Monday, December 27, 2010

Solstice Review


I drove out into the Texas Oil Fields, better known as the Middle Of Nowhere, Texas. Well, some people say "Fort Stockton" or "Van Horn" -- but really, it's a gloriously serene and giant prairie that we should have pondered more deeply before we paved.

Nonetheless, it turned out to be quite fortunate that I was driving from Texas to California before Christmas, as the Hill Country had a cloud cover, and I would not have been able to see the recent Lunar Eclipse from home.

Umbral Phase about a half-hour prior to totality...

Of course, a great fuss accompanied this rare eclipse coinciding with the Winter Solstice, and the reddish hues were also an interesting rarity.

This particular "alignment" of our planet with the sun and moon to cast a shadow on the moon's surface happened during a Super Moon, meaning our natural satellite is at its closest point to Earth.

Amber Waves!

I actually had 12 videos, but I will spare you all the footage and late-night commentary. I had no way to anchor the camera, had neck fatigue after "looking up" all that time, and the jiggling you see is not so much bad filming as shivering ;)

It's times like these when I do wish I had a better camera, however! The Canon Powershot is great for parties and the more frivolous end of tourism, but it sure comes up short during celestial events!


So, after combing through videos all week, taken from all different geographical areas, here is a beautiful time-lapse where you can see a more stable view of each phase, set to symphony music. I am still glad I took a few snippets personally, so I can remember my experience in years to come, but this last view is most worthy of the spectating time investment!

Did you miss it? Was it cloudy or were you asleep? Plan your next eclipse viewing with NASA'sFive Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses, courtesy of the Goddard Space Flight Center.