Monday, September 28, 2015

The Lunar Eclipse - What Makes a Blood Moon Red?

We realized there was a lunar eclipse going on, last night, in a very last second kind of way.  My mother mentioned, after a phone call with one of my siblings, that they had to get off to go and see the lunar eclipse. 

I did a quick computer search (we couldn't see the moon through our windows - as it was still very early in the evening), realized it was the super-moon eclipse, and the last of the tetrad of "blood moons", and the last total lunar eclipse until 2032 - clearly we didn't want to miss it

We threw the kids - some with shoes, and cameras in the van, and went out in search of the moon.  We found our neighbors gathered in a nearby park, which afforded a view of the moon rising.  It was great, because being more prepared than us, they had arrived while it was still light enough to set telescopes up on tripods, and were nice enough to share with the children (while we ran back for coats and the rest of the shoes).

G (age 16) was working with a newish camera in the growing dark, but managed to get three pictures she was happy with.  They don't capture all the craters we could see, but they do give a nice image of the shadow.

What makes a blood moon red?  The best explanation I could find was right in Google search.

Earth's shadow is red at the edges for the same reason a sunset is red: When sunlight is scattered by passing through Earth's atmosphere, the other colors of the spectrum are removed.

I think we'll be repeating the Blue Sky - Red Sunset experiment from Science is Fun, today.

It's great to be a homeschooler!


Phyllis said...

We didn't see it in its red phase. We only saw it during the eclipse when it was white like your first picture. James and Sam went for a walk together and watched it. Steven, Katie and I could see it from our bedroom windows.

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

It's hard to believe that you were not super prepared for this event! It's been so widely covered in media. But leave it to our weather to present us with cloudy skies for most of the eclipse :(

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Natalie - I've been generally discombobulated this fall - can't seem to get it together :)

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I feel like the earth's shadow is more red as the eclipse starts than as it finishes, looking at photos. We didn't see it start here - it was behind clouds for that part, so I couldn't compare in person.

Lucinda @ said...

You got great pictures! We had to wake up at 3am to see the eclipse. I think my kids were on autopilot and both wandered back to bed very soon, but they're glad they saw it. We loved the sunset colours experiment too.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Lucinda - I'm not sure we would have been game for 3am - we've managed a 5am eclipse before - but now it feels like we're getting old :)

Maryanne - I think that makes sense with the sunset experiment, as the moon was getting higher in the sky throughout the eclipse.

Ticia said...

We didn't see the red phase during the eclipse, but we got a great view of it yesterday as we drove home from AHG/Traillife.

Billy said...

We, unfortunately, did miss it. And not because we didn't know or weren't ready. we even woke up 4:30 AM to go and see it (it's prime here was at 5:15) and I dragged a half sleeping girl around the neighbourhood looking for a spot, but the moon was way too low and we just couldn't find it.