Lunar Geek – “Blood” Moon Eclipse

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blood_moon_04142014

A Lunar eclipse occurred last night, with the Moon slipping into the Earth’s shadow.  The refraction of light through the Earth’s atmosphere created the reddish hue, not quite darkening our sister planet. (The Earth and Moon are more accurately a binary planet system, rather than a primary and satellite system.)

The term “Blood Moon” seems to be the result of the media glomming onto a doomsday prophet, ‘end of the world’, God is coming book seller.  It doesn’t seem to have any historical relevance, but since it’s caught the fancy of reporters around the world, we’re stuck with it.  Some have gone so far as to claim it’s a sign from God, warning President Obama (about something… pick a wingnut cause and use that, for all the sense they make).

Several more of these eclipses will happen in the next few years, just as they’ve happened ever since the Moon reached it’s current orbital distance from the Earth.  (the Moon used to be much closer to Earth, but tidal friction and orbital dynamics have been moving it further away ever since it formed.  Using devices left on there by the Apollo missions, we can measure that movement precisely.)

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe contributed to this blog.

Space Cadet Jimmie Joe Sees His First Lunar Eclipse. At 54.

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So I’m standing outside in 28 degree weather, watching the Moon being swallowed by Earth’s shadow.  I’m standing there thinking, “I wish I had a decent camera to capture this with…  the iPhone just doesn’t have the oomph, and my other camera probably wouldn’t either, even if I had fresh batteries for it.”

Then it dawned on me…  “Jim, you’re as dense as neutronium!  YOU’VE GOT A TELESCOPE!”  A quick run into the house to get it, and back out and set up in minutes.  By the time I got it pointed at the Moon, two things conspired to prevent a good shot.  One, the Moon was almost completely in shadow, and the iPhone just isn’t up to that, and two, the next door neighbor’s spotlight on the garage came on!  Still, I managed to get these to shots, by simply holding the iPhone camera over the lens and moving it around until something came into focus.  Better than nothing, and now I know how to make it work, and I will try some other shots some other time.  Look out Jupiter and Saturn…  you’re next!  Space Cadet Jimmie Joe is now itching for some astro-shots!

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