Tuesday, August 28, 2007

dark moon (Mississauga)

I had set the alarms to get me up early to drive to Erin Mills, to meet up with some of the RASC - Mississauga people. My alarms started going off at 4:30 AM! Kept hitting the snooze...

Didn't feel like I had the wherewithal to chit chat with people. Didn't feel like rushing about to get out of the house. Didn't feel like driving anywhere. I am not a morning person.

Still, I popped outside. From Malcolm's front yard, I picked off the Moon immediately! It was around 5 AM, it had started, the partial eclipse, just under half covered, at an angle, from the bottom right. It was a crescent shape facing down. Such an unusual orientation... Like horns. There was very little colour, dark grey on top, white on the bottom.

I put some pants on. And settled into a lounge chair with my 7x50 binoculars (which I now keep in my car).

The giant square of Andromeda and Pegasus high up, galaxy almost straight overhead, faint in binos.

At approx 5:30, it was getting colourful, dark orange on the top.

At approx 5:45, did I see the ISS? (Checked Heavens-Above.com but couldn't see anything noted.)

By 5:50, the Moon looked like Mars with a polar ice cap, a thin light yellow limb on the bottom. The angle of the pattern had slowly shifted to bottom left. By 6:00, the umbral was complete.

Saw a star at 11 o'clock position about 4 diameters away (σ Aquarius); another at 2 about 6 away (θ or possibly ρ Aquarius).

It was getting too low to see above the houses. I went inside and popped out a screen from a second-storey window.

At 6:05 it was almost impossible to see naked eye the moon blending into sky.

By 6:12 I couldn't see it in binos anymore.

This was the best lunar eclipse I've ever seen.

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