Stargazers Club WA @ Aggie’s Cottage, Dandaragan

What a marvellous night for a Moon dance it was! With the lake in the background, balmy breeze, historic Aggie’s Cottage, BBQ sizzling, impromptu cricket on the lawn, friends catching up and a bit of discover on why it was called a Super Blue Blood Moon.

“Galaxy Girl” travelled up with telescopes to historic Aggie’s Cottage homestead near the town of Dandaragan, about a two hour drive north of Perth. Approximately 80 locals and visitors enjoyed the spectacle of the Super Blue Blood Moon from the cottage lawns. Aggie’s Cottage is a heritage building used by the Dandaragan community for events and socialising.

Stargazers Club WA extends a big thank you to the event coordinators at the Dandaragan Community Resource Centre and the Wolba Wolba Committee volunteers for making Aggie’s Cottage available for the special event.

The event was generously supported and sponsored by Tronox and Dandaragan Veterinary Services.

I was joined by Donna Vanzetti, who used to run the Observatory at Gingin with me. Donna brought two of her telescopes for visitors to look through and a couple of visitors brought their own telescopes to share too! There were plenty of Moon gazing opportunities!

The evening kicked off just before sunset with a BBQ and impromptu cricket game on the back lawn. The wind died down, it was a balmy evening and picnic rugs were spread out with local families, friends and visitors catching up before the main event began.

As the Moon rose in the east, visitors gathered together to see a presentation on the Super Blue Blood Moon to understand exactly what each term described and what astronomical events were starting to happen.

Super Moon is the popular term used when a full Moon coincides with “perigee” which is the astronomical term for when the Moon is at its closest distance to Earth during the month.

Blue Moon refers to the second full Moon that occurs in a calendar month.

Blood Moon is a popular term used for a total lunar eclipse because the Moon turns a dull reddish brown colour during this type of astronomical event.

These terms are explained in more detail in the Super Blue Blood Moon 2018 post.

The Total Lunar Eclipse

As predicted, at 7.48pm, the Sun, Earth and Moon started to line up perfectly in space to cause an eclipse. With the Sun and Moon on either side of our planet, it was Earth’s shadow that was cast across the lunar surface. This caused the Moon to slowly disappear into semi darkness.

Total eclipse was reached at 8.51pm and the Moon turned a beautiful red colour. As the Sun’s light entered the Earth’s atmosphere, blue and green light was scattered away. It was the orange and red light that was refracted through the earth’s atmosphere that caused the Moon to look a beautiful red colour.

Then the Milky Way Came Out!

For the hour and 20 minutes when the Moon was under total eclipse, the Milky Way was at its brilliant best. With the Moon under Earth’s shadow, everyone at Aggie’s Cottage was able to see the billions of stars that make up our home Galaxy. Through the telescopes we saw Orion’s Nebula, the globular cluster of stars called 47 Tucanae, the Jewel Box cluster and more. Without the brightness of the Moon, these objects looked stunning.

The total eclipse finished at 10.08pm and the Moon began to emerge from the shadow of our planet Earth. The Milky Way was once again washed out my the bright sunlight reflected off the Moon. It was very interesting to see the change that occurred across the whole sky.

The die-hard fans stayed late until after 11pm to see the end of the partial eclipse and the Moon resume its full brightness. What a beautiful night it was!

Members from Stargazers Club WA members were also out and about for the spectacular Total Lunar Eclipse.

Space UWA @ Matilda Bay Foreshore

Members, Matt and Sue, kindly took their telescope along to join three other telescopes from the University of WA’s astronomy club, Space UWA, for an event at Matilda Bay in Crawley.

Sue and Matt said they had an amazing night with a great view of the Moon rising over the river. Queues to look though telescopes were 10 deep the whole night and busy up until about 10pm. Visitors were really keen to take photos of the Moon using their smart phones! Here are some pictures from Matt.

Matt rescued an old telescope and has brought it back to life over the past year or so. He came along to a BYO Telescope Class and we were able to help sort out a few issues with it. It’s a great telescope and the nice large mirror gives Matt great views of the Moon, planets and much more. Congratulations Matt! It’s been wonderful to see your progress since you first joined Stargazers Club WA!