This morning there was an eclipse of the moon, so we went outside early to have a look at it.
And again a bit later when the moon was fully in the earth’s shadow:
I thought I might be able to get better pictures of it with a better camera and a tripod, but it’s rather difficult.
I checked in my diary to remind myself of other eclipses I had seen.
There was one on 15 June 2011 which seemed to last a long time. There was another on 4 May 2004, where I noted that there wasn’t much to see except that the moon was a bit dimmer and redder than usual.
On 4 December 2002 there was supposed to be an eclipse of the sun, but it was overcast, so we didn’t see much of it.
On 21 Jun 2001 there was a partial eclipse of the sun, the first of the 21st century and the Third Millennium. It was also notable for being on the winter solstice. On 9 January 2001 was the first lunar eclipse of the new century and millennium. We went outside to have a look, but there was a cricket match on TV, South Africa vs Sri Lanka (South Africa won), and between overs they showed the progress of the eclipse, so there was a better view from inside.
On 16 September 1997 was the last lunar eclipse of the 20th century, but it was cloudy, so we didn’t see it.
On 6 August 1971 I was with some friends watching a film at the Windhoek drive-in. There was a double feature, and for the first one we sat in the back of the bakkie under the open sky. The film was an Italian Western called Kill or be killed, and the eclipse was more interesting to watch than the movie. For the second one, Carry on spying, we turned the bakkie around to face the screen and watched from inside, as it was getting colder.
The first eclipse of any kind that I recall seeing was a solar eclipse which we watched from my aunt’s beachfront flat in Sea Point, Cape Town, which had an uninterrupted view over the sea, and it was a very good place from which to watch an eclipse.
The earliest mention of an eclipse was from when I was still at school. The regular geography teacher was away overseas, and the headmaster, Wally Mears, stood in for him. He wanted to inspect our books. In Robert Mercer-Tod’s book he found a picture of a half-undressed dancing girl, and held it up for us all to see, and asked Tod, “Is this an eclipse?” and then burst out laughing, and so did we all, for about five minutes.