Shadows Intrude the Orb of Night

The first lunar eclipse to happen during the winter solstice in 372 years has come and passed.

While most Penn Manor students were asleep for the action, a few faced the cold December night to experience it.

“It was interesting because the eclipse hasn’t happened on the winter solstice for a couple hundred years,” said Jess Huber, a junior who woke up to watch the epic eclipse unfold. “I’ve never seen the moon look that kind of orange before.”

A lunar eclipse is when the moon passes through the shadow of the earth cast by the sun, which then blocks the light to the moon. This eclipse was momentous due to the fact that it hasn’t fallen on the longest night of the year, the winter solstice, since 1638.

The stages of last night's lunar eclipse. Photo courtesy of sacredtravel.wordpress.com

Because the eclipse fell on the winter solstice, the moon appeared “very high in the night sky, as the solstice marks the time when Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun,” a NASA spokesperson said.

This eclipse turned the moon a “blood red color for more than an hour” according to NASA.

The red appearance is due to the atmosphere acting like a filtered lens and bending the red sunlight into earth’s shadow scattering out blue light. This is also why sunrises and sunsets appear red or orange as reported by Kevin Kehoe of astronomy.com.

Although this was a special occasion, not too many Penn Manor students considered it an exciting experience.

Junior Christina Stoltzfus sacrificed her good night’s sleep to see the magnificent event.

Junior Christina Stoltzfus imitates the moon. Photo by of Kyle Hallett

“It was breathtaking as the shadow slowly moved across the moon’s surface,” explained Stoltzfus. “I wanted to watch this since it was the first winter solstice lunar eclipse to happen during our generation.”

Earth Science teacher, David Bender, warned his students of the cloudy conditions and that it would be difficult to see the colorful moon.

Regardless of the rarity of the lunar eclipse on the day of winter solstice, most students said they would rather sleep than watch the moon disappear into the shadows.

“I prefer to sleep and I had a math test the next day,” said senior, Kelly McHugh.

It’s alright if you missed this experience Penn Manor, it will take place again in another 84 years

By Cassie Funk and Cree Bleacher

Comments

  1. I stayed up to see it! It was fantastic. I have never seen anything like it!

  2. According to http://www.livingto100.com/, I’m not going to live long enough to see the next one. =(