The Man in the Moon and the Skunk in the Trailer Park

One thing I have to say about lunar eclipses is that I like them better in the early evening than late at night.

Three years ago an eclipse came way past bed time. I got our oldest up to see it but her reaction sounded something like “ghermst hawpsdt kkelwost jeislwowks, daddy (yawn)”.  I still don’t know if she was impressed or not and I know she doesn’t remember it.

This time we had the entire family taking shifts running outside and checking the status of the moon. Eventually I dragged out my big camera and zoom lens and spent a lot of time hugging a light pole (shut up) to get something resembling clear photos.

Back in the mid-70s, when I lived in Colorado, one of the coolest things we did was stay up late to see a lunar eclipse. I had a smallish telescope that was reasonably useful but mostly I remember it being a clear Colorado night. Being at 6,336 feet helps a lot with astronomy because the air is thinner. Living in a rural area helps, too, because there are few lights.

The best part was, once the moon started to go dark and bloody, I got my first good look at the Milky Way. I still remember being impressed by it. In fact, I wouldn’t see anything like it until I was in Albania. (Third world city, few lights.)

I remember staying up to see another eclipse, but what I don’t remember was which viewing had the skunk. Everyone was keeping a safe distance and although I saw it move behind someone’s trailer, I wasn’t having the “man that stinks” reaction everyone else was having. That was the first time I realized that I wasn’t smelling things quite the same way as everyone else. A few years later, I’d realize I couldn’t smell at all.

The next total lunar eclipse in Tokyo is in January/February 2018 with another coming at the end of July. If we’re still here, it’s a date.

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