Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse

Well, didn't get to see the Geminids due to clouds, or the Moon Pleiades conjunction, again due to clouds and snow, but 3rd times the charm, got to see and image a very rare Winter Solstice Total Eclipse of the Moon, WOO HOO! Hasn't been one for over 300 years and the next won't happen till 2094.

Touch and go up to the event whether or not I was going to see it at all, was a light cloud cover throughout but my good ole faithful Moon burnt through to put on quite the show, I hope and actually know some of you got to see it, Astro-Nuts was with and he got some great pics, JJ got some great images as well as Genie, as of this writing Genie and Astro-Nuts have only posted to FB, anyone else get pics just send me some and I will post here.

Went pretty smooth cept for the fact I almost killed myself, as I was carrying my 90 pound scope across my slippy deck to mount it on the tripod I slipped and would have gone down if not for the fact there was a bbq behind me which kept me up, man that so would have sucked. All good in the end and got the shots, 240 of them, I hope to stitch them together soon into a movie, which I will post. Last but not least, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Space Goings On for December

Finally, after almost 3 years we will be treated to a Total Lunar Eclipse starting at 1:32 am EST. December 21. I took the above image during the last Total Lunar Eclipse, February 20, 2008. If you live in North America and miss this one you'll be waiting awhile for the next...April 2014. If you look real close, preferably with binocs just before and right after totality you'll see a beautiful turquoise color, like the above image.

During a Lunar Eclipse, the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, you see the reddish brown on the Moon as the result of the Sunlight going through the Earth's stratosphere which absorbs the blues and allows the reds through to the Moon's surface, much like our lower atmosphere does during Sunrises/sets. Just before and after totality some of the Sunlight reaches into the Ozone layer which absorbs the reds and allows the blues through to the Lunar surface, just an fyi. Later that day, we have the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, now the good thing about that is after it occurs the days will be getting longer, sweet.

December 13th look to the East for the Geminids Meteor Shower, they have actually started right now but will peak in numbers around 2 am, EST. December 14. If not for my Fisheye lens I would not have been so lucky to capture the low Geminid back in 2008. I was actually out to capture an Ursid Meteor in the Big Dipper near the end of December when by a total fluke caught the latecomer Geminid. Cool thing about low meteors is the dust in the lower atmosphere tends to make them more colorful, like the green above.

On December 18th the Moon and Pleiades will be getting together. If you can score a pair of binocs do so. They are a perfect celestial couple and look awesome through them and since the Moon will be near full it will kind of wash out the Pleiades, the binocs will help make them more visible. I will give reminders here as well and weather permitting take and post the images here.