Monday, August 27, 2007

Night of the Red Moon

A rare eclipse coloring the moon blood red is slated for this evening. Australia will get the first show.
Stargazers can expect the moon to shift between shades of red, orange and yellow, as the atmosphere filters out most of the blue light.
The colours will depend on the extent of volcanic gas and dust in the atmosphere filtering the light. (Picture from Florida/Reuters)
Powerful telescopes, long lensed cameras and professional binoculars are part of the equipment load for the sky sighting. If you are on the west coast of the USA the show starts at a dizzying 2:52 PM and ends about an hour later.

Myths about the evening and the meaning of a Red Moon abound. Some feature Christopher Columbus and his astute use of the eclipse to sway Jamaicans to further assist and supply his voyage.

The story goes that in 1504, Christopher Columbus frightened native leaders in Jamaica by predicting a total eclipse of the moon and attributing the blood-red natural phenomenon to angry gods.

The Caribbean island's inhabitants, even more impressed with the explorer's supposed ability to convince the gods to return the moon to its normal shining state, then provided him with the provisions to continue his voyage.

This an amazing line up of the Sun, Moon and Earth which provide the spectacular effect. This is a great educational guide to The 50 Best Sights in Astronomy and How to See Them: Observing Eclipses, Bright Comets, Meteor Showers, and Other Celestial Wonders by Fred Schaff.

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