One of the joys of sleeping at the cottage is that there is no light pollution. The stars are amazing! You can see the Milky Way and when there is hardly any moon the total darkness is quite something to experience. You also get a fantastic view of the fireflies dancing, something I have never seen at home in the city.
We have two reclining patio chairs and we love to wrap ourselves in a blanket and lie there watching the sky, looking for shooting stars or satellites. There are several hundred spacecraft now orbiting around our planet and many of them are low enough and bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.
28th September 2015 was a Total Lunar Eclipse and a rare eclipse of a Supermoon. We were at the cottage that night, which was great timing, given it won’t happen again for another 18 years! With no light pollution the viewing was much better than in the city. The weather wasn’t perfect and we didn’t get to see the total eclipse because of cloud cover, but we did get to see it almost there.
There was a red tinge to the moon, but not as red as I was expecting. I am assuming it was because of the cloud cover affecting the Rayleigh scattering, like it does with sunsets. Apparently if I were watching this from the Moon I would see a red ring around the earth and be able to see all the sunrises and sunsets taking place at that specific time on Earth!
Records show that the Babylonians and the ancient Chinese were able to predict solar eclipses as early as 2500 BC, yet there seems to be so many myths and superstitions built around solar eclipses. Many are about doom and predicting death and disasters. Some cultures insist that pregnant women and children stay indoors and some won’t eat food cooked during a solar eclipse. The superstition I like best is from Italy, where some believe flowers planted during a solar eclipse are brighter and more colourful than flowers planted any other time of the year. I wonder if my grandfather knew about this one? His diaries are marked with the phases of the moon and I know he used that information when planting out his garden.
The Total Lunar Eclipse was very impressive, but the Supermoon was quite amazing too. A Supermoon is a full Moon at its closest point to earth, which makes it look much bigger and brighter. I woke in the night and the room was so bright I didn’t need any extra light to find my way to the “inhouse”. Normally it is so dark at night at the cottage, so this was a very strange experience and one I am sure we would not have appreciated had we been in the city. Besides we have a blackout blind in our room at home, but no blinds on the windows at the cottage, so I would have totally missed out on that experience at home. It was interesting that the moon was not as bright when we went to bed. It was a bright moon, but nothing compared to the brightness when I woke in the night.