Monday, 28 September 2015

Lunar eclipse and so-called 'Super Moon'!

Being at heart a keen amateur astronomer, I set the alarm for 1.30 and was outside in my fleecy 'onesie' (no: really!) by 1.45.

Despite predictions online, there were plenty of gaps in the cloud and I managed uninterrupted views of the lunar eclipse until totality. Since Linda shares my enthusiasm, I woke her at 3.15 to enjoy the spectacle and we were rewarded with a really bright meteor passing just to the west of the Moon.

This event took me right back to when I was 14, when my elder brother Rob and I stayed up late to watch our first lunar eclipse. We sent drawings of it to Patrick Moore, who was kind enough to write us an encouraging reply: this was a defining moment in my choice of degree and eventual career!

I have to say: despite all the hype on other blogs and in the media, the 'Super Moon' was actually only around 10% larger: since the Moon is about the size of a pea held at arm's length, that's not really noticeable... And all this about the Moon being 'much nearer to the Earth' is, I'm afraid, nonsense: the Moon being at perigee is actually around 8,000 miles nearer - just 1/30th closer! (NOT 'thirty times closer' as the BBC reporter said this morning!)

The bottom photo is Venus, which rose in the east during the eclipse, followed by Mars and Jupiter.

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