Lunar Eclipse, December 21, 2010

Tonight, we are supposed to be experiencing the first lunar eclipse that will fall on the Winter Solstice (start of winter in Northern Hemisphere) in 300+ years. At the moment, the sky is pretty cloudy where I live, so I might have to be satisfied with looking at this old photo (2007) of the full moon and just imagine a curved shadow crossing over its face :-).

The forecast is for scattered cloud overnight so I’m still hopeful that the clouds will clear for at least part of the time that the moon is passing through the earth’s shadow. If I’m lucky and the sky does clear, this 2007 photo will be quickly replaced by some shots from tonight’s eclipse.

The eclipse is supposed to start around here (Eastern Standard Time) at about 1:30AM, enter into the total eclipse phase shortly before 3AM, and be all completed by about 5AM. If the sky is clear, I guess I’ll miss some sleep tonight :-). After all, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year so why should photographers and the telescope folks expect to get too much sleep :-).

1:25 AM – Eclipse isn’t supposed to start until 1:33PM but a small opening in the clouds allowed me to get this shot with a 300mm and 1.7X through a bit of cloud. Definitely not ideal sky yet. Still crossing my fingers.

1:50AM approx. Got a short glimpse and then bumped the tripod during the exposure. Cloud cover moved in before I could retake the shot. Cloud cover since. Hope some others have been having better skies to see and photograph the event.

3:15 AM Cloud cover still present so no chance of photographing the moon at the point of total eclipse.

Good Night, everyone.


Tech for the 2007 images: Banner: Nikon D200 with Nikkor 70-200mm and 1.7X tele-extender shot at 1/200 sec, f5.6 and ISO 100 on a Manfrotto tripod. The larger image is a crop of the banner image. Focus point was the right hand edge of the moon. From these settings, I then adjusted the EV in the -3.0 to -5.0 range based on appearance in the LCD. Exposure could have been adjusted in a number of ways to achieve this effect (increase speed, close aperture) but I felt that I had better control by adjusting the EV in smaller increments.

About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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