On Sunday night, the Borderland was wowed by the Super Wolf Blood Moon. Starting just after 8:30pm MST, the total eclipse lasted until just after midnight, locally.
Many were out watching all over the southwest, and in other parts of the North and South American continents. Even along my street, I was happy to see parents outside with their children, pointing up in wonder and awe.
Especially since the next total lunar eclipse will not take place here until 2021.
People have always been inspired by the moon. From fear of werewolves to causing temporary insanity (lunacy or lunatic), the moon has captured the imagination in a real way. So easily observed, the moon is even the main reason for the length of our calendar. Humans have been watching our lunar friend for millennia.
Indeed, anyone looking at our cosmic neighbor’s surface has noticed the scars that mark the landscape.
In fact, those places that appear darker in color, known as mares or seas, are actually basalt plains formed by long ago volcanic eruptions. The brighter areas are cast off from meteor impacts that have been going on for eons. And many craters can be easily seen by looking through a good pair of binoculars or a small, backyard telescope. But we don’t often get the opportunity to witness such an impact as it happens.
However, one truly fascinating event that took place on Sunday night was that of a meteor striking the surface of the moon during the eclipse. You can view a video from Sky Tours and forwarding it to the 02:09:29 time mark.
If you were unable to view the event either in person, or online, don’t worry. While there are many pictures available online from various professional astro-photographers, I wanted to showcase those from every-day people who took joy in going outside on a chilly night to view the event. Many sent their pictures in and I am happy to share the best of them with you in the video above.
I’d especially like to thank Danyel Estrada, Crystal Gates-Dillion, and El Paso Herald-Post’s own Steven Cottingham for some of the ones featured. The photographers, who came from all over the southwest, used cell phones or common digital cameras, and even professional photographic equipment. While not all were able to get pictures of the actual color change, they were still able to capture some wonderful views of a ring around the moon.
Known as a Lunar Halo, the ring is formed when the light reflecting from the lunar surface passes through ice crystals high up in the Earth’s atmosphere. According the Farmer’s Almanac, a lunar halo is a good indicator of coming unsettled weather, especially in winter months.
The night sky is a truly beautiful and wonderous sight to behold with many mysteries still to unfold. So, go outside and look up, because you never know what you’ll see if you just keep your eyes to the skies.