Total Eclipse of the Moon (December 10, 2011) #3

This is my favourite shot from the December 10 dawn eclipse. It’s the one I was after, with the red Moon in a blue sky over the snow-covered Rockies.

Lunar eclipses don’t have the dramatic and sudden effects of a total eclipse of the Sun. But neither do they have the anxiety and sometimes sheer panic! Lunar eclipses are more stately affairs as they play out in a relaxed manner over 2 to 3 hours. But they are beautiful nonetheless, especially when the Moon is low in the sky and set above a scenic landscape at moonrise or, as it was with this eclipse, at moonset.

The red colouration of the Moon makes the scene, as the Moon, embedded in Earth’s shadow, becomes lit by the light of all the sunsets and sunrises going on around the world at once. If Earth had no atmosphere the Moon would go completely black during a total eclipse. But besides making life on Earth possible (no small thing!), our atmosphere also provides us the wonderful sight of a red Moon during a total eclipse. Take a deep breath and enjoy!

— Alan, December 10, 2011 / Image  © 2011 Alan Dyer



Total Eclipse of the Moon (December 10, 2011) #1

It has been a long time between Blog posts, with no new astrophotos from me for a while. But the drought ends due to thankfully fine conditions for the total eclipse of the Moon, on Saturday morning, December 10.

Skies were wonderful and the conditions actually pleasant for a winter morning at 6 a.m. For us in southern Alberta, the Moon went into eclipse as it descended into the western sky in the pre-dawn hours. The timing wasn’t convenient, but the view more than made up for the effort of getting up at 3 a.m. to drive west out of cloud to the Rothney Observatory. Their location in the foothills proved clear and perfect for looking west, to see the Moon over the Rockies.

This is one of my earlier shots in the 3-hour event, taken just before totality began, when the Moon was still in a dark sky. The camera was on a tracking platform to keep the stars from trailing during the 30 second exposure, causing the ground to trail instead.

You can see the Pleiades cluster at right, and Betelgeuse in Orion at left.

This was the last total eclipse of the Moon anywhere in the world until April 14, 2014.

— Alan, December 10, 2011 / Image © Alan Dyer 2011


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