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Partial Lunar Eclipse

Posted: 4 June 2012

Although the forecast for Friday, 1 June 2012, was for the smoke from the NM fire to go away, there was still obvious smoke in our AZ sky. No observing. Saturday, 2 June, clouds came in, but the smoke was gone. On Sunday, 3 June, I had planned to do a dry-run in preparation for the Transit of Venus, but the sky was cloudy. Fortunately, the sky began clearing in the evening. Monday morning, 4 June, I was able to observe the partial lunar eclipse. Opened the observatory at 0201 MST, 70°F. I first took a quick look at Saturn, very low in the west, 77X. The only moon visible was Titan. I next reset the digital clock to be insync with WWV. Then to the moon for the eclipse. At 77X, the moon was definitely full phase and very bright. I switched to the visual back on the 8" LX200-ACF for D7000 DSLR prime focus imaging. In order to get the entire lunar disk, I had to add a focal reducer. I took this full moon image (cropped) at 0231 MST, 1/1000sec, ISO 100:


Beginning with First Contact at 0300 MST, I took an exposure every 6 minutes. During the eclipse, I did some observing with 7x50 binoculars. At 0348 MST, the Milky Way was visible at the zenith. A minute later, I observed a bright Hubble Space Telescope pass. By 0400 MST, the moon was getting lower in the sky and was starting to go behind a tree. At mid-eclipse, 0403 MST, I captured this image, 1/1000sec, ISO 100:


Although the moon was into a tree, I continued imaging every 6 minutes. I probably should have adjusted the exposure settings sooner, but finally did for the last two images, taken at 0500 MST and 0506 MST, as the partial phase of the eclipse was ending. I used 1/250sec, ISO 100, and 1/200sec, ISO 500, respectively.

Closed the observatory at 0520 MST, 66°F. As I left the observatory, I took this photo of the setting moon using a focal length of 300mm:


I prepared a video of the eclipse. Click the image to view it. For about the first half of the video, the tree was not a factor. But by mid-eclipse, the tree was really impacting the moon's visibility.


If you are using Firefox and can not view the video above, click here to see the full video.

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

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