Good morning, moon.
Awaking at 3 a.m. Friday, I decided to venture into the predawn cold to view the partial lunar eclipse, the longest in 581 years.
As the old Cat Stevens song played in my mind, I marveled at the full moon shrouded by the earth's shadow, leaving a gleaming crescent sliver. Like spectators in a vast theater, stars and planets sparkled in the uncommonly clear sky.
I went inside to warm up for a while, then returned to see the eclipse at its peak coverage of nearly 98 percent at 4:03 a.m. The promised red glow was more a brown smudge, yet still majestic and mystical.
Beginning at 1:15 a.m. when the moon slipped into the earth's shadow, the partial lunar eclipse was the longest since Feb. 18, 1440. The next longest partial lunar eclipse, 2 minutes longer than Friday's, will occur on Feb. 8, 2669. If human beings are left by then, they'll probably be playing golf on Mars.
But we celestial extravaganza fans won’t have to wait long for more moon magic. A longer total lunar eclipse will occur on Nov. 8, 2022.
Going back to bed, I discovered that the moon had been visible all along through the bedroom window. Sinking toward sleep, I watched the lunar light advance against the receding shadow.