Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M = Mesmerized by the Moon… and Snow!

We’re interrupting our previously scheduled travel stories program with some late-breaking news of the past 24 hours here in Chicago!  Our warming Spring temperatures took a plunge into the Arctic abyss yesterday when daytime highs barely got above 40-degrees F.  

By afternoon, the freezing drizzle turned into lots of white wet blobs falling from the sky.  Millie and I were mesmerized….what exactly was this stuff?  We’d not seen it at all this past Winter in Mexico!


By late afternoon, the blobby stuff had nearly covered the backyard in white, leaving only the tippy top of each blade of grass visible.


The skies had been gray all day, so I doubted the night’s lunar eclipse would be worth staying up for.  We just weren’t going to see it with all these clouds in the sky!

I’m a “night owl” and lost all track of time last night as I worked away on a computer project.  By the time my yawns made me shut down my laptop, it was 1:30am.  I went to let Millie out and happened to look up into the sky.  Instead of clouds, I saw the Moon beginning its Total Lunar Eclipse!

I’m not sure if that sight did it (or the “brisky” nighttime air only in the mid-20’s), but I was almost instantly re-energized and now madly scrambling to find my binoculars, camera, tripod, shoes, socks, and winter coat!

For the next hour and a half, I alternated between the frigid backyard and my warm living room, uttering all kinds of “ooos” and “ahhs” as I watched this amazing “Blood Moon” show.  My surrounding subdivision neighbors appeared to all be obliviously sleeping right through it (or else they saw it was “just that crazy lady again” out in her backyard in the middle of the night “howling at the moon” and went back to bed)!


The reddish color is a result of the Moon traveling perfectly behind the middle of the Earth while the Earth itself is eclipsing the Sun.  When the Earth blocks the Sun, the Earth’s atmosphere begins glowing bright orange from the Sun’s “backlighting.”.  It’s this deep orange “Blood” color that we see during a Total Lunar Eclipse.  (I found this excellent web page with great pictures and explanations that helped it all make better sense to me.  Give it a look!)  

The other bright object next to the Moon last night was the blue star, Spica, the largest star of the Virgo constellation.

If you missed last night’s show in your area, fear not!  It’s set for a repeat performance on October 8th, 2014, and again a couple times in 2015.  After that, we won’t see any more Blood Moons until 2032!

Finally, I am happy to report that as of noontime today,  the snow still visible on the Winnie and on my patio table this morning has now melted.  We now resume our regularly-scheduled Springtime programming!






  1. I would have loved to have seen the red moon but it was far too late for me since I had to get up at 5am to go to work this morning. You were lucky to have missed all of the snow so far this winter!

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

  2. Yikes! What a surprise. Hopefully it IS the last although I do remember as a little girl walking down the middle of the street in my Easter outfit with snow boots on and looking at the snow piled on the side of the street! Must have been in the late 1940's or early 195o's! Hard to believe. GREAT photo of the blood moon eclipse. Google and read the story of what the Aztecs thought about the blood moon. Interesting.

  3. Love reading your stories and descriptions. I wanted to see the moon, but got lazy when the weather turned cold.

  4. The Blood Moon sounds fascinating! (http://www.reflectionsenroute.com)

  5. The snow left you and then graced us here in the Northeast. It was rather a surprise for us to see it again, too. :)

    Fabulous pic of the red moon! I'm also one of those "crazy" night-owl ladies who would have been outside if I had caught a glimpse of it all to remind me!


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