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Showing posts from December, 2011

December 10, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse

As I mentioned in my last blog entry , there was a total eclipse of the moon early this morning (local time), and I had... well, I'd consider it a rather good  vantage point.  Above 40% of the atmosphere, above 95% of the water vapor in the atmosphere, and so on. I promised various people that I would put something together, image-wise... so I have.  Click to see a larger view of it... and then consider that the larger view is only 1/4 as wide and high as the actual original image.  Maybe I'll make a giant print of it or something. Update a day later: I made a couple versions with the stages of the eclipse arranged in a more curved manner .

Using a Lunar Eclipse to Study Earth

Working around lots of insanely brilliant Ph.D. types, I occasionally run into ideas that wouldn't occur to me. Tonight, there's a total eclipse of the moon, with the "exciting" parts starting in less than 20 minutes.  Great!  Like many people, I like eclipses.  Like many people, I think, "I'll just use my zoom lens to take pictures of the moon at various points during the eclipse.  That'll be fun." Insanely brilliant Ph.D. types, on the other hand, submit proposals for telescope time, with titles like "Refined Measurement of Earth's Transmission Spectrum through a Lunar Eclipse." And the proposals actually get accepted, by a telescope with an 8.2-meter mirror and the highest-resolution visible-light spectrograph on any large telescope in the world. Yes, kids, if you grow up to be an astronomer, you can actually talk people into letting you point huge telescopes at the moon.  Cool, huh? But the insanely brillia