Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eclipse Report

The Bonaire trade winds were howling on Saturday, so hooded sweatshirts were a wise choice of attire for our intrepid eclipse observers. I think the star to the lower left of the moon is Chi Leonis and the one to the upper right is 59 Leonis. I think that the moon's position relative to those stars should be somewhat different at other observing locations around the world. For example, according to my planetarium software, the moon would have appeared to be almost on top of 59 Leonis as seen from Little Falls, NJ.

The sky was cloudy along the eastern horizon last night, but once the moon got up in the sky a bit, we had a great view. The eclipsed moon was surprisingly blah when viewed through binoculars or the telescope, but it looked great with the naked eye!

We were at a dark site a little bit Southwest of Sorobon and had a great view of the winter Milky Way while the moon was in the earth's shadow. As the moon reappeared, the myriads of stars disappeared until only the brightest ones could be seen.
From what I have heard today, it appears that quite a few people on Bonaire observed the eclipse last night. My friend, Bill Heatley, sent me this link to an animation of the path of the moon through the earth's shadow. A number of recent eclipses are still on the site as well. The animations really help one visualize what was going on, and why the moon looked like it did during the eclipse.

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