Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunatic Video

I turn to astronomy for a diversion from anatomy. I'm tired of blabbing about my stupid shoulder, and you, gentle reader, are equally sick of my whining.

Instead, I present to you a video I took tonight; actually 2 videos separated by about 90 minutes. The first is during the Lunar Eclipse, about half-way through the event, and then toward the end of the eclipse, to demonstrate the difference between the full eclipse (with the moon entirely in the earth's shadow) and a later phase when it looks as if it's a "new moon" (when the moon is partially shadowed by the earth). The second video is an hour later, showing that it is, in fact, a full moon tonight. Cool, huh? At least it is for us science nerds.

The moon doesn't black out during a lunar eclipse like the sun does during a full solar eclipse because the earth's atmosphere "glows" with the sun's rays behind it, and the glow is reflected back from the moon. The second video shows how much brighter the moon is when the sun is reflected directly, like we usually see it.

[Semantics Alert] BTW, "lunatic" comes from Old French "lunatique" from latin "luna"meaning "the moon." Ancient folk believed that changes of the moon caused intermittent insanity. Most emergency room doctors and nurses are still convinced of this. Glad I'm not on call tonight (though I am tomorrow).

This may also be why Lunatic Biker's most incoherent babblings are often posted at night.


Kevin said...

We took some video here as well. Disappointed that I my Handicam couldn't capture the color better than it did but I was sort of expecting that. I considered doing what you did with video over a several hour period but I got lazy.

It was one of the better lunar eclipses I've seen in a long time.

My video

Doc said...

Your vid had much better voice-over than mine. Great stuff!