Sunday, August 17, 2008

Partial lunar eclipse

Got up at five o'clock this morning to see the eclipse. Stood out on the balcony watching it until it disappeared behind the ridge. Would've gone up to The Rampart or somewhere to watch if I'd had my wits about me, but who does at that hour? Anyways, it was good. Not as good as the last one with the blood moon and everything, but good.

The moon passed partially into the earth's umbra (shadow). This is fairly common. It didn't achieve totality, so the whole if the moon was not in shadow. It set here on the east coast of Australia before we could see the whole thing but on the west coast of Western Australia it got to its full 81% before it set.

Annoyingly, there's no amateur uploads to flickr yet from WA and the Perth Observatory's blog is also mum on the subject. Bastards. But the observatory does tell us a "lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon, when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon are in line (in that order) and the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon."

Sydney Observatory's blog

This morning's eclipse seen from Norway

Annotated northern moon, seen from California

Blue moon, seen from Ireland - use bold italics in his profile but has some nice moon photos
Spooky clouded blood moon

Solar flare at totality, solar eclipse 2006, seen from Turkey

Partial solar eclipse seen from England

Plane in front of eclipsing moon, 2006, seen from England

Blood Moon

Lunar eclipse full

A blood moon is when the moon goes red during a total eclipse. There's bugger-all light on it and no blue bits in the light and voila! blood moon. There's a clearer picture of it here.

Total lunar eclipse August 2007

FM from France & Brazil

Full moon from France (left) and Brazil.

And while we're at it, let's look at the partial solar eclipse in February

More Sydney Observatory linkage

Major upcoming sky events

The dreaded Mars hoax returns

The dish at Parkes and the Apollo moon landings - the film was "historically fairly accurate"

The SO has podcasts and you can buy an annual sky guide.

Coming to a sky near you

20th to 22nd August 2008
Mercury close to Venus, under two moon-widths apart. Low in western sky.

December 10th and 11th 2011
Total eclipse of Moon. Visible Australia from 11.45pm (Sydney). Likely to be a blood moon.

June 6th 2012
Transit of Venus. Venus crosses in front of Sun, appearing as a small black disc. A rare event. Visible on the eastern coast of Australia from 8.16am (Sydney).
Capt. Cook's transit & the 2004 transit
Cook at Ducktionary

November 14th 2012
Total eclipse of the Sun. Visible in Australia, Cairns (Queensland) in path of totality. Full eclipse 2 minutes from 6.40am (Sydney).

July 31st 2018
Favourable opposition of Mars. Close to Earth (nothing like that stupid bloody hoax).

July 22nd 2028
Total eclipse of the Sun. Fully visible in Australia, path of totality from WA (north) to Sydney and New Zealand. Begins 12.44pm (Sydney), totality about 2pm.

April 14th 2029
Close pass by the asteroid 99942 Apophis, around 40,000 kilometres, height similar to communications satellites. Visible from Australia in hours before dawn.

September 8th 2040
Five planets closely grouped in the night sky. Visible to naked eye in the west after sunset.

July 29th 2061
Halley’s Comet returns. Last visit 1986.


michael said...

I didnt even realise there was a lunar eclipse this morning I was sound asleep at 5am sleeping off some beers I had the night before

I will have to mark those dates in my diary - in 2040 I will be 70 and 2061 I will be 91 if I live that long!!!!

Spike said...

I find that a couple of vodkas and a drink with a brolly in it leaves the head clear enough for the enjoyment of eclipses both lunar and solar.

I will be 85 and wearing my pants up under my armpits and saying "speak up young man!".

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Thanks for all this night sky information. I'm really hoping for a clear night soon (cloud cover and copious amounts of rain all this month, so far) so I can have a gander at what's up there.

I'll be 65 in 2040 and dead in 2061 I hope. Shouldn't stop me from watching the return of Halley's Comet through someone elses eyes, though.

michael said...

wasnt the last time that halleys comet came past a real fizzer?

Spike said...

Device dear, yer welcome.

Can't you get up above the clouds on Broom for a bit of private stargazing or does going up that high freeze the cobbles off the Host?

Michael, I seem to recall some disgruntlement amongst the populace last time. Not big and bright enough nor fast enough was the problem I think. All the astronomy types were terribly excited about it breaking up. I get the impression not much was known about comets then.

I remember laying on an airstrip one night watching it through a pair of binoculars. It was fabulous, a strange thing like a badminton shuttle up there in the sky, zooming round the solar system like Dr Who (only without the overcoat and glamorous assistant obviously). I thought it was wonderful that a thing of dirt and ice and steam could have such an effect on us wee humans so far below.

Halley's Comet at NASA