“… See how nature – trees,
flowers, grass – grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
~ Mother Teresa
The sound is like none other. Closing my eyes again, my thoughts drifted to the sound of pines and aspens when the wind blows across the mountains of the eastern Sierras. Interesting expression, “It was so quiet, you could hear the wind blow.” Either it makes perfect sense or no sense at all.
The most noticeable weather change was the heat. Temperatures rapidly climbed, reaching beyond 90 degrees Monday and continued warm into the week. Less remarkable, but only in regards to our personal comfort, was the sky. Being strikingly clear and Crescenta Valley-blue (new Crayola color?), the foothills were postcard worthy. With a little luck and help from Mother Nature, these conditions will remain into next week as Tuesday evening – April 15 – a show of celestial magnitude unfolds. At this time the “heavens and earth” will perform in complete silence “A Total Lunar Eclipse.” Remember last week I promised an “out of this world” event.
Just the mention of April 15 in the U.S. evokes anxiety. Tax Day: dreaded by many, the date to file taxes. Extensions, tears, money, deadline, relief, penalty, deductions – all adjectives to describe one single day. But this year, Tax Day begins with a little “cosmic relief.” The good news is every American is entitled to it, no matter your tax bracket or any other factor. After sunset on April14, in the eastern sky a full moon will be rising. The fun is just beginning. Grab the family, dinner and a jacket; it will be a late night as evening slowly passes midnight into the early morning hours.
Viewing an eclipse is mostly dependent on the weather. Thus far, conditions are prime with clear skies and mild temperatures predicted. Around 10 p.m. on April 14, the moon begins to slip into the Earth’s shadow. Astrophysicists say it will be a breathtaking event as the moon transforms from a silvery white to a coppery red and back again.
With amazement, I predict the following: The moon will take on a reddish cast because some sunlight gets through the Earth’s atmosphere and that light still hits the moon. The parts of the atmosphere the light filters through are along the Earth’s terminator, a line between day and night. At this location, sunrise and sunset are being experienced. Simplified, we’re basically seeing the light from sunrises and sunsets all over the world hitting the moon.
Eclipse times on April 14 are 10:59 p.m. when a partial eclipse begins then on April 15 at 12:08 a.m., a total eclipse begins. At 12:46 a.m. – totality. Finally at 3:36 a.m., and several stages later, the eclipse is entirely over.
The weather rather pales in comparison. Friday an onshore flow brings cooler temperatures and a slight chance of drizzle. By the time an umbrella is found, warm weather returns. Come Tuesday, cooler. After all, spring is a time of transformation.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta
Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at