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Stargazing Lunar Eclipse and earth's shadow

  1. Nov 11, 2003 #1

    I was fortunate to be camping on November 8 and near a nice warm fire throughout the entire lunar eclipse. It was awesome!

    I have a question about the the apparent direction the moon appeared to travel through the earth's shadow. This is kinda hard to put into words, so please bear with me.

    Imagine a clock face on the Moon. When the eclipse began the Moon began getting dark centered at about the 4 or 5 o'clock position of the Moon. As the eclipse progressed to totality this seemed to remain fairly constant. In fact at totality, I noticed that there continued to be a small bright sliver centered the 5 o'clock position.

    All of this seemed perfectly logical to me. The unusual things happened when the Moon began to leave the Earth's shadow.

    The Moon began to brighten at about the 5 o'clock position. However as more of the Moon left the shadow it appeared to me that this point moved clockwise around the Moon until the last bit of shadow exited the Moon at about 2 o'clock.

    No picture that I draw seems to show this and unfortunately, I also cannot find a sequence of pictures of the eclipse either.

    Am I smokin weed?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2003 #2


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    What were you burning in your campfire? :wink:

    Try this link for a visual of the sequence...it should explain everything.

    Welcome to Physics Forums!
  4. Nov 15, 2003 #3
    The moon on the night of the lunar eclipse did not pass directly through the umbra, or it would have reached complete totality whearas is didnt which kinda sucked.

    Although it passes as close to totality as possible taking in account the last couple eclipses where the moon was still half white and the next couple eclipses where the moon will be half white.
  5. Nov 18, 2003 #4
    The Eclipsed Moon and Cones

    I witnessed an awesome (total) lunar eclipse on 16 July 2000 (at exactly Midnight!) in Canberra, Australia. At totality the moon was blood-red. See below link:


    PS. I was smoking and having a few drinks when I watched it.
  6. Nov 30, 2003 #5
    Do lunar eclipses and solar eclipses go hand and hand? Because the moons already lined up so it should go from having a lunar eclipse, then like half a month later a solar eclipse. Does this happen often?
  7. Nov 30, 2003 #6


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    Yes, they do go hand in hand. The details matter, of course. Not all solar eclipses are total (some are annular); sometimes the Moon' shadow only just hits the Earth (like this time, the solar eclipse was in Antartica), and sometimes it misses altogether; and so on. It depends on the exact geometry of the Earth and Moon (and Sun!) at the time.
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