Breaking News

To the moon and back

A lunar eclipse turned the moon red in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 15. A telescope at the College of the Rockies captured the eclipse in pictures as it progressed from midnight until 3:50 a.m. Top left and then clockwise: The earth’s shadow crosses and eclipses the moon, causing it to turn red. Centre: The “blood moon” at its height. Top row, second from right, and then clockwise: The earth’s shadow passes, and the moon returns to normal “full” state. - Photos courtesy Rick Nowell/College of the Rockies
A lunar eclipse turned the moon red in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 15. A telescope at the College of the Rockies captured the eclipse in pictures as it progressed from midnight until 3:50 a.m. Top left and then clockwise: The earth’s shadow crosses and eclipses the moon, causing it to turn red. Centre: The “blood moon” at its height. Top row, second from right, and then clockwise: The earth’s shadow passes, and the moon returns to normal “full” state.
— image credit: Photos courtesy Rick Nowell/College of the Rockies

Cranbrook was treated to a spectacular sky show overnight between Monday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 15 when a "blood moon" graced the spring sky.

The moon turned red for about one hour and 18 minutes during the full lunar eclipse, when the moon, Earth and sun were completely lined up. The reflection of the sun on Earth cast a red-orange glow on the moon as it was shielded from the sun's direct light.

Rick Nowell, an astronomer at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, captured the eclipse using the college's telescope, the Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain, with an 11-inch primary mirror.

"It's meant for higher magnifications, so I had to attach a focal reducer to just barely fit all the moon in the picture," said Nowell.

In Cranbrook, the eclipse began at about 11 p.m. when the full moon was still visible to the south. Mars was closest to Earth on Monday also, so it was very bright in the sky nearby, Nowell said.

"The moon moved slowly easterly in the sky, and entered the Earth's shadow at midnight.  The black part of the shadow cut a curved line into the moon's edge and gradually crept along for an hour, until the last bright edge narrowed and went dark at 1 a.m.," said Nowell.

"Unfortunately, a thin haze to the south started to cover the moon, and a lot of the photos became fuzzy after this. The dim orangey moon faded in and out behind clouds, but the camera was able to compensate somewhat."

While Earth was completely obscuring the sun, the sunlight passing through the Earth's atmosphere made the moon glow a reddish orange, Nowell went on.

"It took about three hours for the moon to move through the Earth's shadow. In the photos you can see that the moon was not evenly illuminated, since its orbit was a bit north of (above) the shadow cone."

The moon came out of the shadows at about 2:30 a.m., Nowell said, and it was back to a normal full moon at about 3:50 a.m.

"If you missed this one, the next lunar eclipse is on October 8, 2014," he added.

"This year we get to see a solar eclipse too: There will be a partial solar eclipse in Cranbrook on October 23 at 3:45 p.m."

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

As attitudes mellow, could legal pot be next?
 
Former Cranbrook Colts player needs your help
 
Hunters protest shift favouring non-residents
CP Holiday Train Puts on a Great show in Agassiz
 
Christmas Hampers
 
‘She’s a pretty good kid’
7-year-old girl buried, killed in Lions Bay rockslide
 
Seeking a preliminary design for Vedder Road work
 
Two-speed labour system in Qatar for 2022 World Cup

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 22 edition online now. Browse the archives.