Turn around…

There are better places to stargaze than the basketball court outside my apartment complex. Unfortunately, none of those places are within walking distance of my bedroom.

Aside from that, last night’s lunar eclipse was a sight to see. I headed out ’round 4:30 central time, when the moon was about half-shadowed. I’ve seen lunar eclipses before, but I’ve always only paid attention at totality. “Oh, neat, the moon is reddish,” I would typically think, then go back to whatever else I happened to be more interested in at the time.

But, since I just finished Phil Plait‘s Bad Astronomy book last week, clearing up a lot of my moon misconceptions, I figured I ought to give the event some more attention. And boy, am I glad I did. It’s one thing to watch the moon at totality, it’s quite another to watch it approach totality, as that bright sliver of white slowly shrinks until it looks like a single bright spotlight gleam, and then nothing but a rusty ball, hanging up in the sky.

While I was out, I also caught sight of two meteors (yes, I still wish on them–never saw one as a kid, so I’m making up for lost time), Mars (which I correctly identified by sight–I’m so proud of me), and two things that were either small or fairly distant aircraft, or satellites (I don’t know what features characterize satellites). Mars looks neat arranged right near the Hyades in Taurus.

I hear that in areas with less light pollution, you could see the full moon at totality set in a field of stars. Next time one of these rolls around, I’m going to try to get away from campus and towns, out into the fields, so I can really appreciate the sight.

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