Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight & ISS Pass At Sunset

Reminder, there’s a total lunar eclipse tonight, in the wee hours of the morning before sunrise if you’re in North America or South America, in the comfortable hours after sunset if you’re in Japan, eastern Asia, New Zealand, eastern Australia. Or on a Pacific Island west of the International Date Line.

The fancy, scientific, big numbers data is here, but for North American viewers, the tl;dr version is:

  • P1 = entering (dim shadow) penumbra at 1:15:33 PDT, 4:15:33 EDT
  • P2 =entering (dark shadow) umbra at 2:14:48 PDT, 5:15:48 EDT
  • P3 = entering totality at 3:25:10 PDT, 6:25:10 EDT (Obviously, if you’re on the US east coast, this is getting close to sunrise, which means moonset.)
  • P4 = start leaving totality at 4:24:00 PDT, 7:24:00 EDT
  • P5 = start leaving umbra at 5:34:21 PDT
  • P6 = leave penumbra, eclipse ends, at 6:33:43 PDT

If you’re up and have a clear sky, it should look a lot like April’s event. But I’m already hearing from my New England friends that they’re likely to be clouded out. As for Japan and eastern Asia, there’s a freakin’ huge typhoon hitting, so maybe they won’t see it either.

But it should be clear here. What could go wrong? Well, the Vegas odds are currently 50/50 at best on whether or not I’ll be able to wake up at 1:00 AM and go see it. (Sleep is goooooood. My body’s saying that I’m getting too old for this sort of thing. The little kid trapped inside is screaming bloody murder and wondering how I could ever be thinking such thoughts.)


In other looking-at-the-sky news, an hour ago there was another great ISS pass over SoCal. It looked fantastic, horizon to horizon, almost directly overhead.

Now, let’s do some math and common sense thinking. Last night I had pictures from yesterday’s ISS pass and talked about exposure times.

  • Fifteen seconds was okay, thirty seconds was getting overexposed, anything longer was out of the question.
  • Last night’s pass started at 19:55, tonight’s at 19:05.
  • Fifty minutes earlier means fifty minutes brighter, as in “not darker.”
  • Earlier this year I had a really bright ISS pass just after sunset and all of my pictures were totally, 100% overexposed.

Now class, what kind of exposures should I have used tonight? Not rocket science, right? Fifteen seconds, tops! Probably more like five seconds, maybe only three. Or shot video…

Here’s what the best of my string of forty-five second exposures looks like:

IMG_1963 small

See that long streak of the ISS passing across the sky? Or just evidence that it’s tough getting good help and I’m a slow learner sometimes?

Let’s see if I can get out of bed and not screw anything up too much tonight for the eclipse.




Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

3 responses to “Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight & ISS Pass At Sunset

  1. We saw the ISS too. It was super-bright. My app said magnitude -3.4 but of course the sky wasn’t completely dark so it looked a little fainter. But it was definitely a good pass.

    I slept through the eclipse though. I woke at 1:16am and rolled back over because it was too early. I’ve seen plenty though so I wasn’t too concerned.

    Looking forward to the partial solar eclipse in a few weeks though 🙂


    • I’ve seen bits and pieces of plenty of lunar eclipses as well, but between the kids (now grown) who couldn’t stay up all night and the clouds which have always played hob with LA at night, it had been many years since I had seen one end-to-end. It may be many more years before I try another for the full duration, but it was nice to see that I still could.

      Liked by 1 person

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