A Total Lunar Eclipse over India

This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

Last week, the world saw a total lunar eclipse – the last one to occur before April 2014. Total lunar eclipses happen as the moon moves behind the Earth and into its shadow, essentially blocking the sun from illuminating the moon. As this gorgeous composite photo shows, the eclipse is visible for several hours, with the full moon rising in crimson as it passes through the atmosphere: 

Lunar Eclipse over India

Photo by Chander Devgun.

According to NASA:

“The red tint of the eclipsed Moon was created by sunlight first passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, which preferentially scatters blue light (making the sky blue) but passes and refracts red light, before reflecting back off the Moon.”

Every lunar eclipse looks different because the tint and shading depend on the amount of clouds and volcanic dust in the earth’s atmosphere at the time of the eclipse. 

For more on this month’s eclipse, see:

- NASA’s lunar eclipse gallery

- The Big Picture’s photoessay on the total lunar eclipse.

- Wikipedia’s lunar eclipse entry; and

- Space Weather’s user-submitted gallery of total lunar eclipse photos.

I’ll round up the coverage on again in 2014 ;)


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Manhattanhenge is here!

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg

This is a picture I took during last year’s Manhattanhenge, a jaw-droppingly beautiful spectacle that occurs when the sun sets just so between buildings in Midtown Manhattan. This surreal photo op only happens twice a year, when the sunset actually aligns with New York’s precise street grid and sets the skyscrapers aglow with light. 

This photo was at the corner of 51st street and 6th avenue, but there are several other great spots to see the sunset, and according to Gothamist, this summer’s Manhattanhenge is today and tomorrow.

The Hayden Planetarium provides some background:

Unnoticed by many, the sunset point actually creeps day to day along the horizon: northward until the first day of summer, then returning southward until the first day of winter. In spite of what pop-culture tells you, the Sun rises due east and sets due west only twice per year. On the equinoxes: the first day of spring and of autumn. Every other day, the Sun rises and sets elsewhere on the horizon. Had Manhattan’s grid been perfectly aligned with the geographic north-south line, then the days of Manhattanhenge would coincide with the equinoxes. But Manhattan’s street grid is rotated 30 degrees east from geographic north, shifting the days of alignment elsewhere into the calendar.

If you’re in New York today and tomorrow, you can view Manhattanhenge on the wider, clear cross streets (the ones that cut a swath directly across the city): 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th streets are each a great pick, as well those directly adjacent (the photo above was at 56th, so one before or after usually works). Of course, having the Empire State Building or the Chrysler building in your photo will be particularly iconic and thus 34th and 42nd streets will be popular choices for tonight’s show.

For those wanting learn more, you can also check out this evening’s talk at the planetarium about the Manhattanhenge phenomenon. (h/t to Kevin)

Enjoy! If any Hipmunks manage to catch the show today or tomorrow, link to your photos in the comments and we’ll include them in a post later this month.


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An Astronaut’s View of the World

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg

The perfect video for midweek blues: see what the earth looks like from space (in 1080p!) . Narrated by NASA’s astronaut. Dr. Justin Wilkinson, the video takes you from the deserts of Namibia to Eastern Russia to the Amazon, all as viewed from the air.

Iss027-e-012224_lrg Bolivia from above.

Reminiscent of the incredible Earth from Above series from aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s five-year odyssey around the world, it’s a fantastic way to lose yourself in all the wonders that our planet has to offer.


Hipmunk may not be offering space flights in its flight searches anytime soon, but sign me up if they do! What a view….

(h/t @borntotrek for sending this my way)

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