Friday, January 18, 2019

January 20, 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse Info


This Sunday evening is not just the first full moon of the new year but it is also going to be a total lunar eclipse. That simply means that the Moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth. The result will be a deep orange-red colored Moon. Totality will last for just over an hour. So if your location has cloudy/partly cloudy skies, don't give up on seeing it! Perhaps a gap may come in the clouds during that hour and give you an opportunity to see it and photograph it. That will be the case here at the La Pine Observatory in La Pine, Oregon, where the predicted cloud cover (as of Friday, January 18, 2019) will be from 80 to 100%.
The first illustration above will give you an idea as to the relationship of the Moon as it passes through Earth's shadow (cast by the Sun).
NOTE: The times show are "Universal Time" NOT local time.
This chart will show you when you can expect the various aspects of this lunar eclipse in your time zone (click on the chart for, hopefully, a larger view of it):

So for my location (Pacific Standard Time - PST) the beginning of eclipse (not totality) will begin about 7:10pm PST. As the Moon progresses through Earth's shadow it will seem like one side of the Moon is just getting darker, no color change initially but gradually becoming more obvious the closer to 8:41pm PST. When the Moon begins enters the full shadow of the Earth, about 8:41pm PST, the reddish-orange color will be very obvious! To the unaided eye (no binoculars or telescope) the Moon will appear to be caught in smoke from a forest fire, but the color comes from the light of the Sun bending around the Earth's atmosphere and it will take on the same color as a sunset just before the Sun drops below the horizon.

Totality will last for just over an hour. You will be able to easily see (weather-permitting) the stars in the night sky. If you have binoculars or a telescope you will see a patch of fuzzy stars to the left of the Moon and slightly down. That is a cluster of stars known as the "Beehive".
If you have a telescope that is capable of following the rotation of the Earth and can mount a camera on it and if you can set it up to take in the area shown in the diagram above, you should easily be able to image the Moon and the Beehive!

Here's hoping we all get some clear skies or a few holes in the cloud cover!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Previous Lunar Eclipse Photo in Sisters Newspaper

Thanks to Jim Hammond and the Sisters Astronomy Club for using one of my prior images of a total lunar eclipse for thier article on next Sunday's eclipse.

Here's the link to it:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sunday, January 13, 2019

First Quarter Moon - Prepping for total lunar eclipse in a week

In hopeful preparation for next Sunday's total lunar eclipse.
However the weather report for that night: snow :^(
First Quarter Moon taken with a Celestron 4SE scope, Canon T3i camera.
Post processed with Luminar to adjust to b&w, contrast and sharpness:

Same image of the First Quarter Moon, January 13, 2019: The original photo was taken in color. I pushed the color saturation up considerably to bring out the various elements present on the surface of the Moon. The colors themselves represent the various types of iron and mineral deposits on the Moon. The blue hues reveal titanium rich areas while orange and purple colors show regions relatively poor in titanium and iron.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Cloudy days are here again!

Clouds, rain and snow are here again!
This year I am going to keep track of the weather in the night skies here.
Already only one day in 7 has had enough clear sky to do some astroimaging.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Year in Review Poster

Annually I am making a poster (8"x12") of the best images I have taken that year. Though this year's imaging was sparse due to winter weather, summer forest fires and more than normal cloudiness, I was surprised to find enough images for this year (2018). Enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

20181227 - The California Nebula and The Pleiades wide field image

Taken with a modified Canon XSI camera with a Canon 50mm lens set at f/3.5, ISO 1600 and exposed for 75 seconds, Celestron Advanced GT mount.
The original image was "over exposed" but I have discovered that that isn't always a bad thing in astrophotography of dim objects. When one "over-exposes" it is easier to increase the contrast and draw more color out. However, I might have been a little over-zealous in this shot!