Sunday the 15th was a wild weather day as a storm blew through my area in the morning knocking out power for myself and a lot of people in the metro KC area. However, as forecast, the sky cleared later for the lunar eclipse. This is the last ‘complete’ total lunar eclipse visible at my location for several years to come (1) so I was anxious to watch it. For me this was an exceptionally nice eclipse and hopefully I have a few pictures to post later. Pictures are nice but truly experiencing a total lunar eclipse is where its at.
What made this total Lunar eclipse particularly great was how dark the moon got. Probably the darkest I have ever seen it. I am not alone in thinking that as others commented on the darkness as well. It truly was a spectacle with the dark orange-red moon floating among the stars. This is something I feel requires darker skies to fully appreciate.
For me one of the most interesting and exciting characteristics of a total lunar eclipse is experiencing the changing moonlight as the hour from first contact (U1) to eclipse (U2). At first as the Earth’s shadow takes a small bite out of the moon its not significant but each passing minute slowly reduces the moonlight until its gone. Even then the moon is going through a transition from the dark of eclipse start to maximum darkness at greatest eclipse and back to slowly brightening again as it heads towards the eclipse end.
Certainly one doesn’t have to sit outside watching the entire time. Lunar eclipses are fairly slow so one can enjoy the view for awhile and take a break. However just coming out once to see the moon at maximum eclipse isn’t watching an eclipse. Its just taking a peek, you lose the magic of going from a bright full moon illuminating the landscape to the eerie scene of a dark moon. Something that doesn’t happen regularly and only during a total lunar eclipse.