I’ve always been fascinated by the planets and stars although I never pursued the interest past reading or TV programmes. However, I do watch out for forecasts of “extra-terrestrial” events. In January of this year I actually managed to photograph the Super Blue Moon.
Last night however the Blood Moon was the focus. Andrew Fabian, professor of astronomy at the University of Cambridge, explained the “blood moon” phenomena in today’s paper:
It’s called a blood moon because the light from the sun goes through the Earth’s atmosphere on its way to the moon, and the Earth’s atmosphere turns it red in the same way that when the sun goes down it goes red.
The longest eclipse of the 21st Century!
The promise of a glimpse at Mars, travelling closer to Earth than it has done since 2003, and looking like an orange-red star prompted a plan to drive to Mayo designated as “a dark sky reserve” to watch the spectacle.
But by Thursday the weather forecast was for clouds and I felt that Kildare offered as much of a chance of a gap in the clouds as anywhere and the trip west was cancelled.
After weeks of glorious sunshine and clear blue skies, Friday started very dull and very overcast: not a break in cloud cover at all. By evening it had started to rain. So instead of Mayo, I hit for the Curragh.
I drove the motor way to Newbridge – exiting at each bridge to see if the view skywards unhampered by buildings would yield any glimpse of the reddening sky! No Luck! Onto the Curragh where I stood alone as sheets of rain drenched me (our Mediterranean Summer didnt encourage having rain gear!). There was no other sky gazer to be seen. However, undaunted I stayed until 11.30 when the phenomena was to finish and drove home to download images of what was invisible in Ireland
The next lunar eclipse of such a length is due in 2123.