If you live in the Americas, make sure you take the time to watch the last total lunar eclipse until 2010.
I love watching "astronomical happenings" like meteor showers and lunar eclipses – it's just something of a pain when they occur in the wee hours of the morning, say at 3:00 a.m. when I would much rather be "snuggly-buggly" in bed.
So I was delighted to hear that (a) there's going to be a total lunar eclipse on Wednesday, 20th February 2008, and (b) It's going to happen at a reasonable time in the evening so we can all enjoy it together.
This one could be quite spectacular. If you check out this NASA Webpage, you'll see that when the eclipse occurs, the full moon over the Americas: "will turn a delightful shade of red and possibly turquoise, too."
Why red? Apparently that's the color of the Earth's shadow. The exact tint – the NASA site says that anything from bright orange to blood red is possible – depends on the unpredictable state of the atmosphere at the time of the eclipse. As one astronomer says: "Only the shadow knows!"
As an aside: Just in case you were wondering about the quote above, one of the most popular radio shows in history was The Shadow, which debuted in August 1930. The opening lines of this program – which enthralled audiences and which have survived in the "global consciousness" to this day – were: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.