Eclipse (gesshoku)

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Blood Moon

© PHOTO Gerard Lynch

Total Eclipse of the Moon, 3rd March 2007

Thank you, Gerard, for sharing your photo with us !


From The Times March 03, 2007

Total eclipse will turn Moon red
Lewis Smith

Millions of people have the chance to see the most spectacular lunar eclipse in years tonight when the Moon will turn bright orange or red.

Lunar eclipses are when the Earth's shadow from the Sun falls directly on the Moon and a change in the weather forecast means it is likely to be visible almost everywhere in the country.

The colour of the Moon will change from silvery white to coppery red or orange as light is deflected by the Earth's atmosphere and bounces back off the "blood moon".

In ancient times blood moons were seen as omens of great change or disaster and were regarded with dread.

As the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon light scattering through the atmosphere is reduced to predominantly red wavelengths, which reflect off the lunar surface.

Astronomers are confident that even with the naked eye stargazers will be treated to dramatic views of the eclipse, which will be at its height from 10.24pm to 11.58pm.

"With the Moon's colour during totality ranging from dark coppery-brown to bright orange, it can be a most beautiful sight," Ian Morison, of the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory, said. He said that the Moon would be invisible if it were not for the Earth's atmosphere, which refracts and bends light from the Sun to illuminate the planet's satellite.

"We can expect an impressive sight," he said. "As blue light is scattered by the atmosphere more than red light, which is why our skies are blue, the light that remains is predominately red and orange, the colour of the Sun when close to the horizon.

If there were astronauts on the surface of the Moon looking towards the Earth during a total lunar eclipse they would see a black disc surrounded by a bright red ring. It is the light from this ring that we see reflected by the Moon's surface."

It will be the best lunar eclipse over Britain since at least January 2001. The last one took place three years ago but few people were able to see it. Rain is expected to clear during today in time for a partial eclipse to begin at 8.16pm. The Moon will be completely in shadow by 10.44pm and the eclipse will be over at 2.25am.

Its brightness will depend on dust levels in the atmosphere.

The blood moon will be dimmer than full moons, let alone the Sun, so protective glasses are unnecessary. Astronomers said binoculars can be used to get a better view.

Total eclipses can occur only during full moons, which take place every 29.5days. The eclipses are prevented from being a monthly event because the Moon's orbit is inclined at 5 degrees to the Earth's orbit around the Sun.
The Earth's shadow usually passes above or below the Moon.

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Fudō Myō-ō 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
- Acala Vidyârâja - Vidyaraja

Who is he? - Introduction


. WKD : Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 .

hito kazu wa tsuki yori saki e kake ni keri

before the moon does --
the crowd of people

This haiku refers to the harvest moon eclipse of 1819.
Two versions of the opening phrase appear in Issa zenshu^: hito kazu wa ("the number of people") and "hito-gao wa" ("people's faces"). The first is supposed to be taken from Issa's poetic journal, Hachiban nikki ("Eighth Diary"), but in fact I can find only the second version hito-gao ("people's faces") in Hachiban nikki-- written in Eighth Month, 1819.
I don't know where the editors of Issa zenshu^ found the first version. In any case, the meaning is the same: impatient would-be eclipse viewers are leaving before the eclipse is complete
(Nagano: Shinano Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1976-79, 1.462; 4.69).
Tr. David Lanoue


yo wa kou to tsuki mo wazurai tamaikeri

people claim
even the moon
has a terrible disease

Tr. Chris Drake

This mildly satirical hokku was written at the time of the full moon in the 7th month (August) in 1819, a month before the eclipse of the harvest moon in the 8th month. People ("the world") know there will be a total eclipse of the harvest moon a month later, and many seem to believe that the 7th-month full moon may be the last "healthy" full moon they'll see. Apocalyptic rumors based on old beliefs about eclipses are going around. They claim the moon has a serious disease and will soon be in grave danger during the eclipse of the 8th-month harvest moon, and many people in Issa's hometown and around Japan give in to fear and panic.

Their anxiety is probably at least partly a reflection of the general unrest in Japan due to epidemics, poverty, starvation in some areas, uprisings by farmers, and the corruption and predatory nature of the samurai ruling class, which will be overthrown less than fifty years after this eclipse. To Issa, who knows what an eclipse is, the fear-mongering seems absurd and sad, though he seems to understand why people fall prey to superstition so easily amid the many sicknesses afflicting the society they live in.

