Saturday, December 10, 2011

Full Lunar Eclipse

They say this morning's full lunar eclipse was better looking from Australia and Asia, but it was certainly one of the nicest views I have ever had.  It started around 5:45 Mountain time.  I set my alarm for 5:30, but the human body is strange and I popped awake at 5:25.
10 degrees and pitch black isn't the most comfortable way to take pictures.  Beyond getting some good shots, my goals were to avoid freezing and to dodge the newspaper delivery guy who probably wasn't expecting someone to be shooting pictures in the driveway at night.
It took a bit over an hour to go from start to total eclipse.  Slow motion, but you could certainly see the changes as the minutes ticked by.
Almost gone....
As it was heading towards the total eclipse, a lot of things were going on at once.  In Park City, with all our mountains and hills, the moon was just about to set.  Also, the first morning rays of the sun were starting to light things up.

The reason you can see so much moon in this picture is because I changed my exposure from 1/500th of a second for the first picture, to 1.6 seconds for this one.  Light from the sun is passing through the earth's ionosphere, bending a bit and taking on a reddish tint, and then hitting the moon.  With only this indirect light hitting it, the moon was darker than it appears in this shot.
I can see why being further west would make this nicer.  The moon wouldn't be setting yet and the sun wouldn't be up at all.  This would have been really cool to shoot from the beach in San Diego, partly because it would look cool over the ocean, and partly because it wouldn't have been 10 degrees out.
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