Way back in the day there weren't so many astronomers hanging out to walk us civilians through a total lunar eclipse. Instead, there were a lot of freaked out people who thought the moon was disappearing and, perhaps, they were all going to die.
Luckily when you head outside tonight (9:30 p.m. Pacific/12:30 a.m. EST), you won't fear for your life, but will behold the beauty of this total lunar eclipse that also happens to be occurring at the same time of the winter solstice.
Behold the magic, and be grateful your fellow villagers don't think this is what's happening instead:
- In Japan, people were afraid of a moon disease during an eclipse. In fact, according to Space.com, some Japanese people still cover their wells during a lunar eclipse so as not to be poisoned by the "disease."
- The Chinese word for eclipse is "chih," which means "to eat." Not surprisingly, ancient Chinese civilizations believed a dragon was eating the moon. Naturally they fired canons at the moon to kill that hungry dragon. Imagine their surprise when the moon came back, intact.
- Natives of Arctic regions are said to turn over their utensils during a lunar eclipse. To what effect is unclear.
- Some people believe Stonehenge predicts lunar eclipses. Still no word on the hulking giants who built the ancient sculpture garden.
- Some people still bang pots and yell at the lunar eclipse. While Space.com calls this a "cultural" action, I'm thinking it might be more in line with certain Greek cultures, at certain American universities, fueled by a certain malt beverage.
Does the lunar eclipse scare you?
Image via SqueakyMarmot/Flickr