central time:

Bleh. Still too many clouds to see anything. Well, here's some interesting lunar lore instead: According to the Wichita Eagle, some ancient peoples thought a lunar eclipse was a moon being gobbled by a dragon and bleeding into the sky. Others banged pots and pans until the moon reappeared. I think the pot and pan banging is a nice tradition and should be revived.

2:20 am central time:

I think a dragon has gobbled the moon. It's nowheresville. Clouds, clouds, clouds.

Next door, a large, puffy reindeer is deflating. The neighbors have finally pulled the plug on their *all-nite Christmas light display*. I probably shouldn't keep coming outside. I'm making dogs bark.

2:32 am central time:

I've been sitting here in a stupor since the last post. That tells me that I better hie me off to bed, before I end up sleeping in this chair. I've already started to dream -something about...round, coppery orbs...elusive....vanishing...

2:40 am central time:

Had to step out on the porch and take one last look before going to bed. Sky is overcast, and by now at least half of the earth's shadow will have receded. Soon I will be a lumpish shadow receding to my own bed.


  1. Pretty cool. Lilah's lucky to have a mom to share a rare event like this with! Probably the first eclipse she's seen? I remember one a few years ago on a cold night at a more reasonable hour.

  2. i feel like i was awake and viewing that magical eclipse. thanks for your nearly minute by minute account. as always, you describe and write so beautifully!