When, when moving around the Earth, the Moon falls into the cone of the earth’s shadow, which is cast by the globe illuminated by the Sun, a total lunar eclipse occurs. If only a part of the Moon plunges into the shadow of the Earth, then a partial eclipse occurs. A total lunar eclipse can last about 1.5 to 2 hours. It can be observed from all over the night hemisphere of the Earth, where the moon is above the horizon at the time of the eclipse. Therefore, in any area, full lunar eclipses can be observed much more often than solar ones.
During a total lunar eclipse of the moon, the lunar disk remains visible, but it usually acquires a dark red hue. This phenomenon is explained by the refraction of sunlight in the earth’s atmosphere. Passing through the earth’s atmosphere, the sun’s rays are scattered and refracted. Moreover, mainly short-wave radiation is scattered, and the long-wave is refracted. Refracting in the Earth’s atmosphere, the long-wave solar radiation enters the cone of the earth’s shadow and illuminates the Moon. The moon enters the shadow with the left edge facing east, because the moon moves in an orbit counterclockwise.
It is easy to realize that a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is in the full moon. However, far from every full moon, lunar eclipses occur. Most often in a year there are two lunar eclipses. In 1982 there were three full lunar eclipses (this is the maximum possible number of eclipses per year).
To assess the brightness and color of the eclipses, A. Danjon proposed a scale that is used by observers (see table). In each individual case, the coloring of the darkened disk of the Moon may have its own characteristics, depending on the state of the earth’s atmosphere, in which the sun’s rays illuminating the lunar surface are refracted.
Different feelings cause a lunar eclipse. You can admire the copper-red disk of the Moon, the bluish rim along the edge of the shadow, rejoicing at the light and bright eclipse that has now appeared. In the old days, a dark-boggy, bloody lunar “eclipse” scarecrow. Not to mention those cases when the Moon, to the surprise and dismay of eyewitnesses, generally disappeared from the sky! And suddenly forever ?!
The ancient inhabitants of South America, the Incas thought that the moon was red from the disease and if she dies, then, perhaps, will fall from the sky and fall. Knowing that the Moon is a great friend of dogs, the Incas dragged the dogs by the ears, calling out: “Mother Moon, mother Moon!” Poor Moon, having heard squeals and supplications, gathered all its forces to defeat the disease and to resurrect with the same brightness.
It seemed to the Normans that the red wolf Mangarm again became bolder and attacked the Moon. The brave warriors, of course, understood that they could not harm the heavenly predator, but, knowing that the wolves could not stand the noise, they shouted, whistled, and beat the drums. The noise attack lasted 2-3 hours without a break.
And in Central Asia, the eclipse passed in complete silence. People stared blankly at how the evil spirit of Rahu swallows the moon. No one was noisy or waved. It is known that the good spirit of Ochervani once cut off the demon of the half-torso and the Moon, passing through Rahu, as through a sleeve, will light up again.
In Russia, it was always believed that an eclipse portends trouble: “A month will perish and be blood.” And the chronicler recalls how the wise old people shook their heads and said: “It is not good that there is such an eclipse.”
Another side of the moon.
The moon is always facing the earth on one side. The desire to know the secrets of the other half of the moon has been hatched for a very long time; This was caused not by simple curiosity, but by the need to determine the structure of the lunar surface and the moon.
And on October 7, 1959, the reverse side of the moon was photographed. It was received from the Automatic Interplanetary Station.
A general acquaintance with photographs of the far side of the Moon showed that its formations in general do not differ so much in nature and structure from the formations located on the visible side of the Moon. The main difference is that it contains few seas, i.e., dark depressions. Two dark formations are especially noticeable: the Sea of Moscow and the Sea of Dreams. The most prominent craters were named after famous scientists: Jules Verne, Tsiolkovsky, Lomonosov, Joliot Curie.
The age of the moon.
By studying the radioactive substances contained in the lunar rocks, scientists were able to calculate the age of the moon. For example, uranium is slowly turning into lead. In a piece of uranium-238, half of the atoms are converted into lead atoms in 4.5 billion years. Thus, by measuring the proportion of uranium and lead contained in the rock, we can calculate its age: the more lead, the older it is. Stones on the moon became hard about 4.4 billion years ago. The moon formed, apparently, shortly before; its most probable age is about 4.65 billion years. This is consistent with the age of meteorites, as well as with estimates of the age of the Sun.