Lunar Eclipse on a Perfect Winter Morning #lunar #moon #eclipse #sky

Total lunar eclipse - Kate Rauner

Lunar eclipse from New Mexico 31JAN2018 – moon looks much more orange in picture than it did to my eye

Perfect morning for the lunar eclipse. I could stand at my kitchen sink and watch the moon through a window, then step out on my deck for a view of the whole sky. The morning was clear and calm. As moonlight dimmed, the stars grew brilliant. Then, just at totality, the rising dawn began washing them out again.

I live in the mountains of New Mexico, so once the usual morning breeze kicked up, I hopped back and forth – outside for a better view of the moon’s coppery blush, inside to warm up. Lunar eclipses last long enough for leisurely viewing. There’s time to make coffee and take pictures, even with a simple amateur camera.

The rising dawn won out, and the darkened moon, in the last minutes of totality, faded faster than it set.


Fading bright to dim
Now engulfed in Earth’s shadow
Blushing as you set

Total Solar Eclipse Amazing Treat for North America #solareclipse #astronomy #nature #travel

Solar Eclipse Path Aug 2017 Yee ha N America!

Have you planned your trip to the center line? A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. The path will cross the mainland United States and I’ll be traveling across three states to reach it. Motels, RV parks, and campgrounds are already full, but I like to be mobile to chase clear skies anyway. Hello BLM land 🙂

This will be my third total eclipse – I had to travel farther for the first two.

As the great day approaches, expect to see more articles on eclipses. There will be the usual warning not to look directly at the event with your unprotected eyes – and you should never stare directly at the sun anyway! You risk eye damage if you do. The eclipse isn’t special this way. It’s just that the glare and pain usually keep people from trying. has a contribution this week. Temperatures will drop in the shadow of the moon as it blocks the sun – a larger drop than you might expect from a passing cloud – about the difference between noon on a clear day and sunset.

During a total eclipse i 2015, researchers recorded the temperature

… at a height of about 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the ground, and found that the lowest daytime temperature occurred 2 minutes after the end of totality…The Earth’s atmosphere is a good insulator, meaning it doesn’t exchange heat easily… This delayed transfer of heat could explain the slight delay in the cooling of the air during totality.

Expect lots more stories over the summer, and view the eclipse in person if you can. It’s a great thing to stand in the shadow of the moon.

Creating Earth and Moon #poem #poetry #space #Moon #solarsystem


Did Theia and proto Earth’s mantle vaporize and merge?

Terrestrial and lunar rocks
Share similarities,
The isotopes of elements
Found in both of these.

Early in the solar system,
When proto-worlds collide,
Such isotopic matching
Is hard to reconcile.

New research seeks a better scheme
And everyone is trying,
Potassium in rocks may show
Which models are complying.

Perhaps the rogue colliding spheres
Vaporized Earth’s mantle
To atmospheres of gaseous rock,
Of fluids supercritical.

Then Earth and Moon, upon their face,
Would match in just this way.
Their composition now makes sense
At least, it does today.

By Kate Rauner

R&R 3 coversThanks to for their article on the birth of the Moon, and to Kun Wang (Washington University) and Stein Jacobsen (Harvard) for their findings online September 12 in the journal Nature. The Mars-sized rock that collided with Earth is called Theia, named for the mother of the Moon in Greek myth, but I just couldn’t work that into the poem :\ Why don’t you give it a try?

All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Dark Night Comes – #Haiku #poetry #poem #nature

Crescent Moon, you hangcrescent moon (300x225)
Above the red horizon,
Embracing nightfall

by Kate Rauner



All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.


Buzz Aldrin Pushes Space Exploration with Scifi #Mars #sciencefiction #review #bookreview

encounter with tiberBuzz Aldrin’s in the news again*, opening a new institute at Florida Tech to promote the settlement of Mars through research. I posted on his science fiction novel aimed at inspiring space travel once before. I thought it would be fun to look at it again.

Encounter with Tiber is a hard science fiction story for fans of space travel and colonization. It’s a long book with two related stories framed by a future historian’s voyage to the planet Tiber. The book loves technology and will interrupt the action to indulge, so you must concentrate on your reading – maybe it’s not the best beach book.

The First Story
One story starts with an alternative history of the end of the shuttle program and continues into the very near future with explorations of the Moon and Mars. Thick with detailed descriptions of technology, it includes Aldrin’s real-life proposals, like the Mars to Earth cycler spacecraft.

The Second Story
Another story tells of very-human aliens who came to Earth in the past, seeking a new home for their doomed race. Also full of scientific details, you’ll get a feel for what it’s like in space.

