Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last night's full moon was glorious in its ascent, rising up behind the hills to the east of the farm. By 9:00 pm it had cleared the trees and illuminated the meadow with its pale light.

But tonight's full moon had a secret. It was going into hiding just before it set.

When the clouds cleared about 5 am, Julie woke me up and we slipped outside to witness the lunar eclipse. In the image above the moon is just emerging from total eclipse, where the Earth passes between the moon and the sun, casting its shadow over the moon's surface. My images are blurry because I do not have a cable release for my camera (yet), so the tremor of pushing the shutter button causes some distortion. Each exposure lasted more than 10 seconds.

Shortly after the total eclipse, the moon gained a bright edge as the Earth moved out of alignment with the sun. Clouds and the moon's dropping behind the western horizon stopped the show here. We could hear migrant warblers calling overhead in the dark. A screech-owl temolo-ed from the ashes by the garage. From the sumac tangle along the north border a yellow-billed cuckoo called, cu-cu-cu-cu.

Full moons often affect me. I get clumsy--stubbing toes and bumping my head. I get edgy. I can't sit still, can't sleep deeply. I wonder if it's the same for birds, and that's why they get that migratory restlessness, or zugunruhe, when the moon is full...


On August 28, 2007 at 3:16 PM Anonymous said...


Looks like a very interesting event. How is the beer in the beer tent, though? Is it warm and flat like most English beer?-Kay

On August 28, 2007 at 5:33 PM Anonymous said...

sorry! commented on the wrong post!
I liked the moon images too. Too cloudy in my region to see the eclipse this morning.--Kay

On August 28, 2007 at 6:47 PM Das Scientifische Schimp said...

Nice post, B. It's Zugunruhe, from the German Zug (travel) and ruhe (rest).
So unruhe is unrest. Travel unrest.
Ja vohlt!

On August 28, 2007 at 9:00 PM KatDoc said...

Love the lunar eclipse post! I got up early to see it, but my tiny camera couldn't capture any images.


On August 28, 2007 at 11:54 PM anne said...

Wow. I too was out there this morning, in my bathrobe, looking up. And while I enjoyed our clear and cloudless view, I wondered who else I knew was watching the moon at that very moment.

It was you! And Julie! And one of my very special favorite students, Gabe (and his grandmother, who "made" him get up at 5:20 this morning to see the "luna" thing.)

I wish I knew who my other friends were that were out there this morning, looking at that very same moon during that time.

At least I know there were you guys, and me. And my friend Gabe, and his grandma. :-)

On August 29, 2007 at 6:37 AM Jayne said...

LOVE your photos Bill! I tried, but all mine had so much distortion they looked like a huge lunar...err... phallic thingie....lolol. Thanks for sharing!

On August 29, 2007 at 9:01 AM Mary said...

I was out there, too, at 5:15 a.m. (as usual). We had heavy cloud cover.

On August 29, 2007 at 9:51 AM Bill of the Birds said...

Dear der Zience Schimp:

OK, made the changes. My #*&$%@ spell checker steered me wrong.

On August 29, 2007 at 11:52 AM Julie Zickefoose said...

Hi, sweet Annie--

our friend Shila was out there, too. I love that thought, that you wondered who else you knew was watching. Shila called to tell us to go look at the big tangerine moon last night, and we often call each other when there's a fabulous cloud formation to see. As always--it's the free stuff that's the best. Nice to know you were watching, too.

On August 29, 2007 at 11:43 PM Susan Gets Native said...

Okay. I was the only person in this hemisphere who DIDN'T see the eclipse. I saw one years ago in Nova Scotia, though.

Sure you're not a werewolf, Bill? It would explain a lot.