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Moon

The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight 146

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-omens dept.
An anonymous reader writes "People on the West Coast should be able to watch the beginning of the upcoming total lunar eclipse tonight at 10:20 pm. The entirety of the moon surface will be in Earth's shadow and start to glow red a couple hours later, a little after midnight. From the article: 'A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and Earth align so that Earth's shadow falls across the moon's surface. Monday night's lunar eclipse is a total eclipse, which means Earth's shadow will cover the moon completely. The moon won't be blacked out by our planet's shadow. Instead, it will take on a reddish hue — anywhere from a bright copper to the brownish red of dried blood.'"
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

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  • by Streetlight (1102081) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:42PM (#46748557) Journal
    I love it when information gives the time of day but not the time zone. Is this 10:20 PM in Eastern Australia or U. S. EDT or what?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "People on the West Coast should be able to watch the beginning of the upcoming total lunar eclipse tonight at 10:20 pm." Implies either PST or PDT. I know that it begins at roughly 2 AM EDT.

      • To watch the whole show from start to finish, your moon gazing should begin at 10:20 p.m. PDT

        (FTA). OK, so maybe they should've included the information in the summary too. If it starts at 22:20 PDT, then it's starting at 01:20 EDT.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "People on the West Coast should be able to watch the beginning of the upcoming total lunar eclipse tonight at 10:20 pm." Implies either PST or PDT.

        Do you have any idea how many West Coasts there are?

        • by XMark3 (2979399)
          A simple, basic application of common sense tells anyone reading this article that Slashdot, a predominantly American website, is using the term "West Coast" as shorthand for the western coast of the United States, and the timezone which is shared throughout that coast.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jaymz666 (34050)

        There's only one west coast, in the whole world? really?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      For those who are too lazy and/or stupid to read the linked article...

      "To watch the whole show from start to finish, your moon gazing should begin at 10:20 p.m. PDT, when the first faint shadow will start to fall on the moon."

      10:20 p.m. PDT.......10:20 p.m. PDT....PDT....PDT....PDT....PDT......I'll translate that for you: PDT – Pacific Daylight Time

      US states using PDT in the summer and PST during winter
      California
      Idaho - western counties; Benewa

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:58PM (#46748749)

      The article makes it clear that it's PDT, but even without reading the article, the fact that the link is to the LA Times and the summary is talking about the "West Coast" should have been a good indication of the time zone in question.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Oh. That's strange. I thought they were talking about the West Cost of Cornwall. To, the time zone is BST surely?!

        • Taken out of context, as it was in the summary, I fully agree that "West Coast" is ambiguous, given the international readership of Slashdot. That's why I made a point of very intentionally establishing context first, by mentioning that it was an LA Times article. I then used an "and" to pair it with the "West Coast" term, indicating that I think you need both to satisfactorily determine the time zone in question, rather than just one or the other.

          • by Kittenman (971447)

            Taken out of context, as it was in the summary, I fully agree that "West Coast" is ambiguous, given the international readership of Slashdot. That's why I made a point of very intentionally establishing context first, by mentioning that it was an LA Times article. I then used an "and" to pair it with the "West Coast" term, indicating that I think you need both to satisfactorily determine the time zone in question, rather than just one or the other.

            FWIW, us NZers read 'West Coast' as the west coast of the South Island. Famous for

            1: Rain
            2: The Hokitika wildfood festival
            3: Weird people, known as 'coasters'

            But like most other people on the boards, I switch to west coast USA for this. I'm a visitor, best to be on good behaviour when in someone else's house :)

      • by msauve (701917)
        No. Times for astronomical events are very often given in UTC, to avoid exactly the confusion which is occurring here. In any case, the time zone should always be specified to avoid ambiguity.
        • No. Times for astronomical events are very often given in UTC, to avoid exactly the confusion which is occurring here. In any case, the time zone should always be specified to avoid ambiguity.

          You're arguing against a straw man, I'm afraid, since we're largely on the same page, from what I can tell.

          For instance, you're arguing that timezones should be specified, to which I completely agree. You've suggested as well that UTC should be used in cases such as these, and, once again, I strongly agree. Re-read my previous comment, and you should see that I provided no defense for the practice of omitting time zones.

