Thursday, June 16, 2011

"We are going to steal the Moon" - Gru of Despicable Me

I wasn't able to do justice on what is supposed to be the most awesome spectacle this year as far as astronomical phenomenon is concerned. I forgot to bring my camera so I have to use my cocky phone camera to snap photos of the recent Total Lunar Eclipse.

My colleagues at the scientific community were at the AstroCamp SM Mall of Asia dishing out series of public lectures and offering free telescope viewing of this marvelous nocturnal object in the sky. There were few broadcast stations doing interviews. Sadly I was embroiled into something that I couldn't join the gang in spreading out scientific literacy about this once-in-a-blue-moon(or rather red moon) phenomenon. Well, there is one this coming December so hopefully I would be able to join them by then. If not, then I have to wait until 2014 for the next total lunar eclipse.

Even if solar eclipses happened quite sparsely, making it a precious celestial rarity, I still prefer lunar eclipse because I can't usually stand the scorching heat of the Sun, blame it on my maarte tendencies. Secondly, even if one has to use solar filters, there is still a meager risk damaging to the retina. Plus, I'm a night person.

The Lunar Eclipse happened just this morning is one visual treat of its kind. It is the century's one of the longest lunar eclipses, next to the one happened last July 2000 when it lasted around 107minutes as compared to 100minutes for this recent eclipse.

The Moon, eerie as it became, turned bloody red. The Moon's discoloration(generally into reddish hue) is caused by the dense layer of the Earth's atmosphere where sunlight passes through it before reaching the Moon. Shorter wavelengths gets scattered into the air molecules, thus longer wavelengths prevail.

Now I overheard some people at the back where I stood at asked, "are there some effects of the eclipse as far as personality or mood change is concerned?" Well none has been found yet, at least scientifically. But we know that the Moon stressed tidal bulging on the Earth, causing tides, and some slight(almost negligible) tectonic activities. The Earth is 75% water, human is also 75% water. So the word lunatic might have some significance after all, but then again, not substantially studied and experimented yet.

So there you go folks, it wasn't Gru of Despicable Me trying to steal the Moon. It was a Total Lunar Eclipse.

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