Tag Archives: dark

Super Full Moon Eclipse

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:

The super full moon before the eclipse.
The super full moon before the eclipse.

A shadow then began to cross the moon diagonally from upper left to lower right.

The moon slowly begins to dim as the Earth crosses between it and the sun, blocking out the light.
The moon slowly begins to dim as the Earth crosses between it and the sun, blocking out the light.

Soon the shadow almost crossed the entire moon surface.

Only a tiny sliver of the moon's face remains in the light.
Only a tiny sliver of the moon’s face remains in the light.
The Moon is entirely eclipsed and what little of it can be seen is tinged rusty red in colour.
The Moon is entirely eclipsed and what little of it can be seen is tinged rusty red in colour.

 

Now the top left corner slowly begins to brighten as the shadow of the Earth continues to move.
Now the top left corner slowly begins to brighten as the shadow of the Earth continues to move.
The bright white light bends across the moon's surface and appears to glow, as the red light of the shadowed moon begins to fade.
The bright white light bends across the moon’s surface and appears to glow, as the red light of the shadowed moon begins to fade.

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.

The white light made for a very bright contrast with the red of the 'blood moon'.
The white light made for a very bright contrast with the red of the ‘blood moon’.

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.

Noon is a real thing

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.

The 24-hour clock as it is today. In winter we get 17 hours of night on the winter solstice, and 17 hours of daylight on the summer solstice. True noon and true midnight are a little bit different to those of the clock. On the equinoxes day and night are the same lenght, with the sun rising directly in the east and setting directly in the west. Our clock is a real thing and politicians shouldn't mess around with it because they have silly notions in their heads.
The 24-hour clock as it is today. In winter we get 17 hours of night on the winter solstice, and 17 hours of daylight on the summer solstice. True noon and true midnight are a little bit different to those of the clock. On the equinoxes day and night are the same lenght, with the sun rising directly in the east and setting directly in the west. Our clock is a real thing and politicians shouldn’t mess around with it because they have silly notions in their heads. The angles are real and show the points at which the sun rises in the east and sets in the west throughout the year.

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.

The Incredible Skies of November Wicklow

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.

I took this photo of the sky at sunset yesterday with my trusty little Canon camera. The palm tree adds something exotic, but these cordyline trees are extremely common in Wicklow gardens. They are known as Cornwall Palms, although they are not actually true palm trees at all.