In the ancient world, solar or lunar eclipse are regarded as an omen. Since the myths and superstitions believe that during an eclipse, the sun or the moon is consumed by a mythical animal or demon so mostly it is believed that it is a sign of bad things to happen.
Last night we witnessed a total lunar eclipse. We are not superstitious so we did not bring out and bang our pots and pans, which they say you should do to drive away the bad creatures and demons. But what we brought out is our star-gazing telescope which I bought when my kids were still little and is still of use today. Actually it was my son who brought out and set-up the telescope.
Besides the total eclipse, there’s also something special about the full moon. It is a supermoon, which means the moon is at its closest point to Earth for the month making the moon appears relatively large in our sky.
Lunar eclipse, also known as blood moon, occurs when the Earth is positioned directly between the moon and the sun, hiding the moon from the sunlight. With the moon tinged like blood, this projects a creepy appearance, no wonder the superstitious among us would say that it is the night when ghouls and spirits roam the earth.
But what makes the moon to appear red or as blood? As the moon is fully in the Earth’s shadow, yet at the same time, still a bit of light from Earth’s sunrises and sunsets falls on the surface of the moon. But red is the only color with a light wavelength that are long enough to stretch and “get around” the Earth. If you remember the rainbow, red is on top of the arc because it has the longest wavelength, while violet has the shortest wavelength which is at the bottom. When this reddish light waves strikes the moon surface, the moon appears bloody.
The lunar eclipse came and went and nothing terrifying happened. And the only omen or sign that this blood moon brought is that it showed that my family is a bunch of nerds.
(Photos taken by my son with aid of our telescope)