Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse

Last night's full moon was glorious in its ascent, rising up behind the hills to the east of the farm. By 9:00 pm it had cleared the trees and illuminated the meadow with its pale light.

But tonight's full moon had a secret. It was going into hiding just before it set.

When the clouds cleared about 5 am, Julie woke me up and we slipped outside to witness the lunar eclipse. In the image above the moon is just emerging from total eclipse, where the Earth passes between the moon and the sun, casting its shadow over the moon's surface. My images are blurry because I do not have a cable release for my camera (yet), so the tremor of pushing the shutter button causes some distortion. Each exposure lasted more than 10 seconds.

Shortly after the total eclipse, the moon gained a bright edge as the Earth moved out of alignment with the sun. Clouds and the moon's dropping behind the western horizon stopped the show here. We could hear migrant warblers calling overhead in the dark. A screech-owl temolo-ed from the ashes by the garage. From the sumac tangle along the north border a yellow-billed cuckoo called, cu-cu-cu-cu.

Full moons often affect me. I get clumsy--stubbing toes and bumping my head. I get edgy. I can't sit still, can't sleep deeply. I wonder if it's the same for birds, and that's why they get that migratory restlessness, or zugunruhe, when the moon is full...

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