By Genie Lorenzo
We climbed up the Manila Observatory (MO) roofdeck, and waited anxiously for a bit of clearing in the sky and a view of the lunar eclipse. The clouds were heavy the entire afternoon but we tried to keep our hopes up even with the unencouraging view, or no-view: if only for the young boy, Matty, who came in excitedly, with two generations of his family, in a t-shirt with Moon print, and with binoculars around his small neck.
The partial eclipse (at moonrise) and the start of the total eclipse was not visible because of the hazy horizon and low clouds. Into the middle of the total eclipse (around 6:45PM), something was peeping out of the thick clouds, which we thought could be an airplane. After several minutes, we realized this was not an airplane, but our eclipsed Moon – all 1/8 of the Blood Moon visible to us! It had a slight reddish, orange tinge to it.
Then the Moon slowly rose above the clouds and we observed it (portions, of it we could see, anyway) alternately with our naked eyes, Erika´s viewfinder, and Matty´s binoculars. More of the Moon was becoming visible to us, but it did not yet have enough light to be appreciated on Fr. Heyden´s Questar. Dan from a nearby village also came with another telescope. A little bit after 7:00PM, as the Moon was leaving the peak of the eclipse, its position in the sky and the actual sky conditions were becoming more favorable. And as it was coming out of the Earth´s umbral shadow, the entire Moon was more visible.
Seeing the thin sliver of light from the Sun growing on the Moon slowly, until it became the more familiar ¨full¨ Moon again, was a wonder to behold. Following are photos taken then with a Canon EOS400D (lit up areas in the photos appear bigger than actual).
Aside from MO staff and friends, Ateneo de Manila University dormers, and residents of nearby villages – including two young happy girls with their mothers, were also there. And Kepler´s representative (Johannes, third year Ateneo student) helped take down our stuff. The beautiful photos below of the eclipsed Moon are by Randell Teodoro from his camera, on Erika Valdueza´s eyepiece attached to Dan´s Celestron. What a blessed evening.
Genie Lorenzo is a Research Assistant at the Air Quality Dynamics-Instrumentation Technology Development Program of the Manila Observatory.
Randell Teodoro is a Research Assistant at the Solid Earth Dynamics Program of the Manila Observatory.
Erika Valdueza was a Research Assistant at the Solid Earth Dynamics and the Geomatics for Environment Programs of the Manila Observatory and is pursuing further studies.