Blood Moon, May 2021

Did you see the total lunar eclipse the other night? Daniel Anderson posted a photo on the Waikawa Beach Facebook page and gave permission for it to be posted here as well.

Blood Moon.
Blood Moon. Photo by Daniel Anderson.

At first when the Moon rose it was so bright you could hardly see any stars.

It takes our eyes quite a while to adjust to darkness after being in the light — up to 30 minutes. After being in a lit room, give your eyes half an hour or so before you can see all the stars the dark sky has to offer.

Gradually though, with the moon’s light dimming, more and more stars were visible. By the time of the total eclipse, around 11.15 pm, the Moon was barely to be seen but the Milky Way was phenomenally bright!

We’re so lucky here at the beach to have amazingly dark skies — it’s a rare treasure in this brightly lit world.

We can all play a part in preserving this taonga by keeping outdoor lights pointed at the ground, and turning them off when they’re not needed.

Look up! β€” There’s a lunar eclipse on 26 May 2021

Once night falls I step out on the deck at Waikawa Beach and can see the glow from the lights of Ōtaki, Masterton, Levin and Palmerston North. Fortunately though, with no street lights nearby, I can look a little higher and see stars, galaxies, planets, Moon and occasional satellites shining against the dark of the sky.

Recently Strathnaver resident Jaye Pere pointed her telescope at the full Moon (Facebook link), attached her Samsung Galaxy S10 to the eyepiece and took these amazing photos.

We’re so lucky here to have few streetlights and few house lights, meaning the sky is good and dark, and even fainter celestial bodies are easy to see. Take that Wellington!

Full moon.
Full moon, late April 2021. Photo by Jaye Pere.

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