Space Politics
The politics of space appear in both stories – and “political pressure leads to poor decisions and tragedy.” Since Aldrin was a NASA astronaut (yes, he is that Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon), it makes me wonder what real-life events led him here. It’s not very encouraging for anyone who wants to land people on Mars. But politics exist in private companies too, so it’s not a problem unique to NASA.

Is This Book For You?
If you are not a hard science fiction/space fiction fan, you’ll find this book tedious. If you love the details a space insider can provide, you’ll be fascinated

*Note July 2018: Buzz Aldrin’s been in the news more recently becase of legal battles with his children over control of his properties. I feel sad for them all.

#NASA ponders sending #spaceship to icy moons: Enceladus – What Tell Ya Us? #poetry #science #poem

Enceladus orbits i Saturn's E Ring - it's water geysers may have created the ring. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute PIA08321

Enceladus orbits in Saturn’s E Ring – it’s water geysers may have created the ring. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute PIA08321

Wrenched by Saturn’s gravity,
By tides within its core,
Or radioactive isotopes
Releasing heat galore.

A water ocean circulates
Beneath an icy shell
That blocks the solar photons.
Here living things could dwell.

Consider near-bacteria,
Imagine pseudo-fish.
Supporting life like this.

Oceans are revealed, by geysers
Blasting through the cold.
Jets from the southern pole.

Mostly water vapor,
Some nitrogen, organics.
A sample thrown into the sky
If we can just collect it.

What may have surfed its boiling plumes?
What from the depths might rise?
A pseudo-fish’s brethren
On Saturn’s rings may ride.

By Kate Rauner

R&R 1 2nd edition ebook cover

2nd edition now available! Expanded!

Visit for possible missions to Europa and Enceladus, two moons that may harbor life in their liquid water oceans. See more on Enceladus at wikipedia.

Visit me for a new poem every other post (or so.) Or try one of my collections – science inspired rhyming poetry, and a few haiku too.

“The #moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason” #FridayReads

sevenevesWhat a great first sentence.

Neal Stephenson offers a suggestion for why the moon broke up, initially into seven pieces, but his novel Seveneves is about the aftermath. It’s really two stories.

The first, about 447 pages in my Epub edition, follows the horrific couple years after the moon blows up and the pieces continue to collide, shatter, and fall to Earth. This first book takes place in our near-future, mentioning Twitter, #hashtags, and Batman. The book provides a tour of the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station – though an expanded ISS with an asteroid attached at one end and a rotating torus section at the other. There are familiar cell phones: As the moon breaks up, people call each other and “a large number of telephones were singing their little electronic songs. Including his. The birth cry of a new age.”

The second story, 232 pages, is about the distant aftermath, 5,000 years in the future, with a new set of characters, technologies, and problems. The book’s title is realized in this story.

This is not a book I could sit down and read straight through, it’s just too long and the descriptions require attention. But, science fiction fans, take it on vacation or a couple long plane trips. Or stage it on your bedside table over the rest of the summer.

972 reviews for the hardcover edition on Amazon, 73% four and five star ratings. NOTE: Any SPOILERS that follow are no worse than what you’ll find on the back of the book and the first few dozen pages of either story.

This epic takes its time, shows us the moon’s explosion through the eyes of five different characters, and offers discussions of orbital dynamics, ham radio, space stations, robotic swarms, etc. – be prepared for mini-seminars, tales of preparing for doomsday, and where and how humanity will survive.

My favorite character is an astronomer who popularizes science. I can’t even recall how Stephenson described him because I’ve got the image of Neil deGrasse Tyson stuck firmly in my mind – I can hear Tyson’s voice as the character explains the coming apocalypse to the US President: trillions of pieces of the rubblizing moon will, in two years’ time, rain annihilation on the Earth. (I went back and looked – I think Stephenson had Tyson in mind, too.)

Stephenson never gets maudlin about the billions of deaths in his story – some people will find that a bit cold.

With the destruction of life on Earth as its driver and familiar characters, the first story (divided into two parts) feels more exciting. The portion set in space can be read independently of the portion set on Earth. The second story builds a new world, and hypothesizing the future a decimated humanity might create is interesting. You could easily read one story or the other by itself, depending on your tastes. Personally, I skimmed quite a few sections. An Ebook edition, where you can search for a name, makes it possible to track the story of a favorite character if you get impatient with Stephenson. If you really get impatient, there’s a plot summary on Wikipedia. The summary won’t hurt your reading experience and may help you decide which parts to read in full, because the point of the book is Stephenson’s broad and deep descriptions. If you can’t get enough of Seveneves, you can buy a Summary and Analysis and unofficial fan sidekicks.