Observers Comment on Eclipse: ‘How Tiny We Are’

Many people skipped sleep, or set their alarms, to make sure they were awake to see the lunar eclipse Tuesday morning.

Readers sent in photos from Bondi Beach, Australia, Albuquerque during a partly cloudy night, and the Prospect Park Boat House and elsewhere in New York City.

One reader, Reynardine, chronicled the experience from Volusia County, Fla., over a series of comments:

At this time, shortly after 1 a.m. in Volusia County, Florida, the sky is sharply clear, but the penumbral eclipse is not in evidence, even with strong field glasses. The penumbra must be very faint. I will keep you posted.

1:17 A.M. There appears to be faint dimming, but the moon is still evenly round and its light bright enough to see colors. Probably the “bite from the cookie” won’t show until the umbra encroaches.

1:31 A.M. The penumbral smudge at 10 o’clock on the disk is apparent and the umbra is about to approach.

1:37 A.M. The smudge has spread and the very black umbra has taken its first bite at the 10 o’clock position.

1:45 A.M. The umbra has moved noticeably into the moon. So far, it is coal black. I do not know if the reddish cast will appear at totality or not.

1:57 A.M. The umbra has blacked out one-third of the moon, with no reddish tinge. I finally lined up the cellphone camera lens with the image in the field glass, but it requires a focal length different from my eyes, so no pictures.

2:15 A.M. The moon is more than half gone, and dark red light filtered through our own atmosphere has begun to appear in the umbra.

2:35 A.M. Totality is approaching. Except for a tiny white gem, the moon is an eerie mulberry color. Even King Wenceslaus would call this night cruel, but I am going back out to see totality … and to walk my big flop-eared hunting dog, so I don’t have to do it at daybreak.

2:48 A.M. Totality has arrived. The disk of the moon is still a little brighter at 4 o’clock, but that swarthy garnet umbra covers it all. I am not waiting to see it center, much less for the light to emerge at the other side. This is my last post tonight.

Hundreds of others were up late with him:

I had a beautiful view from my Greenwich Village fire escape! The colors and shapes were absolutely spectacular between 2:45 and 4 a.m. Binoculars, winter clothes, hot cocoa, my boyfriend (it’s our anniversary), and a playlist of moon songs. … I’ll never forget this solstice eclipse!
— Dorit

Got up at 2:10 a.m. Went downstairs. The sky was clear. The moon was two-thirds covered. The full lunar eclipse happened at 2:40 a.m. It was awesome to think that you are part of the event as the earth rotates and aligned itself perfectly with the sun and the moon. Looking up made me realize how tiny we are compared to the infinite universe made of million galaxies, black holes, dark matter. … I felt warm and I needed to share that feeling with my family. I went upstairs and hugged my daughter. Amazing.
— oswaldo villacres

We woke up at 3 a.m. and saw the eclipse through its totality, from our Brooklyn backyard. It was absolutely magic. We attended the Solstice party at the Hayden Planetarium and also got a great look at the very bright Jupiter and three moons through a high-powered telescope courtesy of resident astronomer Ted Williams. That was a treat. I suppose what N.Y.C. lacks in natural ambience, it makes up for in other ways. …
— Kitchenette

My wife and I watched from our backyard, lying on chaise lounges.

It was cold, so we bundled up well.

I got some good footage that I uploaded to YouTube — about three minutes’ worth just prior to totality and following.

— Richard Hay

I set my clock for 1:30 a.m. because cloud cover was supposed to obscure the full eclipse. I watched as the moon slipped into darkness. When I finally stopped observing, the disk of the moon was 50 percent obscured by the shadow of the earth. It was wonderful viewing. The light from the moon was illuminating the lower layers and upper layers of clouds which were moving in opposite directions which provided a beautiful illusion that the moon was sailing literally through the sky while also providing a realistic view of the interaction of several layers of Earth’s atmosphere. Way to go! Thanks to my wife for giving me the notice of the eclipse and the best time to view it!
— Alfred Brock

Queens, New York, 3:30 a.m. E.S.T.: Moon appears to be the color of root beer, with the leading edge beginning to peek through. Very nice.

Queens, New York, 4 a.m. E.S.T.: The only thing I can see now is a sliver of bright white.

— PT

It was amazing. Clouds periodically swept over the moon as it eclipsed but they kept going so that we could continue watching. It was the longest lunar eclipse I have ever seen. We also saw a meteorite. What I found most interesting was how the eclipse brought out the three-dimensional depth of the moon. Instead of looking like a silvery disk in the sky, it was obviously a round ball, one that did not appear to be very far away. I remembered having had the same feeling when the astronauts were on the moon’s surface.
— Cathy

Wonderful show from my house in Westchester County, N.Y., despite some middle deck of clouds that mostly held off until after the end of the total phase.
I posted photos on my blog. I’ll add more descriptions after I get some sleep. Colors were best without any optical aid.
— Bob

I’ve got some snapshots of the lunar eclipse on Flickr.

The moon is reddish over Queens, N.Y., right now. No one in my nabe but me seems to be interested in hanging out in the cold to watch the eclipse!
— moonriver

The moon currently is directly above and is as full and bright as a searchlight. I am staying up to watch tonight mostly out of nostalgia. I remember watching a total lunar eclipse from the roof top in New York City years ago. Bundled up and taking quick naps, my friend and I watched as the moon disappeared over Manhattan.
— coast to coast

I’m watching it on my iPad. Does that count?
— Rick A

I woke up around 4:10 a.m., moved my pillow to the bottom of my bed, raised my shades and watched a most glorious sight for the next 45 minutes from my bedroom window in the Bronx. Absolutely gorgeous!
— Carolyn S

3:31 am – Seen it. Done that. Now I will catch some sleep.
— Observer

Are you watching or did you watch? Tell us what you saw in the comments box or on Twitter #eclipsenyt.

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