Physics Photo of the Week
2007 brought the first total lunar eclipse that was successfully viewed
(no clouds) since May 2003. An eclipse viewing party took place
at the Warren Wilson Garden with about 30 people of all ages attending
to view through telescopes and binoculars and to enjoy the
sight! Many thanks to WWC Garden Manager Karen Joslin for
allowing the viewing and for providing the electrical connections to
drive the telescope and digital camera monitor.
This eclipse was unusual in that the Moon rose at dusk fully eclipsed -
it was a challenge to see the Moon in the bright twilight sky when the
Moon first appeard.
Gwen Van Ark, one of the guests was the first to spot the Moon through
the trees in the distant horizon at about 6:15 pm. At that time
the sky was still very bright (the Sun had just set) and the eclipsed
Moon was very faint. The photo here was taken 9 minutes later
(6:24 pm) when the sky was noticeably darker, yet still bright enough
to show as a blue border around the Moon.
Notice also the star very close to the Moon. That star is a
"minor" star in the constellation of Leo.
Lunar eclipses are red and not totally dark. The Moon is in the
Earth's shadow during the eclipse. A small amount of red
light "leaks" into the Earth's shadow by atmospheric scattering from
the Earth's atmosphere. Sunsets on Earth are red because red
light penetrates the haze and dust of the atmosphere. If we
were on the Moon watching the Earth, the Earth would appear to be a red
ring - red twilight all the way around the Earth. See the Astronomy
Picture of the Day for March 2, 2007. The drawing below shows
the relative position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a total lunar
eclipse. The Moon enters the Earth's shadow.
Photo of the
published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren
Wilson College Physics
Department. These photos feature an interesting phenomena in
the world around us. Students, faculty, and others are invited to
submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and
explanation. Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.
Please send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
here to see the Physics Photo
the Week Archive.
Observers are invited to submit
digital photos to: