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Western Slope Skies - The Late, Late Show: Getting Personal with the Moon

NASA Kennedy Space Center (NASA-KSC).
In this lunar eclipse viewed from Merritt Island, Fla., the full moon takes on a dark red color because it is being lighted slightly by sunlight passing through the Earth's atmosphere.

In the very early hours of November 8, the second total lunar eclipse of
2022 will be visible from Western Colorado. At 2:09 AM Mountain
Standard Time the moon will begin it’s slip into the Earth’s shadow. At
3:16 totality will begin, lasting until 4:42. The eclipse will end at 5:49.
The science of a total lunar eclipse is, when orbital inclinations of the
Sun, Moon and Earth are favorable, the Moon passes through the
Earth’s shadow.

But the experience of viewing an eclipse is a personal one, dependent
upon each individual’s perceptions, beliefs, and their reaction to such
an event.

So why is it worth being awake in the middle of the night to watch a
total lunar eclipse?

Astronomical events have always captivated sky watchers on Earth.
Before the advent of astronomical science, early humans observed
these events, but usually with dread and fear, as they did not
understand what caused solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, comets, and
meteors. Who can blame ancient man? It really DOES look like the
moon is being swallowed by a dragon or other unseen entity! This
effect is made all the more realistic by the fact that the Earth’s shadow
on the Moon is curved, lending the distinct visual image of “a bite being
taken out of the Moon”!

Once celestial mechanics were understood by humans, eclipse events
could not only be predicted in advance with great precision, but
humans could then also experience these events with awe and wonder.
Another visual experience during the re-emergence phase, when a
small amount of white sunlight again illuminates the edge of the Moon,
is the impression of a giant eyeball peering sideways into space!
Unlike a total solar eclipse with totality that lasts only minutes, a lunar
eclipse’s totality may exceed an hour, with the entire event lasting
several hours.

Although optical equipment is not necessary to observe a lunar eclipse,
looking at the Moon through binoculars or a telescope with a wide field
eyepiece offers a pseudo-3-dimensional appearance.
No special filters are required.

No two eclipses are exactly alike, with the color during totality varying
from orange and red shades, to almost a dusky black.
The reddish color of the Moon during totality is caused by Earth
completely blocking direct white light from reaching the Moon, when
the only light being reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted
by Earth’s atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason
that a sunrise or sunset does: the scattering of blue light. The more
dust or clouds in Earth's atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the
Moon will appear.

Do eclipses affect people's moods, behavior, or physical well-being?
Despite claims that lunar eclipses affect human behavior, according to
NASA, there is no evidence that lunar eclipses have any physical effect
on humans, but that profound psychological effects have occurred
throughout history.

So, get out some comfortable chairs, hot beverages and blankets, and
enjoy this spectacle of nature! May you not doze off!
You’ve been listening to “Western Slope Skies”, produced by the Black
Canyon Astronomical Society and KVNF Community Radio. I’m Nancy


Western Slope Skies is produced by Black Canyon Astronomical Society and KVNF Community Radio.