WAITING FOR THE SHADOW   SOLAR AND LUNAR ECLIPSE OBSERVING - Joe Cali

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Total Lunar Eclipse   
31st January, 2018


I drove to Michelago, NSW (3542'36.2"S 14909'58.6"E) with friends, Bengt Alfredsson from Sweden, Greg Bond from Brisbane and Matt Saarikko of Canberra to observe the lunar eclipse.  Michelago  is a small rural village about 50 km south of the ACT.

Weather was very uncoperative along many of the eastern states of Australia.  Careful observation of the changing weather predictions caused us to abandon our usual observing haunt at Phil Robustellini's observatory property near Yass, NSW, Australia NW of Canberra and opted for Michelago south of Canberra instead.   This transpired to  be a good decision.  Early cloud obscured the rising Moon from our location. This cloud band remained in the northern sky spoiling the view for people across much of Canberra and Yass.

The circumstances for the eclipse for my region were as follows : -


Weather 50km south of Canberra was mostly clear for the first half of the eclipse and then periodically clear for the last half. At our site, the Moon eventually rose out of this cloud  during the penumbral phase and we got good views of the late penumbral, most of the partial shadow ingress, and the first half of totality with only minor cloud interference.  Cloud drifted in during mid-totality then cleared again for late totality and much of the partial egress.

To the eye this was a bright orange eclipse, a Danjon 4 on the lunar eclipse brightness scale (first image). Photographically, I was able to neutralise the orange/red cast and then amplify the colour saturation to pick up the dispersion of colours by the Earth's atmosphere (second image). We see this dispersion by the air every day at sunrise and sunset with layers of red, orange, yellow and blue in the sky. During totality, on the moon an observer would be seeing sunset, 360 degrees around the Earth's circumference. That colour dispersed light can be seen on the moon in the final two images.

All images shot with a Vixen VC200L with f6.4 reducer corrector, Pentax K1 DSLR ISO 800-6400 and exposures from 1/15s-1s.


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Wide angle view about 20 minutes before mid-totality at 13:08:55 UT. Yes that is the middle
of a railway line that my camera is sitting on. The line has been out of use for decades. 

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