The Subtle Shading of a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse


Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon (Oct 18, 2013)

This is about as subtle as an eclipse can be – a partial penumbral eclipse of the Moon.

I was perfectly positioned to see this eclipse, such as it was. At mid-eclipse when I took this image, the Moon was due south and as high in the sky as it was going to get for the night.

My location was the hotel poolside bar and rooftop patio 10 floors up overlooking the harbour in Malaga, Spain.

Can you see the effect of the eclipse? Barely, perhaps. The Full Moon travelled through the top of the Earth’s penumbral shadow, creating a slight darkening of the lower portion of the Moon. I’ve boosted contrast a lot in processing yet the effect is still barely perceptible.

No matter. With luck, in two weeks time we’ll experience just the opposite – the most spectacular eclipse the sky has to offer, a total eclipse of the Sun.

We set sail tomorrow.

– Alan, October 19, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

 

Moon Over Malaga – Two Weeks Until the Eclipse


Moon Over Malaga, Spain.

On the night of a penumbral eclipse, the Full Moon shines over the harbour on the Mediterranean at Malaga, Spain.

This was the view earlier tonight of the Full Moon from Spain, on the night of a partial penumbral eclipse.

The eclipse had not yet begun when I took this shot in the early evening. But even at mid eclipse at 1 a.m. local time, any darkening from the penumbral shadow would be very tough to photograph with anything but a very long telephoto or telescope, which I don’t have with me on this trip.

The penumbral eclipse of the Moon tonight is the complement of the total eclipse of the Sun in two weeks time. Lunar and solar eclipses usually occur in pairs. It is the total solar eclipse on November 3, half a lunar cycle from now, that is the attraction.

To see it, we leave Spain tomorrow and set sail across the Atlantic – not in this century-old German sailing ship, the Eye of the Wind – but in a modern ship the Star Flyer.

– Alan, October 18, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

The Moon in Spain …


The Moon over Spain - Daytime

… shines mainly on the plane!

These were views seen from my airplane window earlier this evening as we descended into Madrid, Spain. The lighting, direction and timing were perfect for catching the crystal clear gibbous Moon shining in a beautifully clear sky (as it should be from this altitude) with a low Sun illuminating the clouds.

The view below, taken later after sunset, catches the Moon in a twilight sky, with the  shadow of the Earth sharply defined as a dark blue band above the horizon.

The Moon over Spain - Twilight

In two days, on Friday October 18, the Moon passes through the outer part of Earth’s shadow, for a mild penumbral eclipse of the Moon.

I’ll be perfectly positioned in Spain to see it, but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m off to chase not the shadow of the Earth but the shadow of the Moon, as it hits the Earth two weeks after the lunar eclipse. On November 3 worlds will align again for a total eclipse of the Sun across the Atlantic Ocean and central Africa. I’ll be on the ocean.

Internet connections willing, I’ll be blogging from shipboard about the eclipse and views of sea and sky as we cross the Atlantic from Spain to Barbados chasing moonshadows.

– Alan, October 16, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

 

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