Lunar Eclipse

Last night we enjoyed the spectacle of a total lunar eclipse in the most excellent viewing conditions. The sky was clear, at least in Canberra, so there was no need to do anything other than look. My partners’ photo on his  digital SLR (on a tripod) even captured ‘nearby’ stars.

Lunar eclipse at 847 pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDST), 8 October 2014

Lunar eclipse at 9.47 pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDST), 8 October 2014

With my handheld ‘point and shoot’ camera

Moveable moon, or shaky hands, 8 October 2014

Moveable moon, or shaky hands, 8 October 2014

you could only describe the results as having a certain ‘something’ about them.

My handheld shot, the moon dragging a 'tail', 8 October2014

My handheld shot, the moon dragging a ‘tail’, 8 October 2014

The artist in me did regret the absence of at least a few clouds as I suspect the colouring on them might have been quite something. In the end I made do with a watercolour to commemorate the event.

the 'blood' moon, watercolour, 8 October 2014

the ‘blood’ moon, watercolour, 8 October 2014

Of course the local comentariat, who had clearly watch too many episodes of The Vikings, insisted on calling this a ‘blood’ moon. To add to the astronomical frenzy it was also pointed out that there were two other ‘red’ objects in the western sky, Mars setting apparently close to Antares, (Alpha Scorpii) in the constellation of Scorpius, that could be seen at the same time. And a nice juxtaposition they formed too.

My description of the colour reflected on the moon was definitely closer to Burnt Sienna, than any of the true reds, but then … when I was checking the photos prior to posting today I noticed one thing. On the right hand side of the last picture I took (even with the dodgy handheld camera) you can just see a much darker red disk starting to occlude the lunar surface. Dang! I think we probably missed the deepest part of the eclipse.

On the upper right hand side of the photo you can just make out a darker red shadow starting to move across the face of the moon. 8.53pm EDST, 8 October 2014

On the upper right hand side of the photo you can just make out a darker red shadow starting to move across the face of the moon. 9.53pm EDST, 8 October 2014

OK, don’t panic, don’t panic! According to Aunty ABC, This last photo of mine was taken just 2 minutes before the peak of the eclipse. You can see more photos from the ABC website here.

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