The Moon’s dance around the Earth and Sun paints a different face every night. In the early morning of Sunday Dec. 30, one usually invisible transformation will reveal itself, when the Moon dips its southern edge into the Earth’s shadow. This will make a dramatic penumbral eclipse; a subtle intersection of the Earth and Moon, seen in the Americas, across the Pacific to Eastern Asia.
“If casual observers get up at 5, they’ll notice the lower left-hand side of the Moon is dimmer than the upper right hand side,” said Fred Espenak, an eclipse expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The effect will be the most subtle of three types. There are a variety of eclipses because the Earth throws two shadows. There is the darker umbra, the exact silhouette of the Earth carved out of the sunlight. Then there is the penumbra, which is a larger cone of diffuse shade, where the Sun’s light and the Earth’s shadow mix.
In a penumbral eclipse, the Moon passes through the partial shadow of Earth. The subtle change in lighting on the Moon is usually visible only with a telescope. An umbral eclipse on the other hand, is quite noticeable and varies in degree by how much the Moon drops behind our planet. A total eclipse is the most dramatic and rare, when the moon is fully behind the Earth.
Although Espenak said a penumbral lunar eclipse is, “the least scientifically interesting,” he did agree this particular event will be special because of its strength.
“This one, as far as penumbral eclipses, is a very deep one,” he said. “The Moon will move very deeply into penumbral shadow, almost to the edge of umbra.”
The moon will dip itself 92 percent of the way inside the Earth’s penumbral shadow at 5:29 a.m. EST, 2:29 a.m. PST.
Back from my trip to the galleria mall… or as I’ve dubbed it today… “midget village”. Midget village is populated by a tiny, yet numerous throng of people, each of whom are easily at least a foot shorter than I am. As I lumbered and meandered through that ant hive, the vast sea of miniscule madness generally parted before me, allowing ample passage to get to the stores I needed to visit in record time. I managed to pick up Dan’s birthday present quite quickly at the suncoast video…LOTR soundtrack on CD, and a blank tape to dub it to for listening in the car. It’s marked the first time in an age that I’ve actually picked up music at a music store, instead of online… the last time was the Enya CD for my dearest one, and before that, who knows? I’ve grown spoiled by mp3 servers.
While there, I got the remainder of Dave’s Christmas Prezzie, too (which I won’t mention here, in case he’s reading it) I stopped off at archives for a cup of hot chocolate, but they were closed… so instead I treated myself to an order of nathan’s french fries and a pink lemonade, and headed to the bus stop… the first time in a span that I’ve been on the bus, too. Things haven’t changed much…. though it seems a bit more crowded now that season has begun. Read on most of the trip back, and scouted a few places to take pictures of on my time off. The strip mall of gluttony, comprised of only take-out and dine in food joints is one, especially the south wall, with all the graffiti on it. The Pompano Beach graveyard is another, not to mention lighthouse point and the gateway theatre.
A lot of different memories dancing in my mind….I look forward to hitting a museum or the imax during break… it feels like a minor chunk of my knowledge base is lacking, or underused… I wonder if the ft lauderdale aquarium is near to being finished yet? I think that’d be a fun place to poke my nose, and a lot closer than the key west aquarium, which is a great trip. Avoid the miami seaquarium, which was very run down the last time I went…maybe the most dumpy florida attraction, ever…and I’m counting Xanadu, house of tomorrow on that list. (I loved Xanadu when it was open… now it’s a shut down sigh of yesterday. I’ll miss it, unlike the tupperware museum, once right down the road, long gone now.)
Newtie greeted me with a friendly mer and loving headbutts upon my return, so I’ve been playing with him these last few minutes with my feet while my fingers type. I think I’m going to take some more Kitty-comfort now, before wrapping the gifts, and maybe read some.
I got my first Christmas giftie from my amazon wish list today, and it completes my Robert Anton Wilson library. Thank you so much! I’m not sure if you want to remain anonymous or not,(so i’ll err on the side of privacy, if at all) but I know you read my journal… Thankee! New book to read! 🙂 Newt also thanks you for the new box, and plastic “factory air” that came with… it made medicating him quite simple this morning. He just say in the fresh box, and let me give him his pink antibiotics.
For any kiddies that dig flash animations check out http://www.hoogerbrugge.com/ … it’s got some wonderful stuff. I enjoy an artist that puts himself into his work. I’m especially fond of #51, “nervous”. in the modern living series.
Sometime today I have to go out and pick up Danny’s Prezzie. It looks like a shower and walk are forthcoming after all.
How to diaper a monkey.
I take pride in bringing people the knowledge they need, even if they didn’t think they wanted it.
Newt took his medicine like a good boy tonight, unlike the “woohoo, chase me all over, it’s a game, it’s a game” gig this morning. I’m estimating there’s another weeks’ worth of this stuff left, and It’s actually getting to be more routine. I wonder if newt’ll ever get so used to it that he’ll miss it when it’s gone? I’m glad he doesn’t seem to resent being held by the nape and having droppers of pink goop poured down his throat.