          Rather, what I did say was that I believed there were sufficient context clues available

    • I cannot seem to find which direction it is? North? East? West? South? I hope to see it from east of L.A. with its light pollutions. :(

      • Look for it as the eclipse starts, it will be a full moon high overhead. You can't miss it (assuming that you can see the sky at all).

        At the height of eclipse the moon turns dark reddish because the only thing illuminating it are all the world's sunsets and sunrises at once!

        After the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in mid 1991 pushing more particulates and sulfur into the stratosphere than any eruption since Krakatoa, the following lunar eclipse on 9 December 1992 was so dark the moon completely

    • Sky & Telescope provides this chart [skyandtelescope.com] that should answer your question.

      Lucky sods--the moon will set here (Scandinavia) about 10 minutes before the eclipse begins. :P

    • by issicus (2031176)
      This is a better link, it says when and where you can view it. http://www.timeanddate.com/ecl... [timeanddate.com]
  • by wwphx (225607) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:46PM (#46748607) Homepage
    I'll be watching the eclipse from the catwalk of a 3.5 meter telescope while said telescope shoots a laser at the moon and bounces the beam off of five retroreflectors. Weather permitting. It's awesome having a wife who's an astronomer/PhD.
    • shoots a laser at the moon and bounces the beam off of five retroreflectors.

      Big Bang Theory quote time:

      Zack: One question. How can you be sure it won't blow up?

      Leonard: The laser?

      Zack: The moon.
      • by wwphx (225607)
        Actually, the Big Bang people heard of a talk by Dr. Tom Murphy (UCSD) who's in charge of this lunar laser ranging thing called APOLLO (http://physics.ucsd.edu/~tmurphy/apollo/apollo.html) and contacted him for info on how to do the BBT ep. My wife was also the closing segment on the 2008 Mythbusters lunar landing hoax episode, and I did a ten-minute documentary on the laser at my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wa... [youtube.com]. Originally the Mythbusters wanted to build their own rig, but when they fo
      • Leonard: We'll set it to stun...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'll be watching the eclipse from the catwalk of a 3.5 meter telescope while said telescope shoots a laser at the moon and bounces the beam off of five retroreflectors. Weather permitting. It's awesome having a wife who's an astronomer/PhD.

      You know you're a geek when you read that and think, "Damn, he's lucky to be married to that!" - like how other guys react when they see a guy married to a woman who looks like a swimsuit model.

      Now, if his astronomer wife also looks like a swimsuit model or at least has the figure of one, I will strangle myself with my mouse cord!

      Fuck! It's Bluetooth!

      I hate life!

      • by wwphx (225607)
        She's not a swimsuit model, and frankly I wouldn't want one, too high maintenance. But she is good enough for television: at least two BBC productions and one Japanese production have been made because of this lunar laser ranging program. Still, we're celebrating our 9th anniversary in June, and the coolest thing is that she found me through online dating even though I was 500 miles away.

        So to my fellow geeks: there is hope, and patience is sometimes rewarded.
        • I am fortunate enough to be married to a woman who has master's degrees in mechanical and chemical engineering AND looks like a swimsuit model.

          So eat your hea---er, well, okay, she doesn't do much cooking.

          I guess you can't have everything. :D

    • by Minwee (522556)
      If I see the letters "CHA" carved on the moon after the eclipse, I'll know who to blame.
      • by wwphx (225607)
        I've actually shown her that episode of The Tick! She didn't find it as amusing as I do, but I'm a lot more weird than she is.
    • by k6mfw (1182893)

      now that sounds really cool doing your own laser reflection but are you using facility scope? Have amateur astronomers done this before? Does it require a really powerful laser, i.e. the kind that guvmint doesn't want in hands of individuals?

      Now you people commenting of they don't think this is possible, this is one of these reflectors wwphx is talking about, http://spie.org/Images/Graphic... [spie.org]

    • Very nice indeed! But out of curiosity, what makes the eclipse an interesting moment to do this (which I suppose is intended for exact distance measurements), as opposed to say, any new moon? I don't mean this out of spite, it is really my curiosity kicking in, can you ask your wife what data is this intended to gather and to what end?

