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John Scaldini

Following a Live Twitter chat about SuperBloodMoon

4 min read

So I thought I had a cool idea for the live twitter chat however it totally failed.

I intended to follow @askNasa where people were able to submit questions to Nasa about the SuperBloodMoon Eclipse last night. Nasa was going to stream images on their website of the eclipse while answering questions submitted on Twitter. Although I would not have the actual answer displayed through Twitter I thought this would be a cool idea because it involved multiple medias (webcast tv & twitter) where interested individuals could submit questions, receive answers, and follow up with comments or secondary questions. This plan went askew when the Nasa TV website essentially crashed. The site kept displaying configuration error messages rather then the live feed and although at some points I could hear the audio answering questions it was cutting in and out and was often in Spanish. At one point another follower pointed out that the feed wasn't working and added a hyperlink to another livestream however the two gentlemen running the feed were not answering the posted questions but instead were discussing what they were seeing where they lived in the UK.


Although I was not able to follow the back and forth of questions to answers I was able to use the experience to understand how twitter works. I’d say this was my first impression of the media because although I have had a twitter account since it started I have barely ever used it. Other then the occasional movie quote or song lyric I post on twitter and I do not actively follow any accounts. I actually had to re-download the app for this project since I had recently taken it off my phone. 


I am going to assume that most professional and even amateur astronomers had other chats to dwell on while observing the Superbloodmoon. The chat seemed primarily populated by interested individuals (not experts) who wanted to get an idea for when they could see the event and perhaps ask a question about it. Most of the questions were jokes. Some were genuine asking what effects the color of the moon? Are there other colors we can see at different times? How does the eclipse effect the temperature on the Moon and does the event have any environmental effects on Earth? Unfortunately for every good question there were at least two knucklhead questions.


Leading up to the eclipse starting around 9:15PM It seems that most parts of the USA were establishing cloud cover. This prompted  funny joke questions like @Chris_is_cool3 WHY DID YOUR SORCERY NOT PREDICT THE CLOUDS?! AND HOW DID YOU NOT BUILD A GIANT FAN TO AVOID THEM?! WHY NASA?!and others asking if a telescope can see through clouds. My favorite joke questionwas @TheAustinSeven How much blood is in a ?


I did not notice any sort of hierarchy within in the chat however it may have presented itself if there was someone actively handling questions and supplying answers. Most followers didn't interact with one another and Nasa was not commenting on tech issues however other followers pointed out the same problems. Warm Body @allegedlywarm @NASA_Marshall ¿why is this program now in español and I still no see no moon? There were some interesting photo posted however without a really high powered lens you could not get a good view on most of them. I posted about the skies being clear in Norwalk CT right when the full eclipse was starting. I tried to take pictures but all were blurry and didn’t go the event justice.


At midnight Eastern Time chatter about the bloodmoon stopped. I assume this is because American East Coasters who were fortunate enough to have the eclipse happen in a good time range 9:15 – 11:15PM went to bed immediately after. Once the eclipse was over the majority of comments ended until early this morning when the attention shifted towards the pending Nasa Announcement about Mars.


After following this chat I find that Twitter is not my personal favorite medium for tracking events. The constant interruption by people trying to crack jokes or being disruptive is frustrating and it seems that most people are on twitter to be a nuisance. Perhaps my experience would have been different is Nasa TV had been working and I would have been able to get the answers to the quality questions submitted but other then an occasional chuckle I did not find the live chat to be especially insightful or helpful.