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last year’s fall equinox from my neighborhood 

Spring is finally here and we are treated by a supermoon, a solar eclipse (viewed from other parts of earth) and the vernal equinox.  At 5:36 a.m. the solar eclipse began and at 5:46 we had the vernal equinox and this evening at 6:45 p.m. (all Eastern time) the Northern and Southern hemispheres will be illuminated equally and the day and night are each approximately 12 hours long.  The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west and the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the sun’s rays.

Eclipses can only happen at new moon, when the moon appears is entirely in shadow.    As it glides past so close to us it will not be visible in the continental United States, but can be observed from the Faroe Islands or the Svalbard Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean when it is fully blocking the sun.   A “Supermoon” refers to a full or new moon that coincides with perigee — the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit — and will not happen again until 2053 and 2072.    (Here is the completed video of the Faroe Island event:  It is dark at 1:10:36)

Scientists reveal that while there is an impression of a face to a casual viewer, the irregular surface of the moon was actually formed from dark lava that flowed many billions of years ago. And they recently have discovered that this lava flow continues from recent eruptions, and Sarah Braden, a lunar scientists has said,

“The existence and young age of the irregular mare patches provides a new constraint for models of the lunar interior’s thermal evolution….(and there is) evidence for volcanic eruptions at ages much younger than previously thought possible, and in multiple locations.”

This illustration shows the names of the large marias as seen from Earth. Credit: Peter Freiman & Background photograph by Gregory H. Revera
This illustration shows the names of the large marias as seen from Earth. Credit: Peter Freiman & Background photograph by Gregory H. Revera

ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside seat to view the eclipse from orbit, using its SWAP imager to capture this image of the moon passing in front of the sun.

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last year’s moon at the capitol

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