Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Amazing Photos From the Rare 'Blood Moon' FULL Lunar Eclipse in Arizona

Did you see the Moon last night ? 

Looks just like a regular old Full Moon right?  
Not quite - at about 11 pm (Arizona time) the moon started to 'disappear' and turn red ! No it wasn't some weird omen or sign of the end of the world, it was in fact a super rare Full Lunar Eclipse.
Just stunning ! 
I captured all of these shots on my Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Actually last nights eclipse is the first in a series of four eclipses that will occur within the next 18 months, also known as a Tetrad. The next 3 eclipse in the series will happen on : October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015. Now while a tetrad pattern isn't totally unheard of, the fact that it can be seen by most of North America makes this set of eclipses extra special. Plus as a BONUS Mars is the closest it's been to Earth in nearly 6.5 years ! Those of you with a telescope I am sure got some amazing views of the red planet.

Fun Fact from NASA :  During the three hundred year interval from 1600 to 1900, there were no tetrads at all ! And the next tetrad won't occur until 2032 !!

What is a Full Lunar Eclipse ?
A Full Lunar Eclipse is when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon line up in such a fashion that the Earth is perfectly positioned between the Sun and the Moon. Well, shouldn't the moon be totally dark than if the Earth is blocking the Sun ? In theory yes, but what actually happens is the suns rays sneak around the rim of Earths atmosphere giving off a red sunset glow - which in turn refracts off the Moons surface and back to us here on Earth. Now partial eclipses happen just about every six months but it is the perfect alignment of the Sun, Earth and Moon that makes these ones so special.
Check out this video done by NASA for a more in depth explanation of this beautiful natural phenomenon. 

This type of Lunar Eclipse is commonly known as a Red Moon or Blood Moon.
For my family this eclipse couldn't have happened at a better time. Surely intentional, my kindergartner just finished up a unit on astronomy and learning about the Moons phases - you know the whole waxing and waning thing. My son has really taken a liking to learning about the planets and stars. Although he did ask me if the Milky Way was made out of milk. He also just went on a field trip to a local farm where they milked cows so I understand the confusion. 
How cool is it that we got to experience this gorgeous celestial event in our life time ??

Did you stay up late last night ? Let me know in the comments below 

My References : 
Most of this I actually knew because well, I am a nerd but I did Google up some info to make sure I was remembering correctly
A Tetrad of Lunar Eclipses
Business Insider also has some really great charts and visuals

* My tripod has been out of commission since last week so I did these all free handed and hope to get some better shots of the eclipse phases in October :-)

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