Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

I learned at a dinner party last night, about the lunar eclipse we should see tonight, providing the skies are clear (so far so good, in Portland).... Yep, the skies were clear, even if my own eyesight is less than perfect (some doubling (didn't find binoculars)).

Much of the evening was about getting the Compiz Fusion rotating cube of desktops working on Tara's new Ruby Red laptop (Dell 1420 N), while watching Simpsons and eating Subway. Adding to software sources, and installing lots of updates over factory (hundreds of files), and finally finding a new compiz configuration manager in Synaptic, proved the answer in this case (we're using restricted nVidia drivers, having had good luck with that previously).

In a lunar eclipse, the Earth's shadow completely covers a full moon for a short time, as it moves in front of the sun. Looking back from the moon, the earth would somewhat cover the sun. I tried to get that view from the moon in Celestia, newly installed on my laptop (another Dell), but I'm still all thumbs with that program, much as I tout it as a classroom-ready paradigm open source project.

Along those lines, today I've been studying the HDTV pix of the moon's surface coming back from one of the Kaguya sensing stations in lunar orbit (i.e. from a satellite designed to spy on the moon).