Lunar Eclipse
May 15, 2003 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Just a reminder that the lunar eclipse occurs tonight, starting at 7:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (and lasting about three hours). Various webcasts have been set up for the darkness-impaired. Apologies for the double-post, and I am aware that I'll probably get like 5 comments that say "SpaceFilter".
posted by hammurderer (41 comments total)
posted by F Mackenzie at 5:43 PM on May 15, 2003

posted by Mwongozi at 5:46 PM on May 15, 2003

I appreciate the reminder, I had totally forgotten. Unfortunately, I think it's too cloudy to see anything, but I'll check again to make sure. Thanks!
posted by catfood at 6:09 PM on May 15, 2003

I get the double-whammy, astronomy-wise; in the middle of the city, on a cloudy night.

posted by GriffX at 6:26 PM on May 15, 2003

Here in Lisbon, Portugal, the moon couldn't be clearer, whiter, closer. I can see it from where I'm typing. It's quite very exciting. I bet a lot of babies will be conceived tonight. With a moon this big and this bright, that moment of darkness can hardly fail to be sex-mad. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:36 PM on May 15, 2003

*shakes fist at clouds, glares at miguel.*
posted by quonsar at 7:03 PM on May 15, 2003

It's overcast where I am but I think this merits the second post. I'm getting a break in the clouds here and there, and a lunar eclipse is well worth a look even if you can only see a little bit of it.
posted by Songdog at 7:13 PM on May 15, 2003

Dammit! A total lunar eclipse and it *has* to be overcast and rainy! Arghh! I remember a year or so ago, during the Leonids, I just happened to be in the best place on earth to see them (Guam.) It was overcast then! ARGHH!

posted by drstrangelove at 7:15 PM on May 15, 2003

Geez, drstangelove, didn't they teach you the anti-rain-dance at school? You will need 23 people, each adorned with an upturned colander on their head, a 2-year old boar, and a lot of chili sauce.
posted by Jimbob at 7:17 PM on May 15, 2003

Wow - it's beautiful. Absolutely clear skies here. Bright white on deep blue. The shadow almost seems greedy, it's so dark. It's not unscary, in fact.

You people really should pay more attention to weather when choosing your locations, honestly. Portugal has the best weather in the world. Make the decision and move here, dammit!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:21 PM on May 15, 2003

Overcast and rainy.

Fuck you, Miguel.
posted by yhbc at 7:22 PM on May 15, 2003

Hey MiguelCardoso, if you want to sponsor a freshly minted graduate student that is finally free of school and that comes complete with a shiny new masters of architecture degree in hand, to Portugal - then I will take you up on your offer.

I also heard that Cork is made from trees in Portugal - so thats cool

So I will be awaiting my plane tickets, and complimentary villa at the end of july. I also would like to experience all 9123 ways that the women of Portugal say and express the act of sex in words. I like blondes, but black haired women are cool, too.

Oh, and I like fresh breezes off the ocean please.

posted by plemeljr at 7:49 PM on May 15, 2003

Yeah, overcast here too...darn the luck.
posted by dejah420 at 7:51 PM on May 15, 2003

Sorry, you didn't mention the eclipse, plemeljr. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:53 PM on May 15, 2003

C'mon people - Miguel's just making all that "beautiful" and "Absolutely clear skies" shit up. Just like he did with that Carlos Quevedo character.
posted by soyjoy at 7:55 PM on May 15, 2003

posted by soyjoy at 7:56 PM on May 15, 2003

Pah. Who needs a total lunar eclipse to make love? Not me. While Portugal waits another eight months for an opportunity to get all randy again, I'll be making whoopee like a madman. Hah!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:05 PM on May 15, 2003

Soyjoy: we're phoning all our friends; it's that lovely.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:09 PM on May 15, 2003

Sorry Miguel, I had to run off to the top of my school building in order to see the beginning of the totality, so I wasn't able to say the secret word! And I agree with fff - but I was able to have my girlfriend with me on the roof, and it was particularly nice. Something about natural wonders which make natural wonders, such as my girlfriend, that much better.

posted by plemeljr at 8:35 PM on May 15, 2003

Who needs a total lunar eclipse to make love? Not me.

Oh god I'm so lonely.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:40 PM on May 15, 2003

It was cloudy all day, but it cleared up this evening. Unfortunately, no moon - either we're too far to the north or those buildings toward downtown are blocking the view. Oh well.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:50 PM on May 15, 2003

So we all walk out of the Matrix, and right there, big as life is a dark, orange-y, scary moon.

We'd all forgotten about the eclipse. It was little weird.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:05 PM on May 15, 2003

Oh, I'm being followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow... Leapin and a hoppin' on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow..."

Absolutely clear here in Chicago.
posted by azul at 10:07 PM on May 15, 2003

Clear in SF as well, and the moon was beautiful.
posted by Silune at 10:24 PM on May 15, 2003

Unfortunately, no moon - either we're too far to the north or those buildings toward downtown are blocking the view.

