Saturday, December 10, 2011

Total Eclipse of the Moon

Who knew I'd see my first perfect eclipse today? Not me.

At about 9:30 p.m. tonight, I was walking back from a debate competition I was judging, because that's the sort of thing we crazy, fun-loving foreign teachers do on a Saturday night.

Just as I was about to walk into our apartment, I saw the Japanese teacher outside, just standing there in the cold. I asked her what she was doing and she pointed to the moon and told me excitedly that a
once-in-ten years lunar eclipse was visible today in China and Japan.

Strangely, as I was walking home, I remembered having a passing thought that it was strange the moon was such a crescent today because it had been so full yesterday, but the thought didn't go any further.  Duh, Alison. You don't go from full to half in a single day unless something else is going on.

I texted the other foreign teachers and we waited outside for another 25 minutes, watching the bright white light get pushed off the right side of the moon as the dull gray-orange took over. Around 10:00  p.m., the full moon was totally covered with the earth's shadow -- a perfect lunar eclipse.

I think eclipses are cool not because they are necessarily visually stunning, but because of the thoughts that go through your head when you watch them. How strange that the sun, the earth, and the moon all happened to line up today, and the result of that bit of geometry is my moon went out for awhile.

Post Edit: I was told by a Chinese friend tonight that the Chinese word for "eclipse" is yue chi -- "moon eat."  Makes sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment