Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lunar Eclipse & the Drums!

The red moon toward the end before it was completely eclipsed.
the start
half way into the eclipse

Okay, I admit that these are not the best pictures.  It is pretty far away and even though it looked big in my camera, it wasn't so big in the shot.  Also, unfortunately when the moon was the reddest, my camera decided that red is black.  I tried several ways to get it, but all those shots came out with a black sky and no moon to be seen.  So, these are the best I got.  If you want to see some good shots look here  They have a shot of it spread over time with the different views.  

When the eclipse started I heard the people in the village behind my house beating drums.  This continued through most of the eclipse.  I talked with my English class the next day about the eclipse.  First, they wanted to know how I could tell them the day before that it would happen :).  The wonders of the internet and a teammate in Nairobi who was paying attention and sent an e-mail to me about the event helped with that. 

We had a good discussion about the eclipse.  They are used to seeing eclipses.  We don't have much light pollution here, so you can see the moon, the stars and the milky way very clearly at night.  So, they have seen many eclipses - they just don't know when they will happen ahead of time.  Anyway, I asked them about the beating of the drums.  In English they told me that the people beat the drums because the moon is dying.  They want it to rise again.  So, the beat the drums to encourage the moon to come back. They said the people also sing and dance.  (I was very happy they were able to say all that in English even if it was a little broken!)  It is almost a time of celebration but with a bit of fear behind it.  The fear that the moon won't come back and light the night.  So, they beat the drums - maybe so it knows that it is wanted and appreciated - so it will rise again.  That last bit is my speculation :).  

So, there you have it from one who saw it for myself.  It was impressive!  I didn't stay up to see it become uneclipsed (I know it isn't a word, but what else do you call it?).  I had to teach the next morning.  It was to stay red/orange for an hour and forty minutes before starting on its way back to normal.  I'm thankful that I knew to look for it and got to see it!  I am also thankful for the good conversation starter it was in class :).  More on the rest of the week later!  Blessings to you all!

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