Wandering In Moonlight

First observation – a bit less than 48 hours before the moon goes into the Earth’s shadow and we get a full lunar eclipse, the moonlight is bright but soft, the breezes are calm, it’s comfortable, and an almost perfect evening out there.

Second observation – even when you’re just goofing around, the iPhone 13 will take a NICE picture using nothing but moonlight.

Third observation – some days it’s better to be lucky than good. Even on Friday the Thirteenth! With absolutely zero planning whatsoever, this picture lined up beautifully with the Big Dipper (upside down over my head with the bowl right over my head and the handle curving up toward the tree) and the two “pointer” stars at the end of the bowl pointing at Polaris, the North Star, which is just over my shoulder.

So, yeah, total lunar eclipse on Sunday night. If you’re in the Western Hemisphere and have a clear sky (or even a “clear-ish” sky) you’ll have a good view. It’s relatively early, it’s relatively high and bright. No telescopes or eye protection needed. (This is a lunar eclipse when the moon goes into the Earth’s shadow. For a solar eclipse, where the Sun goes into the Earth’s shadow, eye protection is critical. But this is the other one!) You don’t need to go to any special location.

Go outside. After dark. Look at the sky. Enjoy.

Binoculars might be nice if you have them. Maybe a lawn chair or a blanket. Bug spray if you’re someplace where there are mosquitoes. Or not! The Mark One eyeball works just fine, even if you’re just standing there or leaning against your car.

More information and times and details tomorrow. Showtime on Sunday night. For now, you can start with this.

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

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