Chris Drake

hitokazu wa tsuki yori saki e kakenikeri

people vanish
more rapidly
than the moon

Tr. Chris Drake
from Year of My Life

hitogao wa tsuki yori saki e kakenikeri

hitogao - human faces
from Issa's Eighth Dairy,

hito no yo wa tsuki mo nayamase-tamaikeri

to many people
the moon is in
great pain

Tr. Chris Drake

These two hokku about an eclipse of the harvest moon on 8/15 (Oct. 3) in 1819 are found in Year of My Life (Oraga haru), Issa's haibun and haikai record of that year. The first hokku also has a slightly different version (1a) in Issa's diary for the 8th month of 1819. The second hokku is a reworking of a hokku Issa wrote a month earlier, on 7/15 (see previous post). Issa viewed the eclipse while he was at Joukyouji (Joko-Ji), a Pure Land Buddhist temple not far from his hometown.

In Year of My Life Issa explains that the eclipse of the harvest moon began at around 10 p.m. The moon became completely dark at midnight and finally left the earth's shadow at about 2 a.m. Since it took two hours for the year's brightest moon to grow completely dark, it's not surprising many watchers went home before midnight. It was rare for most farmers and working people in Issa's time to stay up until midnight, and, in addition, many people were no doubt disappointed at not being able to see the harvest moon. Others seem to have left because they didn't want to see the moon suffer. I don't think Issa is blaming anyone for going home during the eclipse, though the second hokku seems to be gently satirizing those who left because they believe the old superstition that considers an eclipse to be an indication of the moon's "sickness."

The word hitokazu, "number of people," also means "normal people; people who 'count,'" but Issa does not seem to be using the word in this hierarchical meaning. If he were, it would mean that "normal" people disappeared the most rapidly during the eclipse, leaving only "no account" people like Issa to watch it! It's a fun thought if taken ironically, but I don't hear this in the hokku.

Chris Drake


all these clouds !
is the moon really
invisible tonight ?

Gabi Greve, March 2007


partial eclipse --
the Earth’s shadow
becomes visible

the full moon
eclipsed, not deflated --
and clearly a ball

orange moon
in a starry sky --
total eclipse

a neighbour snores --
someone is not watching
the lunar eclipse

lunar eclipse --
well-worn track to the
warming fire

Isabelle Prondzynski, March 2007

Related words

***** .. The HAIKU MOON and its LINKS ..




Gabi Greve said...

orchid show
an eclipsed moon
follows me home

worm moon
the perfect end
to a perfect day

paula, WHCworkshop


Anonymous said...

lunar eclipse -
on the roof
nobody but i


Anonymous said...

"March 3, 6:17 p.m. EST -

The Full Worm Moon.

In this month the ground softens and the earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night.

The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. A total lunar eclipse will take place on this night; the Moon will appear to rise will totally immersed (or nearly so) in the Earth's shadow over the eastern United States.

The rising Moon will be emerging from the shadow over the central United States, while over the Western U.S. the eclipse will be all but over by the time the Moon rises."

(Joe Rao - >space.com)
"Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York."


Gerald (Ackworth born) said...

I've posted my own pics of the eclipse and a haiga at

Gabi Greve said...

Stars and Night Sky / Kenya

Anonymous said...

... denn nicht anders, als wie der letzte Funke eines erlöschenden Dochtes, schmolz eben auch der letzte Sonnenfunken weg, wahrscheinlich durch die Schlucht zwischen zwey Mondbergen zurück -

es war ein ordentlich trauriger Augenblick - deckend stand nun Scheibe auf Scheibe - und d i e s e r Moment war es eigentlich, der wahrhaft herzzermalmend wirkte - das hatte keiner geahnet - ein einstimmiges „Ah“ aus aller Munde, und dann Todtenstille, es war der Moment, da Gott redete, und die Menschen horchten.

Adalbert Stifter

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

On the night of the harvest moon I stayed at the Nashimoto residence in the town of Takaino --

at home she, too
gazes alone at
this moon

furusato no rusu-i mo hitori tsukimi kana

A total eclipse of the moon began after ten, reached its full extent at around midnight, and finished at around two in the morning --

disappear faster
than the moon

hitokazu wa tsuki yori saki e kakenikeri
Read the comment by Chris Drake