Most of the last weekend got lost in a haze of migraine, but I did manage to recover enough to watch the super moon lunar eclipse last night. My mum is staying with me at the moment, so we grabbed our warm winter coats, gloves, and binoculars, and settled down on the deck to watch.
It was kind of amazing.
The moon was so bright that it was drowning out the light from the stars and casting shadows from the railings around the deck. Bright enough to see by, bright enough for flashlights to be unnecessary. I had forgotten just how bright moonlight can be on a clear night.
Then a tiny sliver of it disappeared. The sliver grew wider, eating up a quarter of the moon and then half. The light dimmed enough for the stars to be visible, more than I’ve seen for a long time. The stars over here don’t look quite the same as they do in England, the constellations are a little different. Through the binoculars, I could see even more stars; thousands of them up there. Millions. If most of them have planets orbiting, then how can we be alone in the universe?
More of the moon disappeared, and something amazing started to happen. The edges of the dark parts of the moon started to glow red, just a hint, and we could see the outline of the moon even though the eclipse was eating it. The eclipsed parts grew brighter as more of the moon was swallowed up, until only a tiny shining sliver of moon was left. It seemed to hang there for a long time, drawing out the suspense, before it disappeared.
It always fascinates me that a solar eclipse makes the sun go dark, while a lunar eclipse turns the moon a different colour. I know the science behind it, but I can’t help understanding why there are so many superstitions about blood moons. The sight of the moon turning dark, mottled red is unnerving on a certain level. It’s supposed to be a bright shining disc in the sky, not a blood-stained creature lurking among the stars.
No wonder so many of us use a blood moon in our fantasy stories. It’s a haunting sight.
Mum and I sat outside on the deck for a long time, passing binoculars back and forth, unable to decide whether it was more amazing magnified or seen with the naked eye. I’m not sure it matters. We got to see it; that was the important part. We got to see something that only happens every couple of decades.
Isn’t nature amazing?