A weekend made for moon-gazing

If you like the outdoors, this past weekend was a great one. Not perfect for hunting, but it was pretty darn good for just being outside.

It’s fall, and that means hunting season. But hunting season usually means cold temperatures, or at least cool weather. We need that dip in the mercury both to get the animals doing what they normally do this time of year, as well as to keep them from spoiling on the trip back to town if we’re lucky enough to come home with one.

But last weekend, the weather didn’t cooperate. However, if you like to hike, camp, fish, or just hang out and stare at the scenery, this was a great weekend for it. And the splendor didn’t end when the sun went down. If you were paying attention to the world around us, and especially to the things that are circling around our world, you already know that the Supermoon was back. The full moon was at the closest point on its orbit around the Earth, which makes it look bigger and brighter than any other time. But to make it even better, there was also a total lunar eclipse to go along with it.

Blood Moon
The lunar eclipse on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, was unusual in that it happened when the full moon was at perigee, or its closest point to the Earth in its orbit. It is seen here as it looked through the metal bars of the “Blue Arches” at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. –Photo by Ty Stockton

If you haven’t had a chance to see a total lunar eclipse, it’s something to see. Normally, the moon is too bright to really see the nooks and crannies on its surface, but when it’s shadowed by the Earth, it turns a dark red color. That red hue allows you to see the peaks and valleys better, especially if you have a telescope, or even a good set of binoculars.

So between the bigger-than-average moon and the total eclipse, I spent a lot of nighttime hours outside this weekend, looking up. If there were too many clouds to see it in your neck of the woods, or if you didn’t get a chance to go outside and look up, I’ve posted a couple more photos on my blog at TyStockton.com.

And if you’re hoping to see one with your own eyes, you have plenty of time to prepare. It looks like the next total lunar eclipse won’t happen until January 31, 2018. All the photos on the Internet should keep you occupied until then.