Red Moon, Red Planet


In this season of Christmas tidings, many of us were blessed to witness the eerie Red Moon of the total lunar eclipse a few nights ago on Dec. 21. Here in “bonechilling” New Jersey, it was miraculously crystal clear the entire night from the beginning around 1:30 a.m. EST to the end – about three and one half hours later at around 5 a.m.

UPDATE: Check out more readers “Red Moon, Red Planet” astropix contributions below !

The eclipse occurred as the moon passed through the Earth’s inner dark shadow, or umbra and changed dramatically to varying shades of red, orange and brown.

Lunar Eclipse 12-21-2010 from The Plantation in Florida. Credit: Ernie Rossi
During totality – when the moon was completely immersed in the umbral shadow for about 72 minutes – the red moon changed from a faint red glow to a brilliant crimson red. At times it appeared to be blood red and as though the surface was stirring and oozing droplets of warm and viscous blood. It was surreal and looked to me as though it had been magically and majestically painted up into the night sky.

Well all this redness hanging in the sky during totality caused me to ponder Mars – the Red Planet – especially with the avalanche of good news streaming back lately.

And the wispy white light at near total eclipse harkened to the Martian polar ice caps.

Mars at Opposition in 2003 from New Jersey. 3.5 in Questar 0.1 seconds. Credit: Robert Vanderbei

Bright red Mars at Opposition in 2003 - The year that Spirit and Opportunity launched.

So please send your telescopic shots and descriptions of the Red Planet and/or the Red Moon and I’ll post them here. Email kremerken at yahoo dot com or post as comments to add here.

Looking up at the sky it was easy to imagine Opportunity newly arrived at the gorgeous Martian crater Santa Maria, hunting for minerals spotted from orbit that could influence the search for life, as Odyssey circles about at a record setting pace and transmits those tell tale clues back to scientists waiting on Earth.

Lunar Eclipse from New Jersey 12-21-2010. Credit: Robert Vanderbei

Despite the shadow the moon does not completely disappear. The red moon’s glow was caused by sunlight refracted through the earth’s atmosphere and cast upon the lunar surface. The hue varies depending on a variety of atmospheric conditions and can be intensified by floating clouds of volcanic ash and dust. The recent volcanic eruptions at Mount Merapi in Indonesia in October and at Mount Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland last April sent massive plumes of particles skyward which may have influenced the thrilling event.

Red Moon, Red Planet. One day we’ll journey there and back again.


Send me your astropix of Red Moon and/or Red Mars to post here:

Check out these gorgeous views of Mars in January 2010 from Efrain Morales Rivera at the Jaicoa Observatory in Aquadilla, Puerto Rico

Efrain writes; On this session (01/21/10) on Mars of this years apparition many details could be seen for its size. Image at left at closest to Earth and at the limb (L) Mount Olympus largest volcano in our system, Image at right (01/27/10) closest to the Sun. Credit: Efrain Morales Rivera, Jaicoa Observatory, Aquadilla, Puerto Rico

From Robert Vanderbei of Amateur Astronomers Association Of Princeton in New Jersey; A Lunar Eclipse Montage ! Just ahead of the monster blizzard which struck the northeast Corridor of the US on Dec 26.

Dec. 21, 2010 Lunar Eclipse Montage as imaged from New Jersey. Credit: Robert Vanderbei

Some pictures of the eclipse put together as a composite from beginning to totality by Russell King of Willingboro Astronomical Society, New Jersey.

All pictures were taken with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi from my home in Neptune, New Jersey. I used my Canon 75 to 300MM lens and shot all exposures at 300MM. Camera was set on a fixed photo tripod. The pictures range from 1/2500 second at full moon to 1 second during totality. Images were processed in Photoshop 2 and Ulead. Credit: Russell King.

11 Replies to “Red Moon, Red Planet”

  1. on Dec 21 as stated here, the moon appeared blood red during the eclipse. Revelation 6:12 states “the sixth seal opened. there was a great earthquake, the sun turned black like sackcloth made of hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars of the heaven were a scroll when it was rolled up” this is revelation 6:12
    We know gravity causes quakes during eclipses that blacken celestial objects like the sun and moon. There is a theory the holographic universe derived from Hawking, where space is rolled up like in a scroll too.

