What’s serious about eclipse?
I was, at first, elated that The Telegraph ran the Associated Press story on the upcoming Sunday eclipse of the moon on its front page. Every Sunday, I have to suffer through the weekly astrology column and must restrain myself from setting that page on fire. However, it seems to me The Telegraph should give science an equal space every Sunday. I was excited about the AP story until I saw how much print space was given to the “supermoon.” This term was coined by an astrologer — Richard Nolle — obviously, someone with way too much time on his hands and a talent for exaggerating the obvious.
The full moon this Sunday will be about 7 percent closer to Earth than it is on an average full moon. This makes the moon appear about 7 percent larger than an average moon. This is hardly something to write home about, much less appear on the front page of a newspaper. Unless one has calculating eyeballs, I doubt the average observer will be able to discern that this full moon appears any different from every other full moon they have experienced.
What is exciting about this Sunday’s full moon is that it is going to pass into the Earth’s shadow. If weather permits, this lunar eclipse is an opportunity to explore our Earth-moon system. No telescope is required, but a pair of binoculars will show details of the moon’s surface.
Thousands of years before the invention of the telescope, watching the Earth’s curved shadow pass across the face of the moon gave us our first proof that the Earth is round. The diameter of the dark umbral shadow of the Earth is, at the moon’s distance, close to the size of the Earth itself. Ancient observers noticed that this shadow is about 3.5 times larger than the moon. This shadow gave us our first estimate of the size of the moon compared to the Earth. Today, with the accuracy of precision mapping spacecraft, we know that the Earth is 3.67 times the size of the moon.
Then there is the eclipsed moon’s exquisite red color. For the same reason our atmosphere scatters blue light and turns the sun orange or red at sunset, the Earth’s dark shadow is not black. The red scattered sunlight is deflected into the Earth’s black shadow, creating a dim and often eerie blood red moon.
Here is a detailed description with timings of what to expect this Sunday night.
8:11:46 p.m. — Moon enters penumbra (outer light shadow). Slight darkening, hardly noticeable to most observers.
9:07:12 p.m. — Moon enters outer edge of umbra (inner dark shadow). Dark shadow begins to take a “bite” out of the moon.
10:11:11 p.m. — Moon completely in umbra. Moon should appear a dark umber in color.
10:47:09 p.m. — Mid-eclipse. Moon will be at its darkest and deepest red
11:23:07 p.m. — Moon begins to emerge from umbra.
12:27:06 a.m. — Moon completely out of umbra.
1:22:33 a.m. — Moon leaves penumbra. The eclipse is over.
For more information, visit Macon’s Mark Smith Planetarium at the Museum of Arts & Sciences.
— Philip Groce
Helping Planetariums Succeed, LLC
What about a stand-alone bill that takes taxpayer money away only from those Planned Parenthood centers that provide abortions? Planned Parenthood has always argued that its main focus is the massive number of women who are helped by its contraception and non-abortion services.
Before this administration started giving it taxpayer funds, Planned Parenthood thrived for decades as a favorite site for liberal donors and it can easily do so again.
Abortion debate aside, it is illegal to use taxpayer money to provide abortions under the Hyde Amendment, period. This proposal would leave all the non-abortion services of Planned Parenthood in place, keep abortion services privately funded and take the Planned Parenthood issue out of the congressional budget/government shutdown debate.
What am I missing here?
— Rinda Wilson
Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since President Nixon, and yes, federal money cannot be used for abortions.
Father and son
Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, was a successful real estate developer and self-made millionaire. Donald, on the other hand, is merely self-made.
— Neal Snyder
A couple of us at breakfast got to wondering how Saint Peter may have greeted Yogi Berra when he got to heaven. I think the best answer was, “Welcome Yogi, relax. It’s finally over.”
— John Brogden
The best choice
It’s high time for some ethical representation on the Centerville City Council. Vote for Ed Armijo for City Council Post 4 on Nov. 3. A vote for Armijo is a vote for a man who will properly represent the people of Centerville, one who will make sure our voices are heard. Armijo retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2000 and has a proven record of outstanding community service for the past 15 years. He is a man of integrity who will set a standard of ethics not seen before by our city officials. He understands that respect and trust must be earned, not by virtue of his position, but as a result of his example.
Centerville’s City Council has a record of unethical votes for travel benefits for their wives; Councilman Cameron Andrews wants to take away the elderly tax exemption. Requests to enforce ordinances have fallen on deaf ears, while they bought property and expensive vehicles. Now they want to increase taxes.
The mayor voted for the creation of a new police department position at the suggestion of Jon Nichols who voted for his unqualified friend to lead the PD. Because of their machinations, the police department is in shambles.
Armijo will curb spending and will ensure that all decisions will be for the good of the residents of Centerville. He aims to enforce existing ordinances and bring back the board of ethics. A vote for Ed Armijo will bring back integrity to our city government.
— Geraldine Parker
A few conditions
This is in response to a column by Bill Shanks in The Telegraph. I have to say that I agree with his comments 100 percent. I am a true Braves fan though I have never attended a live game. I could not deal with the crowds but I watch all the games on TV.
As to the possibility of building a new baseball field in Macon I agree that a field on the eastside, would in all likelihood, not be wise. I also feel that for it to be successful at all, it would need to be a Braves farm team and not another major league team’s farm club. I am partial to and supportive of the Braves organization. Bill, thank you for your columns.
— Betty Barlow
A few concerns
I attended the presentation Wednesday of the preliminary architectural designs for the new senior citizens center. I left with several concerns. One being how can we have more space when we are moving from a 14,952-square-foot building to one that is 11,000-square-feet? Another one is why did they have another presentation at North Macon Park? There is only one senior center in Bibb County.
I’m looking forward to having a new center that is inclusive of all seniors.
— Juliette Robinson