I really enjoy astrophotography even though I don’t always have the proper equipment for it. I decided to focus tonight on the sky and make do with what I had. Left to right is the full moon to a few minutes into the full eclipse.
The skies were clear so I still got to watch the transitions through some binoculars.
Image of super wolf blood moon on January 21, 2019
Last Father’s Day weekend, my whole family packed up and made a trip down to the Quad Cities where my sisters and I grew up. When my father passed away, my mother had decided to spread his ashes along the Mississippi. It had been a long time since we’d been back, and my mother was insistent on doing a proper visit and small memorial service along the river.
We ended up staying on the Iowa side which meant frequently crossing back and forth across the river over the weekend. The “Arsenal” Bridge (Government Bridge) was something I crossed many times growing up in the area. I remembered that the original structure was the first railroad bridge to cross the Mississippi. I also remembered the annoying delays when we’d get stuck in traffic due to a small section of the bridge that would turn to allow passage for barges.
But my young nephew, who loves trains, was fascinated by it. When he comes across interesting stuff, he’ll sometimes ask his mom to take pictures of it. While we were crossing over in the van he said he wanted photos of the bridge, but since we were scheduled to meet up with some friends, we didn’t have time to stop.
I’m sure he would have been happy with a snapshot on a phone, but I decided to turn it into a mini-project and went back later that day to capture some photos for him.
It wasn’t until I was about twelve years old that the concept of space truly hit me. My sister had picked me up from a rehearsal or perhaps a music lesson, and we were on our way home. We were cresting a hill on a street that we had ridden on hundreds of time, and dusk was approaching. As we came to the top I remember my heart started racing as the last hour of sunlight lit the sky, and I was finally able to comprehend the roundness of the Earth. It could have been a trick of the light, but when I looked out, the clouds were mimicking the curve of the land underneath. It was that moment I fully realized I live on tiny rock encased in a relatively thin bubble of air. I tried to express my wonderment to my sister, and her response was typical for her at the time – “Yeah, didn’t you already know that?”
It wouldn’t be until nine years later that something in the sky shook me like this. I was in college, and it was one of those nights I could sit on the front porch late into the evening. This time when I looked up, I saw the moon – a crescent that was showing only a sliver of light. It was different this time however because I was able to make out the round shadow of the rest of its form. It was dark, but not as dark as the rest of the sky. It was like looking at a chiaroscuro drawing of a ball. It hung perfectly round like a sphere on a canvas; I felt like I could reach out and roll it.
But I couldn’t.
I’d always had an interest in math and science. I knew of the concepts of general relativity. I understood the physics of why we didn’t spin right of the face of this planet. Logically I knew this particular ball was massive and cold – a huge rock thousands of miles away reflecting light from the sun. But that night, it took on a form and it took up a space and it became real. My mind went from enthralled, to confused, to frightened. I was not ready for it to become because knowing what it was, what it was made of, and how fast it was moving simply couldn’t match up to what I was perceiving as it inched along in the night sky.
Image of super moon on November 13, 2016
Composite image shot with Canon 6D | EF 70-200mm f/4L USM