With Americans using 30 billion bulbs to decorate their homes during the holidays, December is certainly the season of lights. With the simple flick of a switch, shimmering lights transform many communities into dazzling light shows. *
But this blog post is about a very different kind of light show. On December 21 an awesome display of natural light appeared in the night sky. On the winter solstice, the official start of winter, a magnificent lunar eclipse occurred. Not one to miss unusual celestial events, I got up out of my warm bed at 3 am, donned my bathrobe and slippers, grabbed my binoculars, and stepped outside. Believe it or not, I hardly noticed the crispy 18 degree air because I was immediately captivated by what I saw peeking through the wispy clouds. High above me reigned “bella luna.” The alignment of earth and moon was just right that night for a total lunar eclipse. What was happening? The earth’s shadow was gradually swallowing up the beautiful full moon. But wait, moonlight soon reappeared on the other side, and that brilliant round ball slowly re-emerged from the shadow.