Dark Side of the Moon

Yesterday night we went to watch the lunar eclipse. It was the longest full eclipse in a decade, with almost 1 1/2 hours when moon was in the shadow of earth. The eclipse started at 1:50 am and finally started receding at 4:22 am.

We drove to Oakland’s Chabot Space and Science center at 2:00 am. There were about 300 people or more on the deck when we reached, including people with huge personal telescopes, the TV camera crews, and an astronomer gone wild with space trivia. The sky was clear and the weather still. Quite perfect. We were seeing the East Bay lights for miles.

The moon was awesome. When we reached, it had already started to eclipse. It was rusty red, with a big patch of grey. The patch was the full shadow of the earth. This patch was slowly moving towards the center, where it peaked at around 3:30 am. It was slightly offset from the center. Since it was a full eclipse, the overshadowing light of the sun was completely blocked – as a result we saw beautiful variation of reds. The colors kept changing every few minutes. I also looked through the center’s telescope, but I’d prefer the view with the naked eye. The colors are a lot more vivid. On our drive back we saw the diamond ring as the moon was slowly escaping the earth’s shadow to shine again. Very good stuff!!

Our camera crisis continues, so here are some pics of what we saw, but captured through some other eyes.

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I also want to immortalize Hrishi’s cleverness with this post. So to Pani’s question about “how was the dark side of the moon”, here’s what Hrishi had to say…

“Indeed, there were many lunatics on the grass, and in the halls, and on the telescope and in front of KTVU Channel 6 Action 36 cameras. When we reached there eclipse was total, and as we left some light came shining back on – the (crazy) diamond-ring effect. Wish you were (t)here”

🙂 best!

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