Or a little of both. The moonrise this evening in Seattle was at 8:34 (compared with 8:06 in SF). The "Middle of eclipse" was at 8:40. So we only could see the second half of it.

A few years back I remember leaving the Hurricane one evening and seeing a great-looking lunar eclipse in the clear sky. We then walked past a "woman of the streets" loitering on a corner and she slowly asked us "...Is the moon disappearing...?" That was one sound bite I wish I had a recording of.
posted by gluechunk at 10:51 PM on May 15, 2003

Partly cloudy, slightly hazy, but still beautiful in a telescope.
posted by moonbiter at 11:12 PM on May 15, 2003

Stayed up during the night to try and see it - clouds & rain constantly. Drat!
posted by muckybob at 11:50 PM on May 15, 2003

I enjoyed it from the middle of nowhere, in northern california (on a road trip). I couldn't find the moon for the longest time after the sun finally went down and it turned out it was already in full eclipse and it wasn't dark enough for me to see it. I finally noticed it as a sliver of moonlight as I was exiting a roadside Wendy's (because sometimes you need to have a Biggie inside of you), and I watched it for the next 30 minutes or so while the shadow left the moon.

I noticed throughout the night that the shadow moved across the moon at an upward angle. Might that be the same angle the earth is off horizontal?
posted by mathowie at 12:05 AM on May 16, 2003

it was boring.
posted by angry modem at 12:53 AM on May 16, 2003

i woke up and got shouted at by my girlfriend for waking her up. i then saw nothing as it was pissing down with rain.

posted by Frasermoo at 2:15 AM on May 16, 2003

Matt - the tilt of the Earth's axis (combined with your latitude) relative to the moon's orbit is responsible for how high above the horizon the moon rises. I'm not awake enough to really work this out in my head right now, but I believe that if the moon orbited the earth in the same plane as the Earth orbits the sun (which it doesn't) then the Earth's shadow would cross the moon at the same angle at which the moon crosses the sky. However, the fact that the moon's orbit is somewhat tilted relative to the earth's orbit means that this angle can vary. If coffee changes my mind, I'll let you know.
posted by Songdog at 6:13 AM on May 16, 2003

Azul: where the heck in Chicago were you? Here in Hyde Park it was completely cloudy - couldn't see a damn thing.

Ah well, maybe in November.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:18 AM on May 16, 2003


As long as everyone speaks English, I'm ready to move there...
posted by drstrangelove at 6:39 AM on May 16, 2003

Matt, Songdog: I think the angle at which the moon moves in relation to the horizon, and the angle at which the eclipse shadow moves across the moon, are two different (although related) phenomena. For Matt's question, the movement of the shadow passing up across the moon is related to the movement of the sun. If you look at the moon being eclipsed, you notice that the shadow is moving up. This is because the sun has set behind you - in a downwards direction. As the sun continues moving downwards behind you, the shadow cast by any object in its way and projected in front of you - in this case on the moon - continues to move upwards. Imagine standing next to and facing a wall at night; if a friend stands behind you with a torch and slowly moves it downward, you will see the shadow of your head move upwards on the wall.

The best illustrated intro to basic celestial mechanics I have found is H. A. Rey's 'The Stars - A New Way to See Them' (pub. Houghton Mifflin). H. A. Rey also wrote and illustrated the Curious George books, so his Stars book is often found in the children's section of bookstores; but it's a very good book and deals with some complex topics.
posted by carter at 6:47 AM on May 16, 2003

carter - the motion of the sunset is caused by the earth's rotation. The alignment of the bodies in an eclipse does not arise from rotation but rather from their revolution, or movement along their orbital paths. The moon orbits the sun along with the earth, so it is the moon's own revolution about the earth that slips it into the earth's shadow.

Thus, the sun sets down into the west because the earth's rotation turns our western horizon upward. The moon rises in the east because the earth's rotation lowers our eastern horizon to face the moon. But the fact that the moon happens to be passing through the earth's shadow would happen whether or not the earth was rotating. It occurs because of the orbital motions of these bodies.

That said, I entirely agree with you about The Stars, and I also recommend Rey's Find the Constellations.
posted by Songdog at 7:59 AM on May 16, 2003

Cheers, Songdog.
posted by carter at 8:32 AM on May 16, 2003

ooops, Johnny Assay:

"Absolutely clear here in". Lake County.
posted by azul at 10:03 AM on May 16, 2003

I'm so bummed. I was just dozing off last night when I suddenly remembered the lunar eclipse. Jumped into clothes & ran outside - and it was completely cloudy. Didn't see a damn thing. Very jealous from Miguel's descriptions. *sigh*
posted by widdershins at 10:21 AM on May 16, 2003

Absolutely clear here in Chicago.

Which Chicago was this? It was cloudy as all get out yesterday (downtown anyway).

On preview: What Johnny Assay said.
posted by mathis23 at 10:32 AM on May 16, 2003

How 'bout, "On preview: Maybe I'll read the other comments from a half-hour ago as well."
posted by soyjoy at 11:03 AM on May 16, 2003

« Older Caution. Low Flying Planes   |   Mmm...pickles...drool... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments