A Total Lunar Eclipse will coincide with Winter Solstice for first time in 632 years (1378). Maui will have front-row seats Monday night! Beginning at 7:29 pm on Monday December 20th a total lunar eclipse will be visible to sky watchers across Maui.
While it is merely a coincidence that the eclipse falls on the same date as this year’s winter solstice, for eclipse watchers this means that the moon will appear very high in the night sky, as the solstice marks the time when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth lines up directly between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on the moon. As the moon moves deeper and deeper into the Earth’s shadow, the moon changes color before your very eyes, turning from gray to an orange or deep shade of red. The moon takes on this new color because indirect sunlight is still able to pass through Earth’s atmosphere and cast a glow on the moon. Our atmosphere filters out most of the blue colored light, leaving the red and orange hues that we see during a lunar eclipse. Extra particles in the atmosphere, from say a recent volcanic eruption, will cause the moon to appear a darker shade of red.
The eclipse will be visible in the lower eastern night sky. During the maximum eclipse the moon ought to sit at about the halfway point in the eastern sky, and by the time it ends you can look for the moon to regain its familiar whitish hue directly above your head, or at its zenith.
Let’s hope the current storm passes and we have clear skies :) I will update this post if I get some shot tonight.
Rare and endangered plants are a new subject for me. My friend Pat Bily of the The Nature Conservancy (a self proclaimed “plant geek”) has been patiently pointing out the native plants in the Waikamoi Preserve. The Lobelias are one of the food sources for the native birds of Maui . In 3 years of hiking past this paticular plant, I had not seen it bloom. So when I heard it was flowering, I had to have a look. WOW – beautiful! It was lightly raining, but I had to shoot, as a family of I’iwi were working it.
You can ask my wife, I cannot pass up a slab of Maui’s amazing hardwoods. It started at yard sales, a piece here, a piece there, till I had to build a shed to store them. Then I found the mill, oh my, the “candy store” for someone with woodlust. I began hanging around the millyard (100s of logs and piles of slabbed wood) looking through every pile looking for just the right piece. Whether it’s Koa, Mango, Monkey pod, Norfork Pine, or Opeuma, I love um all.
I also love driftwood. Whenever we have big storms with heavy rains, you will find me searching the river-mouths for chunks of battered and beaten pieces of wood. So anyway, now my backyard is piles of wood, every nook and cranny in the shop is piled high.
Woodlust, ya I’ve got it, because wood “speaks” to me. I mean, I see a piece a wood and it says “rocker” or “fish sculpture” or “treasure box”, it lets me know what it wants to be. Every piece of wood has a story, in this section of the blog, I will share the history of the wood and the process it took to become what it “told” me to make.