Total Lunar Eclipse – Totality

When last we saw our plucky hero, he was cursing himself for staying at home where the rising, partially eclipsed full Moon was off behind a whole stand of pine trees. Our intrepid but well-meaning fool was dodging around the yard moving cameras and tripods to try to find holes through the trees to spot the Moon, as well trying to Livestream the whole chaotic mess on Facebook. (It’s still there – scan through the boring parts where I put the phone down to take these pictures, there are bits and pieces that didn’t suck completely!)

As the last bit of bright sunlight fades from the rim of the Moon and totality begins…

…and we see just how dark this eclipse will be. They vary, from being fairly bright to being quite, quite dark. On the darker ones (cause by more dust in the Earth’s atmosphere, blocking sunlight from making it through) the Moon can almost disappear in an urban setting with lots of light pollution. This eclipse was above average brightness.

To bring out the color I go to longer exposures, gathering more photons! Of course, since I wasn’t using my telescope as a humongous telephoto lens (if you thought using a tripod was a pain to use while bobbing and weaving through the branches to find a viewing angle, try it with an 8′ Newtonian on an equitorial mount!) and the camera wasn’t being guided (moving counter to the Earth’s rotation so that the Moon and stars seem to be still in the camera’s field of view) the images tend to blur just a bit.

You can definitely see some of the background stars from the constellations Scorpio and Libra. Once that bright, bright Moon is dimmed down by a factor of a couple thousand, the starts pop right out.

Of course, with the longer, untracked exposures, the background stars blur and trail a bit as well.

This would all be a lot easier to practice if these eclipses happened more than once every few years. Who do I talk to about getting that to happen?

The color was gorgous!

Even in the hazy, light-polluted skies of Los Angeles, this giant, glowing, orange ball in the sky was clearly visible and magnificent!

It’s finally sort of getting out from behind the trees, almost at the edge – and that bottom edge is starting to get awfully bright!

And there we’re done with totality as the bottom edge is awash in bright, reflected sunlight.

From here the brighter section got quickly much larger and more illuminated, while the eclipsed section got steadily smaller and harder to see as anything other than “dark.” After a bit less than an hour, the Moon was back to just being “full” and “incredibly bright.”

Time to wait a few more years for the next total lunar eclipse! Be ready when it comes, they’re pretty predictable, even if the weather won’t be.



Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

4 responses to “Total Lunar Eclipse – Totality

  1. Truly love how you captured this!!! totally great!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. M

    Brings the eclipse to life for us on EST that couldn’t stay up! When I viewed the eclipse, it was early, about 1/3 covered. What was fascinating was the halo rainbow surrounding the moon. Was that space dust?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! A halo around the moon would be from ice very high up in the atmosphere, not space. Space dust would be moving, probably coming into the atmosphere as meteors. Also fascinating!


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