Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lunar Eclipse from Las Croabas

We arrived in a two car caravan at about six and went to see the Lunar Eclipse from a sea side venue: the public parking lot in front of the ocean in Las Croabas. Looking up the hill you can see the lit up windows of the five star resort, El Conquistador Hotel. Straight ahead of us was the breathtaking Las Croabas bay, covered with a thin row of mangrove trees and some multicolored fishing boats and yellow kayaks gently rolling on the waves. Waves that became stronger and stronger as the night wore on and the breeze cooled us. Behind us, was a line of seaside restaurants and snack shops featuring pastellilos de chapin, alcapurrias, arepas and refreshing beer and cold drinks. Though the moon was not yet visible on the skyline, getting some of these Puerto Rican seafood favorites were, so as we walked, I asked Elizabeth, Michelle's astronomy friend, when would the eclipse begin, and she answered, " Ya esta en proceso." Oh darn, I thought, we are missing it! It took me a while to understand that even though I couldn't see it, the process had already begun. The sunlight which by now was quickly fading, did not allow us to see part of the process. By the time our orders were ready and we started back to the parking lot, we finally spotted la luna, a light orange moon peeking through a cloud high in the sky. It was already covered with the earth's shadow. It would be several hours later when we would see the moon brighten up from under this cloak.

I managed to take some pictures with Victor's help through his telescope lense. The truth is he took the good ones. The pictures show the light starting to come off from the top, when in reality it is from the bottom. (His telescope inverts the image, as it magnifies it. The picture wasn't easy to take. If you have used a powerful telescope, you know you are trying to freeze an object which is constantly moving, rotating, and circulating. Just when you think you have it, bam it moves out of the focused area as it travels across the galaxy. Wow I marvel at the thought. Most of life has to do with that, doesn't it? We are trying to capture a moment in time, and make it something wonderful and perfect and much of the time it is the process and the relationships that really matter most. But in any case the excuse to watch the Lunar Eclipse was a wonderful one to join with friends and family, to enjoy each others company, to celebrate a friend's birthday, and the wonder of God's universe. That we heard some loud raggeaton ( no offense to those who love raggeaton), put up with a street vendor's lights, and a couple of other idiosyncracies, was nothing. Hey, we weren't in El Conquistador paying 500 dollars a night. We were just down in front of the ocean, listening to some merengue while watching the waves roll in and the glistening moon do a striptease, as someone said. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night?



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