Did you see the lunar eclipse on January 20, 2019? I did. (High five!) If you’re not familiar with Seattle weather, my excitement might require an explanation. In this area, winter arrives with cloudy skies, rain, and drizzle. Our odds of viewing any moon, let alone a celestial event, remain dismal. So when local newscasts trumpeted the upcoming lunar eclipse, I didn’t get my hopes up.
What is a super blood wolf moon?
One of our local stations gave this explanation on their website:
For the first time in three years, the United States will be able to experience a total lunar eclipse. According to NASA, it will be one of the sky’s “most dazzling shows,” as the moon will be at its closest point to Earth, making the moon appear slightly bigger and a lot brighter, an event that is often referred to as a “supermoon.”
But that’s not the only thing that will make this eclipse stand out. Total lunar eclipses are often call “blood moons” because when the sun, Earth and moon align, the sunlight that passes through the Earth’s atmosphere will appear to turn the moon red. And because lunar eclipses can occur only during a full moon — and the first full moon in January is known as a “wolf moon” — many are calling this spectacular event a “Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse.”
After hearing the hype, I WANTED to see the eclipse, but the forecast predicted (surprise, surprise) cloudy skies and rain. Of course, this year we’ve enjoyed some exceptionally pleasant weather. (Read about my walk in the sunshine here.) According one of my favorite meteorologists, this January may be the warmest ever recorded. (One record I appreciate more in January than I did in August!) Although I’ve learned not to pin my hopes on any weather forecast.
Saturday: Moon in view
On Saturday evening my husband and I enjoyed a moonlit walk to an event at Seattle Center. The above picture explains why the moon inspires humans to create poetry, write songs, and believe in magic. I reveled in its beautiful presence, but worried that it might not repeat the spectacle on Sunday.
Sunday: Would we see clouds or stars?
Clouds drifted across the horizon when twilight arrived on Sunday evening. We went outside. Could we see the moon? Even though it was too early for eclipse, the wispy shadows were no match for the bright lunar light. Encouraged, we crossed our fingers and went back inside to wait. Hopefully, no sneaky cloud bank would blow into shore before the magic hour.
My husband occasionally went out onto our balcony and monitored the sky conditions. Our balcony faces west, but there is a small wraparound on the south side. The view east consists of other condo buildings, unless you look up. Sure enough, there it was. Not only could we SEE the moon, we could pop in and out as we watched the eclipse’s progress.
Without specialized equipment, taking clear photos posed a challenge. My husband managed to snap a few pictures. I used one of his shots above. You can also see a series of pictures from the West Seattle Blog here. Another beautiful shot is on Tim Durkan’s Facebook page.
I’ve learned a lot about space research and discoveries through recent Pacific Science Center lectures. (Believe me, a lot has changed since I attended school! You can see one of my posts here.) Still, I feel something mystical anytime I pause and gaze into the night sky. I forget about projects, chores, or activities, lean back, relax, and let my mind wander. I’m glad I took the time to watch our earth’s shadow cross the moon.
Did you see the lunar eclipse? What did you think? I’d love to read your comments.
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