Like people everywhere in the city, in fact, across the world, I went looking for the supermoon eclipse last evening. The moon was going to rise, red and already eclipsed, around 7 p.m. – a “blood moon.” Totality would be7.47 p.m.
I thought the best place to watch would be Twin Peaks, and at 6.45 pm, that’s where I headed from the Portola Avenue side. But I got there to find a line of cars jammed all the way up Twin Peaks Boulevard. I did a U-turn, carefully avoiding a skunk. (It got safely across the road. All the cars in both directions waited for it.)
Time to go to Plan B: leave my car at home, and walk up to Tank Hill.
Clearly, a lot of people had the same thought. I’d never seen it so crowded, not on the 4th of July, not during the Blue Angels performance. Many had come much better prepared than I, with telephoto lenses as long as my forearm, rugs, chairs, and reflective clothing.
We were all a little worried. The fog was prowling around the western side of the city, and knowing San Francisco, could blow in any minute.
Everyone watched the eastern sky intently. “Did we get the wrong night,” I heard someone joke. “Maybe we should have read the science pages instead of the news.”
I was unsure how much we’d actually see, whether the haze low on the horizon would turn into a vision-blocking fog.
Someone raised a shout, and everyone looked for the moon. No sign of it. “Just a bunch of people trying to get a buzz going,” commented one of the would-be spectators.
Quite suddenly at 7.47 p.m. there it was, a dull red disk visible through the trees. Just in time for the peak of the totality.
People gazed at it. Some took pictures, including me.
Next to me, a man holding a dog said, “I hope you have a telephoto on that.” I didn’t, but I would get some pictures anyway, I said. They won’t be great, not like the real photographers photos, but they’ll record the event. We chatted briefly about eclipses past.
The crowd thinned out. Parents with small children left quickly. The kids had seen the moon, understood the color was different, and they were ready to play or go. So did a lot of people who’d driven in. They wanted to leave before more traffic jams started up.
Here’s how it looked at one minute past 8 p.m. (still through the trees).
I left, too, a little later. From the foot of the Tank Hill steps, I got a clear view of the moon. This was a picture at 8.22 pm.
An hour later, I went for a walk. The fog had started blowing in, but the moon was visible. It looked like a traditional eclipse now, a crescent that could be mistaken for a waning moon.
And even later than that, the eclipse was over and the fog was crawling over Twin Peaks.
It was beginning to drift down to the Bay.
Overhead, the full supermoon was back to normal.