I’m up and about for the third time this morning, thanks to two alarms and a dog, who woke me up at 2am, rather earlier than the 3am alarm I’d set to get me up for the total Lunar Eclipse this morning. In fact, having barely managed to get back to sleep, I almost failed to get up altogether and did miss the initial phase. I’m very glad that I did though, as it was quite a spectacular sight.
As you may be aware, photography and astronomy are two of my favouritest-est things, (the thumbnail pic is one I took earlier in the year), so the opportunity to snap our nearest cosmic neighbour decked out in festive colour was too good to miss, despite much bleariness of eye and brain.
Now, I do have a small telescope, which is much more powerful than my largest camera lens, but given that the last time I excavated it was for the partial solar eclipse this year and it was cloudy so I saw nothing, I decided not to tempt fate this time. I do regret this slightly, but as the moon would completely fill the frame on my camera, it would have required a fair degree of precision not to cut bits off amd at 3am that would have been a challenge. That said, on reviewing the pics I did take, the tracking facilties of the ‘scope (had I set it up correctly) would have reduced the blur resulting from the long exposures required*. Normally, a full moon is very bright and so doesn’t require a very long exposure, but in eclipse, it was quite a dark object and difficult to even see on the screen.
*The moon cracks across the sky at a fair old whack and will cover a distance equal to its own width in about 2 minutes. Thus, the larger the image, the faster it will move across the frame and, therefore, longer the exposure, the greater the blur. In my set-up, the Moon is occupying 1/6th of the frame, so will shift across quite quickly enough to blur easily. I won’t bore you with the Maths, but the situation is a challenge, I think you’ll agree.
Anyway, this is the result. Not as good as I’d have liked, but not too bad for a bleary 3am effort 😀
The little white dot you can see in the top right is a star. Although the night sky was spectacularly full of stars during the eclipse, I didn’t see the ones close to the moon at all until I looked at the photos. You can see a few more in this one:
It’s interesting how different the Moon looks in eclipse to normal – not in terms of the colour, but where the shadow areas lie compared to the thumbnail image at the top of this post. How it must have frightened our ancestors to see it thus!