Looking to the Sky

This year’s lunar eclipse was chilly but magical, happening just before sunrise on December 10, 2011.

Sometimes you have to look to the sky to see the wonder of your beautiful wildlife garden. And sometimes you have to get up early to catch the magic and peacefulness of rare happenings in nature.

Last Saturday, December 10, 2011 was a full lunar eclipse that was visible in our area of the country. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun, creating a perfect shadow on the moon by blocking the sun’s rays. In order to have a total lunar eclipse, all three bodies must be in perfect alignment, and there must be a full moon.

So why is this worth losing sleep over? Well, it doesn’t happen very often and even when it does it might not be visible from where you live. Sometimes it happens early in the night, like the last one I watched a couple of years ago. Then I stayed up late to watch the moon turn red around midnight, its beauty much more pronounced due to the dark of the night. This time around, the lunar eclipse happened just before sunrise, so I was able to see both the moon setting and the sun rising at the same time – very rare indeed!

The sun was rising as the lunar eclipse was reaching its fullness, creating a double dose of beauty on the mountains.

Even the wildlife gave me a special treat for getting up early. As I was watching the lunar eclipse, standing out in the brisk, 10 degree air, I heard the “hoot, hoot” of a Great Horned Owl in the pine trees.

It was still rather dark but as the dawn’s light brightened just a bit the owl flew in front of me as if to say good morning. A magical moment, two rare nature occurrences at one time. Was it worth getting out of bed for? Definitely. Not knowing when I will see another eclipse or owl, I will cherish these magical nature moments.

The next full lunar eclipse will not happen until April 2014 so you will have plenty of time to plan on participating in watching these rare events!

The moon going down behind the mountains as its being totally eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow.

© 2011 – 2012, Kathy Green. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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  1. says

    Kathy, how wonderful you were able to see this..for us on the east coast we could catch a quick glimpse in the early morning hours. I had bad info and missed it by a half hour. I have seen the lunar ecplise when it is dark and it is spectacular. My husband always says people rarely look up enough. If they did they would see the wonder of the moon rising, the sun setting, and a beautiful bird flying past. Thx for sharing the ecplise for those of us who could not see it…
    Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted..The Making of a Meadow

  2. says

    What a treat to see the sunrise as the moon sets and a lunar eclipse as well! I have seen the opposite occur and had to climb a forest tower to see the moonrise while the sun was setting . . . no eclipse though. I was thrilled to be in between such forces. Lunar eclipses are so magical . . . the light on the landscape in your mountain photo is so lovely. Enchanting to share all these wonders with an owl. At this time of year the gardens, fields and forest are much quieter, while the drama in the sky is more pronounced. Thank you for sharing these rare moments Kathy. What a dramatic setting you have there!

  3. says

    Fabulous that you got to witness this, Kathy. Now, could you give me a wakeup call in April 2014? While I appreciate living vicariously through your words, I would like to catch it live! ;)
    Loret recently posted..Bug Gangs

  4. says

    How wonderful to have gotten to witness this event. I don’t know that the lunar eclipse was visible in So Cal. But I recall the moon being esp big & seemed unusually close when I did go out in the wee hours to look at it. Also, I love your Owl. I have a couple owls that hoot every night in the trees close by, but I’ve yet to see them :-( Great photo in the Great Horned Owl post~
    Kathy @nativegardener recently posted..Pitter Patter.. First Rain for Topanga this Season

  5. says

    What a great night’s entertainment! Your photos captured the moment so well. So much is going on if we just take the time to see the beauty around us. What was once considered a magical event can still be special. Some things have not changed.


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