I didn’t plan for the excitement that surged throughout our home tonight. I knew the lunar eclipse was going to happen, but I also knew it was to occur around bedtime. Knowing I would be running the bedtime show solo tonight, I just couldn’t bring myself to schedule in an eclipse viewing besides everything else we had going on. I was helping my oldest with his homework when I quickly checked my email messages, finding a reminder: don’t forget to look outside tonight between 9 and 11 p.m. It was 8:30. Still unenthusiastic, I went back to the task at hand, but then hubby called from his cell as he was driving away from home to report that the lunar eclipse was in full swing and we would be able to see it from the driveway. Nevermind that today we came close to (if not, reached) record-setting cold temps in Fargo, ND. Off we went, a couple of the kids and I, outside and down the driveway to see for ourselves. And at the first announcement of, “There it is! It’s really cool!” the drama began to heighten. Coats and shoes were flying all over the place in everyone’s attempt to get a personal glimpse. I headed upstairs to see if we could catch the view from a window, and sure enough, there it was, clearly. My daughter and I got out our cameras, and everyone oohed and aahed for the next half hour as we tried to get a few shots from our digitals. Mine happens to have a decent zoom, and although I had no tripod for help, I did manage to get what I think are a few not-so-bad shots of the event. You will notice the top-right photo of what looks like five moons surrounding the center moon in mid-eclipse. The effect, glare from the window, made for an interesting shot, methinks. After the photo shoot we zoomed to the computer to make printouts so the kids could bring them to class tomorrow. What an energizing, spontaneous science lesson. Even my 5-year-old was very curious as to what exactly a lunar eclipse is, and I was able to share stories of viewing the total solar eclipse from our fifth-grade class window all those years ago (1979). As for my oldest son, surprisingly, he petered out early and was watching TV as the rest of us spied the final pinkish phase of the full eclipse, and later complained that I took too much time from the homework session. “Sorry about that,” I said, “but something more important than your homework was going on — a lunar eclipse!’
Sometimes, these spontaneous moments of wonder are what give life its zest. Thanks, Man on the Moon, for the great featured attraction!