Tonight I watched the lunar eclipse. A total eclipse only occurs when the moon is full, when the moon is directly opposite the sun and only when the moon is completely within the Earth's shadow. Tonight you might say, "all the planets were lined up right" so there would be an eclipse. Don't you just love it when things line up right?!
Our weather forecast was not particularly favorable for a clear sky tonight with the prediction of partial cloudiness. There had been a thick layer of clouds all afternoon. Watching the sky to see if perhaps I would have an opportunity to view tonight's eclipse at around 5:00 p.m., I looked out my living room windows to see the clouds breaking up with large areas of clear blue taking over in the eastern sky. It was beginning to look promising for a good view of the eclipse after all!
Then, within a half hour, another thick layer of fast-moving clouds rolled in within minutes of sunset. Now it appeared that I would not be able to view the eclipse after all.
Wanting to glean as much information as I could about the upcoming eclipse, I found some wonderful references and photos available on many different websites. A favorite website found full of information on the lunar eclipse is called "Shadow and Substance" and available at http://shadowandsubstance.com/. I share the following information and photos from the Shadow and Substance website.
By the time the sun was completely set, that thick layer of clouds that had moved in earlier started to move back out. Once again, it looked as if I would be able to view the entire eclipse from my third-story living room window!
Going outside to see if I could get a better view from the yard, I discovered that the trees around the edge of the yard blocked the moon as it was not yet very high in the sky. Later, when the moon was higher in the sky and the eclipse progressing, the moon was full of color so I went outside again - this time with my camera.
My camera, a very basic digital, does not have the type of high-powered zoom lense that is required to photograph the moon from such a distance as my back yard, but I snapped a picture in the dark just to see how it would look. Certainly not even as great as seen through my own eyes, my photo taken in the darkness of my yard under the night sky shows only a little dot for the moon. Saturn, also visible in the night sky tonight near the lunar eclipse, appears as even less of a dot in my dark photo.
A video of the Februar 20th lunar eclipse