Saturday, April 04, 2015

Lunar Eclipse 4 April 2015

For once, the cat's antics were somewhat welcome, as he woke me up with enough time to gather some warm layers and my camera and tripod and go outside to watch the lunar eclipse.

I was slightly surprised that the sky had cleared, as it was rainy when I'd gone to sleep.  Low clouds hung in the east, and there might have been a wisp here and there, but the Big Dipper, Arcturus, Scorpio and Antares, and bunch of other stars and constellations were clear, as was the shrinking moon.

The moon was a tiny sliver when I stepped outside at about 4:45.  I managed to set the tripod up next to the house with a view of the moon and its reversed crescent, the horns pointing down instead of away from the horizon like a regular one.  The air was not too cold.  Dawn wouldn't be for another two hours or so.

The sliver grew less, and the argent glow never left the top.  An orange glow appeared at the bottom of the moon and faded as it moved up.  The moon was a copper orange mirror, with a silver ouroboros of light circumscribing it.  I found myself singing We Three's "Center of the Sun," along with the recording of Sarah Favret, Judy Johnson and Kim Scanlon singing in my head.  And then the whiter light along the moon's top really did look like a snake swallowing a thin line of a tail wrapped around the burning orange part.

I'd pause and take a picture -- carefully not looking at the camera screen so I wouldn't have a rectangular afterimage superimposed over the night sky.  Once again, I wished I had a telescope mount for my camera or my tablet.

I was looking down a funnel of all the sunrises and sunsets on Earth stretching their focus from the rim of the world and painting the moon citrine.  If this had been the early nineties, I'd be freezing with the Carleton Druids, gathered together for a ritual, celebrating the dance in the sky and tuning ourselves to the seasons.  I miss those rituals, when we'd all gather together under the sky (OK, or in someone's house).  In the pause, I thought about my writing and the cycles of the sun and moon, the Solar Eclipse sex scene from "The Mists of Avalon," and how thinking about my writing during a lunar eclipse felt like Londo Mollari wanting to meet the shade of a former emperor in the Babylon 5 episode "Day of the Dead."

The moon sank lower

And then the moon sank into the trees.  I tried moving around, but next to the house had been the best vantage point.  The moon was leaving eclipse totality, and the diamond bright white was driving the citrine away.  It was about 5:20 when I came inside.


I went through the pictures; I should have put the camera on manual and set the focus to infinity, because I would have gotten more shots -- the six good ones I stitched together into a mosaic.




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