The skies cleared as evening approached. The Moon was aligned with Earth and the Sun. Their syzygy at 9:30 pm CDT brought the Moon into the umbra of the Earth’s shadow. Desktop software gave a simulated view like this. The faint inner circle is the umbra. The larger circle is the penumbra.
My camera was mounted on a tripod and set for capturing images about every 15 minutes starting at 9:30. The images were cropped to place the umbra in nearly the same place in each image. That placement highlighted the movement of the Moon over the 15 minute time periods between photos.
I conducted a long series of observations for nearly 4 months. No scientific discoveries were expected. I was just curious.
We have a window that faces south. In the summer months, the roof overhang blocked the sunlight from shining through the glass. Starting about September 1st, the lower elevation angle of the Sun at noon allowed it to shine onto the floor. As the weeks passed, the shadow of the window sill moved farther from the wall. I found a long strip of paper to record the edge of the shadow of the sill at various dates. This image illustrates the sunlight paths for the 1st of Sep, Oct, Nov, and Dec.
The Moon passes through the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow in the early morning hours of 19 Nov 2021. Normally, that would be called a total lunar eclipse. Not quite this time. About 3% of the Moon will not enter the umbra at 3:03 am. But, it will still be a worthy sight. This diagram from Sky & Telescope shows the details for the central time zone in the US. More information can be found at this S&T url.
I set my planetarium software to illustrate the eclipse. It starts at midnight and proceeds to 6 am. The video lasts 25 sec.
🔭 Updates an earlier post to include recent changes and new information. 🔭
Desktop planetarium software helps plan viewing sessions and keep track of the planets and Moon. Many products are available for all computer platforms and smartphones. A Google search yields links to many sources. Open source and free Stellarium is on my desktop computer. It can be customized to your location and has a nice look and feel. For Android and Mac phones and tablets, I like SkySafari. It isn’t free but is inexpensive.
Online planetarium sites are popular and offer many features. Below are highlights of a few I like. With multiple features, a unique look and feel, and different levels of detail, they can help satisfy your curiosity about astronomical events. I welcome reader questions or reviews about using these tools or others you find helpful.
Two contrasting headlines about recent climate in the U.S. this spring caught my attention. Both came from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The headlines were from the assessments of climate in the U.S. for April and May of 2018.
• The contiguous United States had its coldest April in more than 20 years.
• The contiguous United States had its warmest May on record.
The part of the U.S. where you live might not have seemed unusual. However, we noticed these differences in the midwest. Before examining April and May specifically, we will look at the climate for the year-to-date in the next two graphics. Relative to the period from 1895-2018, the upper plains was below average in temperature for the first five months of the year. The west was above to much above normal with record setting temperatures in the southwest.
Not shown in the graphic, the Alaska year-to-date temperature was 20.7°F, or 4.9°F above average. It was the ninth warmest on record. Western and northern Alaska were much above normal. Record low amounts of sea ice in the Arctic likely contributed to the warming.