In the early hours of this morning we had a super full moon, which is when the moon is much closer to earth than usual, making it appear bigger. And, as most readers will know, we also had a full eclipse of the moon, the first of a super full moon since 1982 apparently. This is how it looked from Wicklow, in a series of photos I took over the few hours of the eclipse:
A shadow then began to cross the moon diagonally from upper left to lower right.
Soon the shadow almost crossed the entire moon surface.
Gradually the re-emerging of the moon becomes more spectacular, but the eclipse is drawing quickly to and end and soon the moon will be as it was before the eclipse.
In the summer of 2018 we are to have another lunar eclipse, but apparently it will be very early in the evening on one of our long July days so it might be some time before the right conditions occur again. Last night was a cool (3.5 degrees Celsius) and clear cloudless night so I was a very lucky eclipse photographer indeed.
At the moment there is a ridiculous debate going on in the Daíl, the Irish parliament, which shows how removed from reality politicians are, and how ignorant. A motion was tabled that Ireland should simply change its clock to that of central European time, to suit trade with the EU. The ‘geniuses’ behind this plan don’t seem to realise that midnight and noon are actually real events. Midnight is the point at which the sun casts the longest shadow over any area of the earth, and noon is when it is at its highest point in the sky on any day. In Ireland we observe Greenwich Mean Time in winter, and British Summer Time in summer. In Greenwich, in London, in wintertime true noon occurs at exactly 12 o’clock midday, and true midnight is exacly 12 o’clock midnight. In British Summer Time they occur an hour later. However, here in Wicklow, because we are a few hundred kilometres to the west of Greenwich, true noon occurs at about 12.31 in the afternoon, and true midnight is at 12.29 a.m. Now, in summer, true noon occurs at 1.31 in the afternoon, and true midnight is at 1.29 a.m.
So, if the proposal is successful these events will occur an hour later still, with true midnight in summer being at 2.29 am and true noon being at 2.31 p.m. People who get up normally in the morning will be then rising at the worst possible time for their biological clocks, when they should be in the deepest and most important parts of their natural sleep cycle. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially for commuters.
In some ways it is a great shame that November is the quietest month for tourists visiting Wicklow. November in particular gives us our most spectacular skies. Why they are so amazing in November is undoubtedly due to a combination of factors such as the angle of the autumn sun, atmospheric moisture and pressure, and the lie of the land, particularly the Wicklow Mountains and hill. Much more sholuld be made of this spectacle. There should be a cloud festival in November and buses bringing painters and photographers to the best vantage points. In this, the quietest month, we could truly celebrate nature in a way that no one does. Until that time the skies are left to the connoisseurs of light and cloud.