The lunar eclipse

There’s something fascinating about the moon. It’s traditional among astronomers to grumble about the moon, and the full moon in particular, as the massive amount of sunlight that it reflects makes it nigh on impossible to see anything else in the night sky. But, personally, I’m a big fan of the Earth’s partner in crime. And so I was keen to make the very most of last night’s spectacular lunar eclipse. So much so that Molly (my Labrador) and I decamped into the garden for the night. Here’s our set up…

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As the eclipse wasn’t set to start until the early hours of the morning, we thought we’d better get as much sleep as we could beforehand. So I dug out a camping mattress, sleeping bag and blankets and made us a little nest in the summerhouse. Molly quickly got the hang of it – once I’d removed her from my sleeping bag.

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As we went to bed, the full moon was dominating the sky. In fact, the entire garden was lit up in its silvery hue.

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When I peered out at about half past two, the eclipse was well under way. So I took a couple of quick photos and snuggled back into my sleeping bag.

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When I dragged myself back out about half an hour later, the eclipse was nearly full.

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We then entered a prolonged period when the eclipse was complete. The moon became faint and took on an ominous reddish colour. The stars, which had up until now been outshone by the moon itself, appeared in all of their glory. I just sat in my chair, staring up at the sky. For ages. And ages.

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Slowly, the limb of the moon started to become brighter, indicating that the full eclipse was coming to an end.

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By this time, Venus had risen in the eastern sky. A sign that it would soon be time to get up…

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And with the full eclipse now a distant memory, and the moon slowly regaining its normal appearance, I headed back to my sleeping bag…

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…where I managed to grab an hour and a half’s sleep before the sparrows that live in the garden decided that it was time for me, and everyone else, to rise out of our slumber and get on with the day. Sure, I’m absolutely shattered now. As is Molly, who is lying almost comatose on the sofa behind me as I write this. But what an amazing, unforgettable night.

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