Lunar eclipse feeds Columbus crew

Stranded Columbus crew starving in Jamaica

Lunar eclipse Feb 20, 2008
Lunar eclipse Feb 20, 2008Courtesy NASA Kennedy Space Center
Christopher Columbus sailed to the "New World" several times after his 1492 voyage. On his fourth and last journey ship worms so decimated his four ships that Columbus had to put ashore on the North coast of Jamaica and wait for rescue. Initially, the Jamaican natives welcomed the castaways, providing them with food and shelter in exchange for trinkets and whistles. When the natives no longer wished to provide food after more than six months, half of Columbus' crew mutinied, robbing and murdering some of the natives. With famine now threatening, Columbus formulated a desperate, albeit ingenious plan.

A bad moon is going to rise

Columbus, like all good sailors, had an almanac containing astronomical tables providing detailed information about the sun, moon and planets. Using its tables, Columbus calculated that on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, 1504, a total eclipse of the moon would take place soon after the time of moonrise. Three days before the eclipse Columbus told the chief that

his Christian god was angry with his people for no longer supplying Columbus and his men with food. Therefore, he was about to provide a clear sign of his displeasure: Three nights hence, he would all but obliterate the rising full moon, making it appear "inflamed with wrath," which would signify the evils that would soon be inflicted upon all of them.

According to Columbus's son, Ferdinand, when the moon started to eclipse, the natives ". . . with great howling and lamentation came running from every direction to the ships laden with provisions, praying to the Admiral to intercede with his god on their behalf." Just moments before the end of the total phase Columbus reappeared, announcing to the natives that his god had pardoned them and would now allow the moon to gradually return. Columbus and his men were well supplied and well fed until a relief caravel from Hispaniola finally arrived on June 29, 1504.

Total Lunar eclipse Wed. Feb 20 from 9-10 p.m. CST

Click this for information on when the lunar eclipse occurs around the world.The moon will start entering Earth's shadow at 7:43 pm CST Wednesday. Click this next link for an explanation of how and why you see the moon colored blood red, bright orange, or even a gentle turquoise.
Source: Space.com

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

Just in case there is any confusion, we should clear up the date of the eclipse. Those of us in North America will see the eclipse on the evening of Wednesday Feb. 20th. But the official eclipse time in UTC (World Time) will be from 1:43am - 5:09am on the morning of Thursday Feb. 21st. UTC is the same as Greenwich Mean Time and is the standard off which most of the world sets their time, minus or plus their local timezone.

You can view the eclipse diagram above in many different timezones if you want to figure out when it will happen on your clock. You might also want to check out where it will be visible around the globe.

posted on Mon, 02/18/2008 - 10:07am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Thanks Bryan. I keep forgetting to think global.
I also need help figuring out how to view the space shuttle and station as they pass over, too.
Using the Heavens Above site I tried to decipher when and where to look tonight.

My best guess is look West and South about 10 degrees above the horizon tonight, Feb 18, between 6:18 and 6:22 pm CST. Any one agree with this?
If you are not in Saint Paul you need to start on this page and enter your location.

posted on Mon, 02/18/2008 - 11:51am
andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

Oh O.O then i can see the eclipse today :D.

posted on Wed, 02/20/2008 - 10:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Wed, 02/20/2008 - 12:18pm
diamond2008's picture
diamond2008 says:

so sad

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 10:27am
hawa's picture
hawa says:

why is the bad moon going to risk? I don't think that this happening because we need to surive

posted on Thu, 03/13/2008 - 8:56am
coimbatore flights's picture

Thanks for the resources. they will be helpful.

posted on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 2:12am
mumzy's picture
mumzy says:

Im sure they will be helpfull but what for. And can we really believe what they say and what they believe what if its all a hoax what if they are trying to trick us? what then? Please just consider this food for thought!

posted on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 9:52am

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