Although high in the night’s sky, our waxing Gibbous Moon has been decidedly orange. Smoke, high in the atmosphere from North American wildfires, has tinted what should be a bright white Moon in the colors of moonset. Ruddy or not, we love that we can see mountain peaks and crater edges peeking up from the darkness just left of the sunlight terminator line.
Members of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) rose early June 10 to view, photograph, and promote the (locally) partial solar eclipse. Already in progress as Sun rose above the horizon, the annular eclipse or “ring of fire” could not be seen but decent coverage of the solar disk did result in some impressive views.
In addition to watching the eclipse members, led by special events director Jay Reynolds, hosted members of the public at Cleveland’s Edgewater Park. The view from Edgewater’s lakefront location included the rising partly-eclipsed Sun with the lakeshore and Cleveland’s skyline.
Other members took up station at Avon Lake, Bay Village, and even inland at a Medina County location. Here, in mixed order, is a sampling of member photographs:
They say timing is everything and, with eclipses, that is certainly true. Unfortunately, timing will not be in our favor for viewing the Wednesday, May 26 total lunar eclipse. Earth’s Moon will be dipping very close to the horizon as morning twilight brightens hiding the most colorful portion of the event — totality — when Moon turns shades of copper and red. The subtle penumbral eclipse as Moon enters Earth’s outer shadow and will likely be even harder to see than usual. The partial phase of the eclipse begins as Moon enters the dark inner portion of the shadow cone and is easily spotted under other circumstances. Even the partial eclipse begins so late with Moon so close to the horizon that only a lucky few Ohioans will see any part of it.
|Penumbral Eclipse begins||May 26 at 4:47 a.m.|
|Partial Eclipse begins||May 26 at 5:45 a.m.|
|Total Eclipse begins||May 26 at 7:11 a.m.|
|Maximum Eclipse||May 26 at 7:18 a.m.|
The good news? Lunar eclipses can occur only at the time of a Full Moon and this event features a perigee Moon — our natural satellite at a particularly low portion of its orbit around Earth — appearing just a bit bigger and brighter than average. “Low”, in this case means 221,880 miles out. So, if skies allow, get out and enjoy the big, brilliant Full Moon tonight — it’s a natural wonder in its own right.
Still want to watch the eclipse, even though we can’t see it from here? Just do an online search for live eclipse viewing opportunities or tune in to your favorite morning TV news show; they’ll be broadcasting from the West Coast or Hawaii where the eclipse can be properly seen!
Don’t despair, hang in there, dear moonwatcher! Come this November 19, in the wee hours of the morning, we will be in an excellent position to see a nearly total lunar eclipse from our own backyards! More on that at a later time!
The May 10, 2021 membership meeting of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) will take place via the Zoom online service beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The evening’s speaker will be Kelly Beatty, Senior Editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, whose talk is entitled “Darkness in Distress”
Light pollution, simply put, is any unnecessary or excessive outdoor illumination. Sadly, it has become a pervasive and ugly consequence of modern 24/7 society. Light pollution robs us of the night sky’s beauty, negatively affects the ecosystem, and creates an in-your-face waste of energy. But a new mindset and new technology are poised to slow — and perhaps reverse — this bane of modern life. Learn how you can safely light up your home, business, and community without wasting energy, disturbing your neighbors, or creating an unhealthy environment for humans and wildlife.
Beatty has been explaining the science and wonder of astronomy to the public since 1974. An award-winning writer and communicator, he is a Senior Editor for Cambridge-based Sky & Telescope magazine. He enjoys sharing his passion for astronomy with a wide spectrum of audiences, from children to professional astronomers, and you’ll occasionally hear his interviews and guest commentaries on National Public Radio and The Weather Channel. He served for a decade on the Board of Directors for the International Dark-Sky Association.
Here are some websites Beatty recommends:
Globe at Night
Dark Sky Map
Light Pollution Map
International Dark-Sky Association