Total solar eclipse envelops Asia in daytime darkness

Photo courtesy of AP images

coffee to go

tanka with kigo
Annette Marie Hyder

after one huge bite
the moon licks its sun smeared lips
looks for the waitress
at this heavenly diner
and says “put it on my tab”

Century’s longest total solar eclipse

The English word eclipse comes from the Greek word for “abandonment” or “a forsaking” (ekleipsis). Ancient peoples thought, among other things (see Missing Sun Motif in Solar Mythology), that the sun literally abandoned the earth during an eclipse. By that way of thinking, today, July 22, 2009, the sky shall be bereaved of the sun.

From the Associated Press:

TOKYO, Japan — Millions of Asians turned their eyes skyward Wednesday as dawn suddenly turned to darkness across the continent in the longest total solar eclipse this century will see. Millions of others, fearing a bad omen, shuttered themselves indoors.

Chinese launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. On a remote Japanese island, bewildered cattle went to their feeding troughs thinking night had fallen. And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse.

Starting off in India just after dawn, the eclipse was visible across a wide swath of Asia before moving over southern Japan and then off into the Pacific Ocean. In some parts of Asia, it lasted as long as 6 minutes and 39 seconds.

The eclipse is the longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting 6 minutes, 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer eclipse than Wednesday’s until 2132.

The celestial event was met by a mixture of awe, excitement and fear.

Read the entire article here.

Related links:
NASA Eclipse Web Site
Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest
Missing Sun Motif in Solar Mythology

Not related at all really:
Total Eclipse of the Heart Literal Video Version

The biggest full moon of the year

Photo courtesy of UCI Observatory

The howlingest best full moon of the year

It’s Friday and there’s a full moon. The full moon will be the biggest one of the year as
Earth’s natural satellite reaches its closest point to our planet.

Details are here.

The Farmer’s Almanac has a list of full moon names and their meanings. The Farmer’s Almanac says that full moon names date back to Native
Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. December’s full moon is called The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon.


Annette Marie Hyder

perigean tides —
i am oceans and wild seas
you are the full moon

tides rise and banks are flooded —
to the pull and sway of you

Something to see

Ye stars, that are the poetry of heaven! — Byron

Three of the brightest luminaries of the night sky, visible to the naked eye and all together in one place? Yes:

WASHINGTON — It’s not just families that are getting together this
Thanksgiving week. The three brightest objects in the night sky —
Venus, Jupiter and a crescent moon — will crowd around each other for
an unusual group shot.

Starting Thanksgiving evening, Jupiter and Venus will begin moving
closer so that by Sunday and Monday, they will appear 2 degrees apart,
which is about a finger width held out at arm’s length, said Alan
MacRobert, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine.

Then on Monday night, they will be joined by a crescent moon right next to them, he said.

Look in the southwestern sky around twilight — no telescope or
binoculars needed. The show will even be visible in cities if it’s a
clear night.

“It’ll be a head-turner,” MacRobert said. “This certainly is an
unusual coincidence for the crescent moon to be right there in the days
when they are going to be closest together.”

The moon is the brightest, closest and smallest of the three and is
252,000 miles away. Venus, the second brightest, closest and smallest,
is 94 million miles away. And big Jupiter is 540 million miles away.

The three celestial objects come together from time to time, but
often they are too close to the sun or unite at a time when they aren’t
so visible.

Huffington Post

The November issue of National Geographic has a great article on light pollution, Our Vanishing Night,
which points out that most city skies have become virtually empty of
stars. So being able to see this event is a rare pleasure that city dwellers
will want to enjoy. Check out the photo gallery from the article here.

Lift your eyes

Don’t’ miss it! The next time the three will be as close and visible as this week
will be in Nov. of 2052, according to Jack Horkheimer, director of the
Miami Space Transit Planetarium.

Let your eyes dance over this beautiful sight.

the night shop
Annette Marie Hyder

the night sky, a pawn shop
filled with broken dreams
and dazzling deals
blinking in its deep display case
is promising all your hocked stuff
back for free
every wish you ever made
on every star you’ve ever seen
will be given back with interest
if you still have your ticket

you do have it
don’t look in your pockets
look up