Thursday, March 01, 2007

Purim and hiddenness

Much of the world is being treated to an extraordinary event this Purim: A total lunar eclipse, in which the moon is in the shadow of the earth:

It turns out that the lunar eclipse starts within a few minutes of sunset in the New York area (subtract five hours from the universal time on the site above to get US Eastern Time) and the totality will end about the time that most congregations will begin their first Megillah reading. I can't think of a better natural event to emphasize the idea of hiddenness that is so important to Purim. Please do yourself a favor and take a walk outside if you are in an area where the eclipse is visible and appreciate HaShem's miracles.


Anonymous Jordan said...

Because a total lunar eclipse has to happen on a full moon (right?) I guess there's always a chance for an eclipse at Purim, Pesach and Sukkot time. "Hashamayim mesaprim kevod E-l..."

5:04 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...


Yes! I just looked up lunar eclipses in the next ten years and found that there will be total eclipses for both Pesach and Sukkot in both 2014 and 2015!


5:21 PM  
Blogger zkessin said...

I'm currently waiting for the eclipse to begin, so I can start taking pictures. I have my astro-photo setup ready to go, I just need the event to happen.

And yes a Lunar eclipse must happen at a full moon.

1:19 PM  
Blogger zkessin said...

The eclipse was really nice! I stayed up for about half of it, with the telescope, binoculars and a camera. At about 12:30 a neighbor came over with 2 of his kids to show them. We spend some time observing together. It was good fun. I also showed them the moons of Jupiter (always good for a view)

I crashed about 1:30, (And now I'm just getting back from the Neitz minyan.). If you missed it there will be another lunar eclipse visible from the USA (but not here in Israel) Aug 28.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

I remember going out to see one after the first night Seder on Pesach of 1996, in Israel. It was pretty cool.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Rabbi Dr. said...

Actually, the fact that there was a lunar eclipse means that it was not the 14th of Adar but the 15th of Adar. So Purim was actually being celebrated on the wrong day. But, our calendrical sysytem is based on averages of the lunar cycle, so that's not really a problem, just an interesting fact.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Rabbi Dr. said...

Actually, on second thought, it wasn't really the wrong day. It's just that the 14th is usually not the middle point of the month (when the eclipse would occur) but the middle point could have been sometime during the day of the 14th (closer to the end), so it's not really accurate to have said that it was really the 15th. Sorry.

2:15 PM  
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Blogger Zach Kessin said...

Hi At some point real soon now I will have my eclipse pictures up an my new astronomy/photography etc blog:

I just need to borow a scanner and scan the slides

6:13 AM  
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