NEWS — It was supposed to be a spectacular event but it turned out to be much ado about nothing thanks to Mother Nature.
The Monday night-Tuesday morning total lunar eclipse was pretty much totally obscured by clouds in Kamloops. Instead of the “blood moon” eclipse we were supposed to be wowed by, we saw something that looked like the end of a cotton swab for most of the late evening.
The maximum eclipse was supposed to begin at 12:08. By that time, the moon was barely visible at all — probably a combination of the eclipse and the clouds. Maybe there was a tinge of red, maybe not.
Total lunar eclipses happen twice a year but aren’t always visible, depending on where you are. This is the first in 2014 and the first total lunar eclipse visible in North America since 2011.
An eclipse occurs when the sun, the Earth and the moon are in alignment so that the Earth’s shadow totally covers the moon’s surface. Eastern Canada got a view of it just before 2 a.m. EDT.
Andrew Fazekas, a spokesman for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, told the Toronto Star it’s “totally safe” to watch a lunar eclipse. “It’s not like a solar eclipse. You can watch it with your naked eyes.”
Well, yeah, especially on a cloudy night.
The eclipse takes about three and a half hours from start to finish, he said.
This eclipse coincided with the closest approach to Earth by Mars in six years — it comes within 96 million km. and was supposed to be visible above and to the right of the moon. If not for the clouds.
Colin Haig, vice president of the astronomical society, told CBC News the eclipse should be “very dramatic” with a reddish colour to the moon. Maybe next time. Another one is scheduled for October.