We have a splendid opportunity to see a total lunar eclipse this January. It will be taking place late on a Sunday night into the early hours of Monday morning. That Monday is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the USA, so many schools will not have classes that day. Eclipse timings are given in the above graphic, in Universal Time. Converting that to the various USA time zones:
Partial eclipse starts
Total eclipse starts
Total eclipse ends
Partial eclipse ends
Usually the real eclipse visibility starts to take place late in the penumbral phase approaching the first contact of the umbra. If you have not seen a lunar eclipse before, it is quite a special event. The moon will appear to have a charcoal chunk missing from it as the eclipse progresses. Deeper into the eclipse, the moon will take on a rusty red hue caused by the sunlight passing through the earth’s atmosphere before arriving at the moon. Telescopes are not required, as one can see the whole event easily with the eye. Binoculars and telescopes will offer a nice closeup view. Photography of the event is a relatively simple affair. A good tripod and telephoto lens will work well with the moderate shutter speeds required. Tracking is not needed. An example of a series of photos I took of the last total lunar eclipse is below. The camera was a Nikon D7000 with 200mm telephoto on a tripod. Click for a larger image.
September 27th lunar eclipse was an awesome experience from Exeter, NH. Well over 100 people came to the observatory for a visit and a look through the telescopes while the eclipse was under way. At moonrise, I thought there was actually someone with a spotlight in the adjoining fields…. nope! That was the moon! It was BRIGHT! Bright enough to take this 5 second exposure of the fields and fog:
Fields and Fog with Full Moon
As the event ensued, we had a few cameras out there: one taking wide field shots of the event every 10 minutes or so, one taking closeup images with a 200mm telephoto, and some others roaming around. The following two images are of the event with the images stacked in PhotoShop. The moon’s dimming is very much evident here:
Wide field series of images of the eclipse.
This image shows the eclipse with deeper exposures. The stars become evident as the moon dims. Note to the lower right the light pollution from Boston, to our south. As with all photos in this blog, click on the images for higher resolution!
Wide field series with deeper exposures.
This series below is from the 200mm lens and follows the eclipse from full moon (no eclipse) to totality. Photoshop wass used to stack the images. Click for higher resolution.
There is an excellent opportunity coming up to see a total lunar eclipse this September… in just a few weeks! Plan now! This one is visible from western Europe, Africa and the Americas. Eclipse timings here:
Lunar Eclipse Timing (all times UT) September 27-28, 2015
00:10 Moon enters penumbra (not visible)
01:07 Partial Eclipse Begins
02:11 Totality begins
02:47 Mid Eclipse
03:24 Totality ends
04:27 Partial eclipse ends
05:24 Moon leaves penumbra
So for those in the Eastern time zone which is still in EDT (daylight savings mode), the times are here below….
Lunar Eclipse Timing (all times EDT) September 27-28, 2015 below: