Blood Moon Rising

Last night was the first total lunar eclipse of 2014. It was also the first luna roja, blood moon.

We knew it was about to happen, and had just put the finishing touches on a little graphic to celebrate this stunning celestial phenomenon, which we posted on our Mayan Calendar Facebook page. What we didn't expect was the speed with which the image would race around the world: 

  • 442 likes and 242 shares within 32 minutes of posting.
  • Sixteen hours later, 1,955 likes, 1,005 shares, 50+ comments.

People all over the world sent in their photos and experiences of the eclipse. This is the real magic of having a massive social network (118K at this writing). It's not about meta data, monetizing, or ranks. It's about community. About feeling like you can reach out and talk face to face with the person in New Zealand who just posted their photo of the eclipse, or Brazil, or the one just a few towns over.

And despite the fact that I'd worked till 1 am the night before and was falling heavily asleep at 11pm, I pushed through, fired up my Canon camera, popped out the screen in my office window, and cranked the tripod at an angle it wasn't designed for.

The image you see posted here is one of the shots I managed to capture despite getting my hair caught in the bromelia next to my desk and despite not being hooked up to a telescope (there are some stunning images out there online).

For the next hour I watched in awe as the shadow of our planet spread across the great silver disk in the sky I'd watched since I was a little girl.

And then, there it hung in the sky, a darkened moon that would return to a brilliant orb in just a few more hours.

The Earth and the Moon don't send each other text messages. They communicate via sunlight and gravity.

Eclipses, equinoxes, meteors, comets, the Northern Lights. Celestial events somehow make me feel closer to Earth. They give you perspective. A benchmark. A reminder the world revolves around its own axis, not ours, and that it, too, is a part of a greater cosmic ecosystem. 

There is nothing cozier than the night, with you alone in it.