Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Update: Here are some photos I took with a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot A710 IS at 6x zoom with digital image stabilization. The photos are full-size, only cropped from the 7.1 MP originals.

The beginning of the eclipse is impressive, it really does look like there’s a bite taken out of the moon. During the partial eclipse, the curvature of the shadow just makes it look like a crescent moon. The prettiest was right before full eclipse, when most of the moon was reddish-orange, except for a white spot on the edge. The last one is a still from a video camera— the moon was too dark and I didn’t have a tripod.

Full moon with a black shadow on the edge
22:46 HST       f/4.8       1/500 s
Crescent moon, only dimmer because of the penumbra
23:16 HST       f/4.8       1/200 s
Nearly total eclipse showing the reddish color
video still

Lunar eclipses are perhaps the most common of celestial eclipses, but they still don’t happen every year in a given place. Tonight, one will be visible from Hawaii (Australia, N & S America as well), beginning just before midnight local time and lasting 1.5 hours. During the eclipse, the moon appears reddish because sunlight reflects through the earth’s atmosphere where blue light is absorbed, much like a sunset or sunrise. Before and after, the moon will be shaded by the penumbra and then partially eclipsed. Here is a link with more details about lunar eclipses.

Graphic showing the phases and exact times of the lunar eclipse

Source: NASA

Sorry for the late notice…

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