The silence of the snow was broken only by the occasional squealing of car tyres trying to get up the icy hill in the town.
At 07:55 I observed the almost eclipsed moon directly over Kathy Gallaghers Hill from outside St Cronans School in Bray. Before long the whole view was swallowed by snow.
I was inspired to write a small poem
Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse
In the silence of the solstice snow
Drags its dust stained gauze over the moon
Deep red tan across Tycho
Sinking totality lost in the dawn
You will have to wait a while to see what I sketched that night / morning as it is for a special project . However as they say in cooking , here is one I made earlier ( 2007) so you can get an idea what a Total Lunar Eclipse looks like in a telescope.
sketched from Bray Co Wicklow
Lunation 14.23 Days
Soft Pastels, 300gm paper, pencils.
Danjon Scale L 4
Rotated 180 degrees
I was delayed setting up for XYand Z reasons. In an ideal world I would have had the entire lunar disc sketched in with detail before the earthly shadow entered this drama.
The delay, actioned my sketching in defence of the advancing darkness .
When I began to sketch at 21:40UT the ominous dark shadow was descending on the Tycho area.
I decided quickly to sketch from the bottom up (south is up for me)
I realised that my usual method with a wooden toothpick was going to be too slow for this sketch and decided on pencil over pastel for speed.
Firstly I detailed the Maria as much as I could giving prominent bright craters like Proculus, Plinius and Kepler some white attention. I suspected they might be still visible under the shadowy blanket, despite what ever colour developed
I put a lot of detail into Plato as it was outstanding in shape and contrast.
21:50UT the shadow was heading to gobble up my Copernicus before I could sketch it.
22:24UT Proculus was in grave danger of being swallowed whole.
B y 22:34UT a fabulous blue leading wave developed and swept up the curve of the moon to merge with the increasing raspberry tones developing toward the south.
At 22:34UT when the colour began to appear, I had to run inside for red pastels
Earlier that day I was thinking how would I do this colour overlay? I laid down some grey and tried out brushing it over with some red tones but this was not so good.
Fingers were the only thing for it and I worked quickly in red tones until I saw to both my delight and surprise a blue wave appearing across the entire width of the lunar disc.
Fingers red, big wipe, fingers blue.
In my haste and excitement of blueing the moon I wiped out Plato as my blue fingers joined the shadow and began moving north with it, oh god !! stop or there will be no moon left. I observed that the blue edges wrapped the moon in a curve to both sides, like a gas flame burning up my surface detail.
Meanwhile a yellow orange glow developed at the South East limb, big wipe, yellow fingers. Ended up with just Goldschmidt, Barrow, and I think Philolaus left at the Northern end of the moon, just about untouched at that moment. A criss cross ray ejecta feature was visible also.
The star 59 Leonis was also sketched in off the SE limb
Just for fun and while we still had snow I did a drawing of Saturn and Cassini in the ice in my back garden You can follow the adventures of Cassini here
The partial solar eclipse will be already in progress as the sun rises on January 4th 2011 at 08:42 and ends at 09:26 .
The solar disc will be obscured by 38% as the moon slides across it during this time. So in order to get a clear view ( weather permitting ) we need a practical viewing vantage point.
The South Beach in Greystones seems a good place to view from so weather permitting I will be at the South Beach from about 08 :20 with some eclipse glasses.
NOBODY SHOULD EVER EVER EVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT SPECIAL EQUIPMENT EVER.
These observations are from August 1st 2008 when the solar disc was 20% obscured by the lunar disc, viewed from my garden in Bray Co Wicklow.