Supermoon With a Super Eclipse

The Astro Babes were together watching the mosquito-filled eclipse Sunday night. We watched the Moon darkening over the bay of Green Bay, which added a whole new dimension to the eclipse. The moonlight was very bright and sparkly on the water when we first arrived at the beach, but the reflection also faded with the Moon until it also disappeared.

Although we originally had planned to complete the requirements for the Astronomical League’s Lunar II observing program, we had been promised a solid wall of clouds all night so weren’t prepared when the skies cleared and the eclipse was in full swing. Thanks, weather guys.

Yesterday we heard from our fellow club member Rodrigo. Once again, he compiled a great montage from Sunday’s total lunar eclipse over Wisconsin. Thanks for sharing, Rodrigo!!

Moon Eclipse 9-27-2015 low

Here’s what Rodrigo had to say about his amazing picture:

This one is a composition of different times (20 min intervals) from 8:00 pm to 10:50 pm. The pictures are exposed to match what I saw naked eye. So some of the faces are actually HDR of the moon shoot so the bright portion is not overexposed (moon #4 and #8). I used my Orion 80mm and tracked with my small Meade LXD 75 and Canon no mod Xsi. The first portion was between 1/400s and 0.3″,  ISO 200 and Totality was 8s ISO 200, and then I used ISO 400 and cut the exposure to 4″ due to the wind.

Armchair Eclipse Watching

Looks like Tony’s done it again! His video of last month’s lunar eclipse was being passed around on a cell phone at the last astronomy club meeting, so I wrote to Tony and ask him if he’d share it with you, too.

Tony said the video shows the moon going from totality to uneclipsed, and displays 2-1/2 hours in 10 seconds. The movie is made up of 270 individual frames – each shot with his Canon T1i DSLR mounted piggyback on his telescope, while it was tracking at the Quantum Skies Observatory in Pulaski.

Exposures at the beginning of the set are ¼ sec at ISO 1600, and those at the end are 1/4000 sec at ISO 800 (factor of 2000x brighter/dimmer!)  The frames were taken about 30 seconds apart, so while the video comprises 2-1/2 hours of real-time, when run back at 30 frames per second it only lasts ten seconds.

There won’t be any more lunar eclipses visible around Wisconsin in 2014, but next year on September 28th we’ll have another total lunar eclipse visible from all of the continental U.S. We’ll get to see a partial solar eclipse this year on October 23rd, too, although we’re itching to see the total solar eclipse that will fall just 500 miles south of here in 2017. Road Trip!

Thanks again for sharing, Tony!

Lynn & Amy


Another Missed Eclipse

Last week, a total eclipse took place in us-eclipseNorthern Australia and in the South Pacific.

Whenever I read about them, it always reminds me of an article that I read 30-plus years ago about a man’s experience during a total solar eclipse. I don’t recall all the details, but I vividly remember that his descriptions of the event made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Shortly before the darkness came, he wrote of the growing excitement as the long bands of shadows began moving across the ground. Looking through an eyepiece, he saw Baily’s beads of bright pearls forming on the edge of the moon, and the beautiful crimson color of the prominences on the edge of the sun. Then a blanket of darkness fell upon him as quickly as a light switch turning off, and the full glory of the solar corona filled his eyepiece. It said it was the eeriest experience he’d ever had.

Needless to say, I’ve wanted to experience this in person ever since, but only 21 total eclipses have happened in the last 30 years, always seeming to happen in places I couldn’t or didn’t want to go to, like Syberia or Iceland or Colombia.

But it’s finally going to happen for us here in the Midwest. In 2017, the point of Greatest Eclipse will fall only 500 miles south of here for a total of 2 minutes and 40 seconds. You can bet Amy and I will be there!

Now if only the moon were in a perfectly circular orbit, a little closer to the Earth, and in the same orbital plane, there would be a total solar eclipse every month. I don’t know if everyone else thinks that’s a good idea, but I’m quite sure I’d never tire of it.