Thursday, June 16, 2011

Total lunar eclipse

Last night we had the opportunity to observe not just a total lunar eclipse, but also a relatively rare central lunar eclipse in which the center point of Earth's shadow passes over the Moon.  The last time a lunar eclipse was closer to the center of the earth's shadow was on 16 July 2000 and the next central total lunar eclipse will only be on 27 July 2018.


Full moon rising

 The eclipse started at about 20h22...

 ... with the moon disappearing more...

 ... and more...

... and more... 

... until there was just a sliver left. 

 I changed the setting on the camera slightly to take in more light and show the moon after the last moonlight disappeared.

The reason the moon looks red during an eclipse is because although the sunlight isn't hitting it directly anymore, some of it still get reflected (or bent) by our atmosphere to hit the moon.  My scientific knowledge is a bit limited, but the internet tells me that the more atmosphere that sunlight travels through, the more the blue and green parts of the spectrum are scattered.  The sunlight hits the atmosphere at a shallow angle and is carried through a lot of atmosphere until it’s redirected out onto the moon “hiding” from direct sunlight. The red end of the spectrum is all that can get through that much interference, so the moon in total eclipse appears reddish in colour.

This makes for the ideal Skywatch post this week.

13 comments:

  1. wow amazing...well done on that capture...

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  2. Good job! Did you hand hold these? Tripod? Every time I try a moon shot they don't come out this clear.

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  3. Great shots. I made also photos from this event, when the moon comes back :), but I couldn´t see the red, because it was too cloudy and my camera is also not that good. So I enjoyed your ones. LG Tina

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  4. Fantastic captures and post of the eclipse!

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  5. Great shots of the eclipse!
    Have a great weekend.

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  6. Wonderful done!
    Great shots.
    Gr.
    P-TER

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  7. The very best captures of the red phase I have seen! So glad you shared these with Skywatch,they are awesome!

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  8. It was quite a spectacle. Nice series Jonker.

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  9. Wonderful to see!
    Thank´s for sharing it with us!

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  10. What awesome captures of the eclipse! Thanks for sharing them with us! Happy SWF! Enjoy your weekend!

    Sylvia

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  11. Excellent photo essay of the eclipse!
    I wish it had been visible in my part of the world. However, we did have a beautiful full moon.

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  12. Wow - your pics are good!!! Well done!!

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  13. Fantastic. I was so sorry it was cloudy in my part of the world. I missed something very special.

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