Viewing the lunar eclipse from Roseville

by Randy Muller

I got to view the lunar eclipse from the street in front of my house tonight with my whole family.

I had first tried to see it from various vantage points from my yard at 8:40 PDT (03:40 UT), but it was still too low and too light.

Finally, during half time of the Kings-Mavericks game, at about 9:05pm (4:05 UT) I went out again and caught it peeking through the trees, so I grabbed my binoculars and rushed out into the street, with my wife following behind me.

To my surprise, our neighbors were already out there enjoying the show. The temperature was very mild, probably in the high 60's. There had been awful haze during the day, but it didn't appear to detract from the view tonight.

After we had been viewing a while, my neighbor said to me, "I thought you'd be out here with your giant pooper-scooper," referring to my 18" Starmaster with the wheel-barrow handles, which is the only mode he has ever seen the scope in as I pack it into my car.

I thought that was pretty funny, but I replied earnestly, "I can see it just fine with these binos!"

Totality had just ended, and there was a bright sliver at the eastern side. There was a very dark and large circular area centered somewhere between Mare Tranquilitatis and Fecunditatis on the western (celestial) side. These maria represent the hair on the top and back of the head of the Lady in the Moon, which is a profile that looks east.

This area was extremely dark, but there was a broad area of dull reds and browns arcing from Tycho in the south all the way around through Oceanus Procellarum in the east and on up through Imbrium and Serenitatis in the north.

As I watched, the sliver grew and the curvature of the shadow was readily apparent. As the sliver grew, the colors seemed to dull a little bit.

The sliver plus the varying colors and shades in the reddish band gave the moon a very three dimensional look that I've noticed in other lunar eclipses.

It was a lovely display, and caused me to miss most of the 3rd quarter of basketball, but it was worth it. The Kings won.