Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last night didn't get off to a good start. The alarm failed to go off at 3:45 like I (thought) I set it to. Goddamn 5:00 AM !! Curse, swear, run. At least I caught the Moon during totality, and the cloud cover drifting in from the west didn't get too bad until close to 6:00 AM. "Close to" I say. Molly and mornings don't get along well together. I zipped out the door with only the thought of grabbing a jacket. Damned if I remembered to take my watch(see a planned post coming up soon-Why I Hate My Watch), let alone the binoculars. My usual morning "wake-up" is what I call 'nuclear coffee'. This consists of a heaping TABLESPOON of instant coffee, along with three heaping TABLESPOONS of sugar lightly nuked for 1 and 1/2 minutes in the microwave. Bolt it down and I can think again before the crack of noon. No chance to do this last morning.
The run was actually worth it. My own estimate of the Moon on the Danjon scale was somewhere between L2 and L3. There was some haze or high cloud in the air that obscured viewing to some degree so I can't be too sure of this estimate. The Moon appeared to be a dark red colour, but I have to give allowance for the viewing conditions. The left (east) rim of the Moon seemed to have more of a glow than it should given the theoretical stage of the eclipse.
What was really interesting was that at "about" 5:35 AM (see above for the Molly watch story) a meteor passed above the Moon (about 1 degree) moving from southwest to northwest. It was actually quite bright and slow moving. Only a few seconds later there was a bright flash from the rim of the upper left quadrant of the Moon (northwest in Lunar directions). Obviously they weren't the same meteor, but the coincidence says that I was quite privileged. It'll be interesting to see if anyone else observed what I did. Once more I have no exact time for this sighting. It was when the Moon was about 10 degrees above the horizon by the "fist method". that's all that I can say.
By the way to Stephanie from Ontario...the next lunar eclipse will be on February 21st of next year. Don't feel too bad about being a "beginner". Amateur astronomy is not a competition. Molly is very much of a beginner herself, and she won't be finding any new comets soon (or ever ?). If you want a table for the next few lunar (and solar) eclipses up to 2010 go to the NASA page at http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html . I'll try and answer your comment on the page that it was posted to as well.
What did others see ?

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