Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day Lunar Eclipse Photos

Lunar eclipses are cool.  You get to watch a normal night sky object change shape and color in the humanly possible time span of a few hours.  This morning's total lunar eclipse was especially cool because 1) I had my best buddy Drew to wait up and enjoy it with me, and 2) Mars and the star Spica would be close, 3) I could try out my newish little camera. 

I made the first-of-the-year rhubarb treat to celebrate the occasion.  

The backyard rhubarb, which I started back at my old house in about 2002 from a sprout carried home on the airplane from my mom's patch and which has been moved 4 times since, once into a pot to wait out the traumatic first winter post move.
Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie has a pie shell on the bottom but crumble top.
We built a fire in the backyard fire pit and ate our pie while we waited for the moon to pass into the earth's penumbra.  I took a picture of the moon to figure out how to make my little Canon PowerShot S120 point-and-shoot into a fully manual machine.

Normal full moon. Cannon PowerShot S120. 1/100th sec, f/8.0, ISO 100, set to 2 second self timer and infinity manual focus.  The lens has only 5x telephoto and then I cropped the files.

First few minutes of the eclipse. 4/14/2013 23:53 MDT. The earth's shadow is encroaching on the left side of the moon.  This picture is a little blurry due to camera, or rather, porch, shake.  1/100th sec, f/8.0, ISO 100.

By the time the fire died down enough that we could think about bed, the shadow was obvious. 4/15/2013 00:14 MDT. 1/100th sec, f/8.0, ISO 100.

By the time we actually went to bed, the moon was more than half way there! 4/15/2013 00:42 MDT.  1/100th sec, f/8.0, ISO 100.
By that time, I was not tired anymore so I just waited until 1:06 to see the moon in full umbral shadow, just in case my alarm didn't wake me. It was very nice. It was also about 45 degrees and pajamas are not appropriate for stargazing at that temp, so even though a had a built in bed heater (Drew), I couldn't warm up to go to sleep.  I was still awake when my alarm went off at 1:40 for the full blood moon. I bundled up this time and took the little camera to the deck and got some pretty decent shots for a camera that fits in my jeans pocket.

See how tiny.

So here is my best shot of the Tax Day Blood Moon in full lunar eclipse.  The star Spica is the speck down to the right. 4/15/2013 01:43 MDT 6 seconds, f/8.0, ISO 125.

And here is the same shot not cropped so far showing Spica down and to the right and also Mars in the upper right corner of the shot.  4/15/2013 01:43 MDT, 6 seconds, f/8.0, ISO 125.

I enjoyed this eclipse especially for the beautiful bright star Spica and orange Mars within 9 degrees of the moon. And also because I had Drew to snuggle up to afterwards.  I did not set my alarm to watch the moon come out of the earth's shadow ;-).

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