    • I'm stuck spending the night at an 8.3-meter [naoj.org] with a bunch of people who're tinkering with something called "Visible Aperture Masking Polarimetric Interferometer for Resolving Exoplanetary Signatures” - VAMPIRES for short. Unfortunately, we're not lasering the moon, or doing spectroscopy of it during totality like we did last eclipse (you can measure elemental abundances and pollutants in Earth's atmosphere that way, nifty). But at least we're somewhere [hawaii.edu] that it all happens 2 hours earlier in the even

  • by Anonymous Coward

    it's a f'in LUNAR ECLIPSE.
    What is it with everyone suddenly having the need to give natural events cutsie, abstract, or dramatic names? Kinda like when the media started calling larger than average full moons Super Moons, or any cold spell in winter the 'polar vortex'.

    • by jaymz666 (34050) on Monday April 14, 2014 @01:12PM (#46748909)

      Suddenly, it's been called a blood moon for quite some time...

      • by schneidafunk (795759) on Monday April 14, 2014 @01:26PM (#46749043)

        Indeed it does originate from a long time ago. There's this quote from the bible, Joel 2:31 (Common English Bible):
        " The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.".

        Or it could also be a reference to the folklore name 'red moon'. Every full moon has a 'cutsie, abstract, or dramatic name' which predates modern astronomy.
        http://earthsky.org/astronomy-... [earthsky.org]

        • by rahvin112 (446269)

          Blood moon, red moon, and dozens of various synonyms and such exist in almost every culture on earth since recorded history and likely long before. Like most rare celestial events it was a sign of great events about to happen (what the event was varied per culture).

      • by cusco (717999)

        I suspect the reason that this one is getting so much publicity (it's not an uncommon event) is because there are several moderately popular books out about supposed biblical prophecies with that title. There's also a detective novel, a vampire novel and a werewolf novel with that name, and some others. Something about the name drew a lot of attention on Farcebook too.

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      It's probably 'cause they're human.

      You'll have to get used to it.

    • by Arker (91948)
      I agree, it's a lunar eclipse, why cant they just call it what it is?

      And it's not like they just made up a cutesy name that wasnt in use - a blood moon is an actual thing, but it's still many months in the future.

      Marketing and advertising will never be satisfied until they destroy the language so completely that it can no longer be used to communicate at all.
  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:52PM (#46748673) Homepage

    The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

    ...is with your eyes, at the appropriate time. Don't bother looking earlier; it won't have happened yet! Similarly, if you try to catch the eclipse after it's finished, you'll just see an ordinary full moon.

    Get it? Got it? Good.

    • The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

      ...is with your eyes, at the appropriate time. Don't bother looking earlier; it won't have happened yet! Similarly, if you try to catch the eclipse after it's finished, you'll just see an ordinary full moon.

      Get it? Got it? Good.

      That beats my response.

      I was just going to say, "drunk."

  • Total lunar eclipses are a common occurrence, and almost always have the "blood moon" look from red light refracting around the Earth.

    • by cusco (717999)

      Depending on how deep in the Earth's shadow the effect can be more or less pronounced. I saw one eclipse where the moon was pretty close to black several years ago, apparently this one will be deeper in the Earth's shadow so will be lit up better.

  • Outside. At night. Awake.
  • Please drop this idiotic phrase.

    Besides, total lunar eclipses aren't red at all, at least, none I've ever seen. They're a neat copper colour.

    ...laura

    • by quixada (2218366)
      I've actually seen a blood-red moon. It was when there were many forest fires around. I assume it is the thick smoke in the atmosphere that causes this phenomenon... dq
    • by Minwee (522556)
      Won't you feel silly when all non-basic lands turn into mountains tonight.
  • Where else would be more appropriate? A glance out the window, then back to the bears and spriggans.

  • This is an unusual event because its part of a series of 4 lunar eclipses in a row (in subsequent 6 full moon cycles), a tetrad [earthsky.org] which occurs once per 33 years on average. The term 'blood moon' is sometimes used for a lunar eclipse, but it's been popularised for this tetrad by John Hagee [nydailynews.com] to promote his book and claim that it means the end of the world [usatoday.com].
  • Face it, if you can't do it right, you might as well not do it at all.

  • If Stephenie Meyer finds out about the "Blood Moon", there's sure to be another one of those horrible Twilight movies.
    Please, God, no.
  • ...in which case a Google Bus is going to appear out of nowhere and park between you and the moon, completely blocking your view.

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