Below is video of the lunar eclipse from the solar telescope array within the National Solar Observatory’s 35,000-foot high Hatfield telescope array, located at the NSSL’s Tarpon Springs facility in Florida. [Click here for a Tarpon Springs location map and here for a viewing guide.]
The Moon appeared about 90 percent dark on Friday, July 6, 1991, as it made a close approach to Earth while traveling from the planet’s south pole.
In black-and-white footage of the eclipse, the Moon blocks nearly 30 percent of the Sun’s light. In pictures of the event, only the Sun and Moon appear eclipsed.
“It was a moment of silence in which we thought this was the first time that the Moon would meet the Sun,” said National Solar Observatory staff scientist Bob DeYoung of the eclipse’s historical significance. “It was really a big moment.”
The Moon rose above the vast open sky above Tarpon Springs, and shining brightly was not the signal sun, but the dazzling Griffith Observatory and the desert surrounding, DeYoung said.
The Moon will rise before the evening twilight in sun-darkening Crescent, Wis., on July 6, 1991. From there, it will move east and will hit the at 93 degrees over the western horizon at approximately 9:19 p.m. CDT. (Photo: AP)
DeYoung and colleagues used the Hatfield telescope to see the eclipse. The array sits on the side of the telescope tower and is solar-powered with an array of 36 mirrors.
The track of the eclipse went from North Carolina westward in the North Carolina sky and then into Idaho.
“As far as we could tell, it looked like the Earth was (filling) in the shadow of the Moon in the direction of Hawaii, which, in fact, is also the longest eclipse period of the 21st century,” DeYoung said.
For those tuning in from Hawaii, with only 40 seconds of total eclipse, it became a super blood wolf moon.
The only noteworthy glitch in the Hatfield array was a small crack along one of the crystalline mirrors, which led to a sooty tinge in the eclipse images, DeYoung said. The crack has since been repaired.
DeYoung got to see the eclipse as a boy. He remembers well the first lunar eclipse he ever saw, as an 11-year-old in Pico Rivera, Calif.
“The last time there was a big lunar eclipse, the ring was just like a torch,” he said. “The moon was going through this rings. You could see the rings because it was darkening everything. It was unbelievable.”
Now, DeYoung will experience the same experience.