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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Report on June 15 Total Lunar Eclipse

From the Negev in Israel the sight was spectacular. No clouds, perfectly transparent sky, all stages of the eclipse visible from 8:22 on. We had a star party, about 18 people coming from the hotels here, including one couple, Jay and Julia, who drove all the way down from Jerusalem! The best view was with my William Optics 22x70 giant binooculars. And it was incredible. I've never seen the moon look so 3D, like a giant balloon hanging in the sky that you could reach out and touch.

The eclipse was very dark, with some central reddening on the moon as the eclipse progressed. I would class the eclipse at 1 on the Danjon Scale. As totality came to an end the western edge seemed to become very ashen and grey, with the 3D effect even stronger. It was uncanny how it seemed to be set off in relief from the sky through the binoculars. As totality progressed it quickly became darker around us and in the sky, and everyone was impressed with as how we were able to see clear shadows before the eclipse, we could barely see each other now. The Milky Way made a special appearance, and the many dim stars around the moon, it being quite close to the Milky Way, stood out sharply. Everyone said it was a memorable experience they would never forget. 

We packed it in at around 12:30AM as fog began to roll in, making the ending partial phase of the eclipse look very spooky.

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1 comment:

  1. Ira! We're back in New York City with memories that will be with us a long time. We came for the eclipse and experienced so much more. It was a total surprise to us as the light from the moon slid away and the stars shone brightly in the darkened sky. The biggest surprise was your gracious tour of the sky and the fun amongst our party on the ground. Thanks so much. Thomas, Elizabeth and Ben.



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