Monday, January 21, 2019


Hey Space Placers!

I hope you saw the Full Wolf Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse last night.

I wanted to share with you my once in a lifetime experience seeing the eclipse underway on cruise ship Azamara Pursuit off the coast of Port Madryn, Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean. Even though I have seen 5 total lunar eclipses at sea and at least a dozen more on land this was the best ever.

Why? Because in the over half century I have been observing and photographing total lunar eclipses this was the first time EVER that I had experienced the deep southern sky come into stunning viewing during totality. Cloudy weather on 1/31/18 aboard Azamara Journey prevented me seeing such a view off the coast of S. Australia in the Southern Ocean. Not so last night.

During totality our home galaxy, the Milky Way, spanned the ENTIRE SKY from port to starboard passing DIRECTLY overhead! The enchanting Southern Cross with its two bright guardian stars, Alpha and Beta Centaurus greeted us. We also saw the famous Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies flying through intergalactic space with the Milky Way. They appeared like spectral presences in the dark sky - the same way Ferdinand Magellan saw them in 1509.

Here is my pic from a previous voyage aboard Azamara Quest of what they look like deep down under the equator.

We had LOTS of lightning before the eclipse and the bridge monitored the weather as Azamara Pursuit was headed towards the storm.

We had several hundred guests on deck for the eclipse and Captain Carl Smith used his green laser pointer - bright like a Star Wars' laser saber (he could take on Darth Vader easily) - to point out navigational stars. As Captain Carl said today in his daily noon public announcement, "It was amazing to have over a hundred guests on deck after midnight when there was no food or drink".

We saw the ghostly penumbral shadow at about 0015 ship's time.

Then right on time the Earth's dark umbra shadow started to cover the Moon, showing that gravity still works in the solar system.

Totality was a full and glorious 62 minutes which allowed the stars to come out in stunning clarity and brightness as you can see in the stars near the Moon and upside down Orion (for those used to seeing the Hunter above the equator).

I will never forget the magic of seeing the Milky Way spanning the ENTIRE SKY horizon to horizon in a totally dark environment - less the occasional FLASH PHOTOGRAPH (grrrrrrr). As I commented, "Your flash photos are not strong enough to make it to the laser reflectors left on the Moon by the astronauts so please refrain from taking them". Well, that didn't work - LOL.

Some clouds kept the Moon company during totality off and on but overall it was a PERFECT event. Having been up for over 40 hours and flying 6,000 miles with a 3 hour nap AND having to give a lecture on the Moon at 10 a.m., I hung it up at 3 a.m. after totality ended.

Once last comment.

As totality enveloped us and the stars came out in the deep lunar glow and accompanying darkness in an almost primal fashion, I asked the guests to focus on the sound of Azamara Pursuit through the water. The sound of the waves graced our ears to accompany the surreal sky view we were privileged to witness.

Magical, indeed.

Sky Guy in VA

1 comment:

  1. Ahoy Greg!

    Thank you for joining us on the Azamara Pursuit with such short notice. Your talks and sky-guiding were excellent.

    I've felt for a long time that modern light-blindness to the sky is part of apparent public trend to depression, and needs addressing in today's popular activities for adults and children. I am greatly encouraged that Azamara seems very onboard with what you do. I told Tony I was pleased with your effort, but not why.

    I am a Christian who has been developing a Bible study about treating Wisdom's advice in Genesis One seriously. Namely that the word translated as Day refers literally to [Light separate from darkness] (Genesis 1:3-4), and the word given as Earth refers to the [dry Land near the seas] (Genesis 1:9-10). I have much stronger arguments as well, like Proverbs 8, John 1, John 8:12, and John 14:6-7 (the divinity of Christ the Word since before the beginning).

    Eventually I am hoping to work with Reasons To Believe ( about mobilizing Christians to publicly interpret actual scence as the Maker apparently intends, to properly glorify Him (such as involving the Moon's role in the Rare Earth Hypotheses).

    When we met after your talk Monday morning I told you I was a punched-card computer guy for the Navy. Eventually I became an aerospace software engineer & formal tester for TRW, and then an Internet researcher about Y2K and computer security.

    I take very seriously the Google Research. My effort avoiding Google (and Facebook for like reasons) is ongoing. My Tutanota email is hosted in the EU, and so encrypted they can't tell their CEO or law enforcement who is sending what where. Blogger rejects my email address. Apparently my choices for posting via Blogger are Anonymous and via Gmail. Google owes us the explanation.

    Regards Always,
    keep up the encouragement!
    Navy Tim McCully with the mustache.
    TimMc4Life (at)