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Total Lunar Eclipse and the Terrain of the Bull: This week on The Storyteller's Night Sky

2022-11-07_Terrain of the Bull.jpg
Mother earth imitating the sky overhead with these stems mimicking the Bull's horns, the orange leaf at left, brilliant like the bull's eye star Aldebaran, and the wave splashing just between the Bull's horns, where the planet Mars can be seen overhead.

Tuesday November 8, 2022 there’s a Total Lunar Eclipse, visible over all of the Americas, coming to maximum at about 6 am eastern time, and caused by the fact that the Moon, now in front of the starry region of Taurus, the Bull, is sweeping through the deep shadow of the Earth. In the history of the United States, this is the first time a lunar eclipse has coincided with election day.

The Moon isn’t the only thing among Taurus stars right now. If you watch the sky as early as 9 pm, and then throughout the night, you’ll notice the red planet Mars, occupying what Ernest Hemingway referred to as the “terrain of the bull,” right between its horns, which are marked in the sky by the stars Elnath, the “butting one,” and Tianguan, the “celestial gateway.” Passing through this gateway in the shadow of eclipse, without getting butted, and mindful that Mars is there as guardian, can seem like a daunting task, but with goodwill, and a bit of poetry in the heart, we’ll make our way. And for this, there is Emily Dickinson:

We grow accustomed to the Dark—
When Light is put away—
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye—

A Moment—We uncertain step
For newness of the night—
Then—fit our Vision to the Dark—
And meet the Road—erect—

And so of larger—Darknesses—
Those Evenings of the Brain—
When not a Moon disclose a sign—
Or Star—come out—within—

The Bravest—grope a little—
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead—
But as they learn to see—

Either the Darkness alters—
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight—
And Life steps almost straight.

Mary Stewart Adams is a Star Lore Historian and host of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky.” As a global advocate for starry skies, Mary led the team that established the 9th International Dark Sky Park in the world in 2011, which later led to her home state of Michigan protecting 35,000 acres of state land for its natural darkness.