- at least not in Manhattan, KS.
Yesterday, Mark found a website with reference to the two lunar eclipses this year: one today, the other one in December. Today’s lunar eclipse was going to be only a partial eclipse but we expected it to be somewhat spectacular nevertheless because of the full moon and the fact that the eclipse was happening early in the morning when the moon was getting ready to set = close to the horizon = bigger.
So. Mark had read that the eclipse was going to start at 5:17 a.m. with the greatest eclipse at 6:38. We considered hiking up the Konza from where we would have the best view, both toward the setting, eclipsing moon in the West, and the rising sun in the East. (The sun rises shortly after 6 a.m. right now.) However, driving to the Konza parking lot takes a good 30 min, hiking up to the highest point another 30 minutes or more – then staying up there for a bit, then hiking back down, driving home – my intestines would not have cooperated with this. I have to take my Synthroid at least 30 minutes before I eat breakfast, and after breakfast I will need a bathroom within an hour or so. Which would have meant getting up around 4 a.m. to allow for meds, breakfast, bathroom, commute to the top of the Konza.
Alternative: skip breakfast so as to trick intestines into not waking up – something we routinely do when we travel in the early morning, such as on our trips to and from Germany: wake up, get ready, take car or taxi to the airport, have breakfast at the airport. Works wonderfully.
But a nice (?) long hike =physical exertion (a good one hour round trip) on an empty stomach? (And still no bathroom anywhere just in case the intestines did wake up …) Probably not.
So. We thought: the dam by Tuttle Creek Lake provides a lovely view. A quick seven or so minute drive. Except I was reminded when I looked at the google map that the view across the lake would be toward the Northwest, and the hills toward the West would have obstructed the setting moon.
Best alternative: Top of the World. (It really is called that. The name of the street is Top of the World.) Highest point in Manhattan, 12 minutes by car. You can drive right to the parking lot up at the top. Good.
Now, normally Saturday mornings are sacred. As in, no alarm is being set; we wake up when we wake up, usually rolling over going back to sleep after the first “waking up”. However, a lunar eclipse justifies breaking the “no alarm on a Saturday morning” rule.
Alarm went off, no rolling over to go back to sleep today. Get dressed in long-sleeve everything (thwart mosquitos), run fingers through hair, get in car, and drive toward Top of the World. On the way, we were surprised to see no moon at the horizon. The sun was already above the horizon but not bright enough to hide a full moon. So, where was the moon?
Well, turns out the moon had already set, at least here in Manhattan. Looong before the eclipse. We had checked everything in preparation for this excursion, except the time when the moon would set.
Mark’s new phone has this really neat feature where you point it at the sky and it shows all the planets and stars and moon and sun even below the horizon, with a red line for the horizon. This morning, as Mark was driving, and we were looking for the moon, I pointed the phone toward West and the little screen showed the moon (eclipsed!). Below the horizon.
We continued on, went to the Top of the World, looked and said “nice sunrise” and went back home.
Makes me wonder if Ashley Meenen, the author of the “First lunar eclipse of the year” article that Mark had found got to see the lunar eclipse. I somehow cannot imagine that even in Western Kansas the moon would have set late enough for the eclipse to be visible.
Maybe we’ll catch a full moon rise tonight. Sometime between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Should be visible from right by our house, looking over the park to the East.