Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sept 2015 Eclipse

Last night I went up to the Eugene Reservoir to watch the lunar eclipse.  I think half of Eugene was up there.  I met Jerry and Kathy Oltion, who are with the Eugene Astronomical Society, and hung out with them.  Allen Roberts showed up, as did Nina K Hoffman and Jacob Boyd.   I also saw some parents of The Child's school friends (Mark and The Child were not very interested in going with me, and stayed home.)

Folks milled around, waiting for the moon to rise.  The sun set shortly before 7, and everyone peered eastward to try to see if they could see the moon.  I brought my mobile device with the notion that I'd be able to photograph things through telescopes... but that didn't work out so well.  I did have an astronomy app that told me when the moon was above the (ideal) horizon.  There was a hill due east, and even though we were on College Hill, the moon was hidden.  Jerry pointed out that the moon would be difficult to spot, as the eclipse was well underway and the moon would be a tiny sliver (later this morning I saw a composite photo of the eclipse taken from Dallas, and it looked like two time zones over was the perfect place to watch the full moon rise and then promptly start to have bites taken out of it.  

Jerry, looking due east through binoculars, saw the moon first.  More haze than anyone had realized had built up and the moon was a dim orange wisp in the sky, barely perceptible in the blue twilight sky.  I went over and pointed it out to The Child's friends.   

The sky grew darker, and the moon rose, moving up and to the right at a forty-five degree angle, following the sun's near-equinoxal path.  It glowed an orange ember with the refracted light of the world's circle of sunrises and sunsets.  

Eventually, a sliver of white appeared on the moon's face.  I said bye to Jerry and Kathy and walked home.

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