    1. Right; only the first sentence makes sense.

      2nd is religion, known to be false (say, as in “where are the miracles”).

      3d is a pseudoscientific claim, known to be false (actually it looks like astrology, which started out as a tool for religions when it wasn’t a bona fide religion itself).

      4th sentence has a kernel of fact but is otherwise wrong all over, the relevant physics is the holographic principle, which derives from Thorn and ‘t Hooft.

    2. Yeah… and how about all those stars falling from Heaven, eh Muppet?
      It is mentioned is the Bible nine times! (I.e. Matthew 24:29)

      As for having your own twisted faith; Faith is “An unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence.” Sounds very much like your PC/EU to me, sunshine!

  2. The false religion is believing in arrogant scientists like Larsson, who pretend to be like God, defying scripture and predicting that they soon will find these invisible invented dark matter particles to explain their own theories. Rev 6:12 is from the Bible, and is NOT a pseudoscientific claim. The kernel of truth is what matters, and the holographic principle universe theory is believed to warp and fold together 2D and 3D space, such that a star might resemble slightly a pixel on the scroll or screen in an information universe according to Biblical scripture IF you have the FAITH !

    1. Funny you know… Plasma Cosmology or Electric Universe isn’t mentioned in Biblical scripture, and also is not “FAITH” based either! It ain’t science is it?
      Such crazy naïveté like this is not needed to swing the joie de vivre, so to speak, now does it?

      Nice try Muppet!!
      [L’imbécile se tient debout nu et exposé. Essai agréable Muppet!!]

  3. “Red Moon, Red Planet. One day we’ll journey there and back again.”
    Who is the “we” here?
    Also spectrally, the colours sen here are hugely different!!

    As for the quaint notions and absurdity of “Christmas tidings” and a “celestial event” like an eclipse is just as bad as astrology. It is an particular alignment of three bodies, intersecting at regular intervals that happens almost equally at anytime of the year.

    As for the Biblical scriptural story here, like the blatant advertising of here, it was unlikely you saviour was born in December. It was actually closer to April, and was changed so it didn’t clash with the similarly dated Easter!!! In fact, if as straight with us, it is based on the Roman joyous Saturnalia winter festival.
    Perhaps we should instead be beholden to the appearance of the new white spot currently seen on Saturn? White, like the snow, is supposed to be an icon (and Icon, if you get my drift) of christmas — which the eastern parts of the US has in spades!
    Forget Mars! I’d line-up my “celestial event” to Saturn, thank you very much!

    Cheers Guys… and (keeping the non-secularists happy too) Happy New Year!

  4. the proven scum crumb starts up again entirely on his own to rant EC and PC. a good bible scripture post for some good Christians, that is appropriate content for the blood red eclipse observation, has not been refuted by any scientific argument, just by some atheists like crumb and larson, who say science and religion are not both right or wrong. Plenty of wrong science from Crumb here before has been posted in the past. admit you do not believe in God and morality, Crumb, cause you don’t get anywhere just badmouthing religion

    1. Oh you silly Muppet! Actually, if you could read, haven’t even mentioned religion is a negative context at all. The main point here is that fruitcakes like you just want to ignore natural law when it is “inconvenient” and only when it suits you.

      As for the call “atheists like crumb”; where is your evidence, for this eh?

      You quote something from the Bible, an lo and behold, bingo, your a stinking filthy atheist!

      As I said “L’imbécile se tient debout nu et exposé.” &8212; and that happens to be a biblical quote too!

  5. the evidence that crumb is a liar and atheist is what he wrote! crumb states descriptive phenomena falling stars as reason to doubt the bible, and publicly mocks believers having faith in Christ. the bible states Christ saying that whoever rejects him around others will not have representation with God during the final judgement, when we get to see the malicious scum Crumb get cast into the lake of fire likely plasma forever.

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