Many years ago, when we were aged 5, 6 and 7, my parents and my uncle got my brothers and me out of bed to watch a total eclipse of the moon. I have no memory whatsoever of the eclipse, but I do remember the thrill of being out of bed in the middle of the night.
In the spirit of continuing a fine family tradition, I got my elder daughter out of bed to watch last night’s total lunar eclipse. I woke her up at about 9.45pm, just before the moon moved entirely into the earth’s shadow. As is customary in Wellington when spectacular celestial events are happening, the sky was cloudy, but the winds were fast moving, and there were breaks in the cloud, so we saw the moon several times, each time just a little darker. Eventually, we saw the last glimmering of light on what was from our perspective, the top right hand side of the moon. By then the moon had become, in my daughter’s words, “a beautiful rust colour, a bit like bricks.”
I tucked her back into bed, and went on with my work. Later on, the cloud cover blew away, and I could see the moon getting darker and darker. Eventually the light started to return in a shining gleam, and as I went to bed myself, very late, I watched the moon slip free of the last of the shadow. Wonderful.
I hope my daughter remembers it.
There’s a picture of the eclipsed moon here.
Update: Scoop has some fabulous pictures here