Monday, September 28, 2015

Lunar Eclipse from Ireland: 28 Sept 2015

It's me again. Out with my camera. This time, in the wee hours of the morning...or late at night, depending on your perspective. I set my clock for 2:50am, so you decide which end of the day it is ;-)

I'll just say here I'm really bummed because the time reported on said the eclipse was to start was 3:11am! I thought I was early. They meant to report 2:11am!

According to those in the know, the last lunar eclipse was on 20 Dec 2010. It was earlier in the evening and we did have partial clearing to view it, but of course, I had a basic digital camera and the images didn't come out well, so I'm not sharing them here ;-)

The previous lunar eclipse I remember was on 16 Sept 1997. It was my first trip to Ireland, I was here for six months and heading toward my last month here before going home to California. I remember listening to the birds awaken in the full moon's glow, then quieting during the eclipse, then rousing again when the moon came out again.

Similarly last night, standing in the back garden with my camera on a tripod and me snapping a few photos as Earth's shadow passing over the moon, I heard gulls down in the dunes behind our house, rousing in the early morning light of the full moon, then settling as the moon was in full eclipse, then rousing again when the moon brightened the sky...and sunrise shortly after 6am when the eclipse was all said and done.

So, what's with full moons and eclipses? We had 12 to 13 full moons per year, but we don't always have full eclipses. We do have some interesting names for full moons though:

Harvest Moon
Huntsman's or Hunter's Moons
Blue Moon
Milk Moon
Wolf's Moon
Snow Moon
Hunger Moon
Long Night's Moon
Cold Moon

And dozens of others. Including Super Moon and Blood Moon, and of course, the Super Blood Moon.

A super moon is when the full moon appears closer than normal.

The term blood moon is recent reference. No one knows who first coined the term or the meaning. Some think it's religious, and some think it's simply due to the red color the moon turns after the first cycle of the eclipse when the moon is in full shadow.

And when you have a full moon eclipse that happens during the super moon cycle, and the moon turns a deep red color, it becomes a super blood moons. The last super moon eclipse was in 1982 but, to my knowledge, the moon didn't turn red. And if it did, the term blood moon hadn't been used then.

How rare is a supermoon total lunar eclipse?

Total lunar eclipses that coincide with a supermoon are quite rare. Since 1900, there have been just five — on 17 November 1910, 27 November 1928, 8 December 1946, 19 December 1964 and 30 December 1982 (all dates UT). If you get clouded out for this month’s totally eclipsed supermoon, then you will have to wait until 8 October 2033 for the next!

For those of you who follow astronomy, you might be interested in some information about the full moon  tetrad...a set of four total lunar eclipses within two years.

And for those who follow religious prophesy, this blood moon was the fourth in the Biblical predicted End Times, aka End of Days, or the Blood Moon Prophesy. You can read up here about that!

You can decide for yourself what this means, but for me, this was just a super cool phenomenon. This is why I set my alarm for 2:50am. And now I'm happy to share some of the better shots.

I'm not a brilliant photographer; I still have yet to really get into the workings of my 'new' Canon Powershot SX60 HR. But as you've seen in previous photos, I've taken some decent shots of the moon with this camera, and with last night's eclipse, I couldn't pass up the opportunity for more interesting shots.  I hope you enjoy them.

Full moon - 27 Sept 2015
hours before the eclipse

As above, national media got the time wrong,
so I didn't capture the start of the cycle. This is
around 3:15am, just before full eclipse.

Turning red

Turning red

Blood Moon

Blood Moon

Coming out of eclipse

Coming out of eclipse

6am and back to the full moon
Take note of the first full moon picture and this one.
The aspect has shifted clockwise by 35 degrees!


Here's the 'Money Shot'
Discovering this photo was the cherry on the sundae.
I captured the silhouette of a jumbo jet just as it was
passing the moon. I wonder if the passengers saw
the eclipse from their seats.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Laytown Horse Races September 10, 2015

Tara Brooch, c 1850
We've lived in Mornington for two years this month. This is a unique area, and the hubs and I both agree one of the most pleasant places we've lived in Ireland in the last 18 years since I came here.

There are three small communities along a three mile stretch of coastline: Laytown, Bettystown, and Mornington. While Mornington is not actually a village but a residential community, it occupies a wonderful position at the entrance to the River Boyne at the Irish Sea . . . water on two sides of us.

Laytown is two villages south, with Bettystown in the center. Bettystown would be the larger village with a recent history as a resort community...we even have carnival rides year round!

Laytown is a smaller community which borders the River Nanny at the opposite end of the strand. It has a lot of history, including being the place where the famous Tara Brooch was discovered in 1850 by a local woman, while digging in the sand for clams.

Laytown is also home to the famous Laytown Strand  Races, which is what I'm talking about today.

The Laytown Races, as it's locally known, was founded in 1867 with the first recorded race in 1868, which was held in conjunction with the Drogheda Regatta. It's said rowing took place at high tide with a horse race at low tide.

Today, the Laytown Strand Race is the only beach horse race sanctioned by the Turf Club in Ireland and Britain. So it's no surprise a lot of British come over on the ferry on a day trip.

The Laytown Races are held one day every year, on the second Thursday of September. Thousands of people come out for the event, the local schools are closed, and people show up in their finest. Well, some do. As typical of horse racing, ladies often dress for the occasion, which includes a big, fancy hat. There were some interesting characters, for sure, from the fancy dressed ladies to men in cravats and straw hats. One man in velvet trousers and a glorious long, white beard.

The main attraction were the horses, of course.

Below are some photos from the first three races. There were six races in all, but we only stayed for the first three. Sick dog at home so couldn't be out too long. But it was a fun time, and high time we went, considering we've been here two years now and missed the last two.

A quick note or two: I used my Canon Powershot SX60HS to take these photos. The staring gates were a mile up the beach, and in the fog. This camera normally takes great distance photos but with the low fog, we'll call these atmospheric!

I hope you enjoy the photos. Maybe it will inspire you to attend The Laytown Strand Races in 2016!

Approx. 1 mile, from near Bettystown to Laytown
When the tide is in, it comes up near the chainlink.
Bettystown Strand, north
3 mile flat, sandy tidal beach

Bettystown Strand, south
3 miles of flat, sandy tidal beach

Finding a good viewing spot on the embankment

Everyone, place your bets!

Gotta move faster than that, lad, if you want to catch up!

Cycling on the beach. Sure, why not?!

Cycling on the beach. Who'da thought?!

The finish line
Fast On
Mane braiding

Red All Star
heading to the gates

Race 1 - In the gates
Foggy afternoon

Race 1
And they're off!

Race 1
Nearing the finish

Race 1
1st - Putin
2nd - Kiss the Stars
3rd - Shabra Emperor

Race 2
And they're off!
Race two
1 - Acroleina
2 - Enigma Code
3 - Clear Focus

This young lad is clearly happy to see the horse
Race 2 - Virile
Finished well back

Race 3
Heading to the gates
Mistress Marinrio

Race 3
Heading to the gates
#2 - Captain Midnight
#6 - Prospectorous

Race 3
Heading to the gates

Race 3
Heading to the gates
Rigid Rock

Race 3
Heading to the gates

Race three

Nearing the finish

Race 3
1 - Bussa
2 - Tithonus
3 - Mistress Marinrio

The calm before the next race