Lunar Eclipse 10/8/14

So this is late. But oh well.

The lunar eclipse was looming and my normal set up spots are both heavily obscured to the west. This is going to be problematic as the eclipse will be taking place as the moon sets and the sun rises. There was a little discussion among fellow amerature astronomers on where to set up. I went on google earth to find a flat area with a clear western view. I found a boat landing in a very light polluted area. But since the moon is bright and big, the light pollution wouldn’t be an issue. I shared my finding on our facebook page and a fellow amerature astronomer and astrophotographer agreed this would be a suitable spot to view and image. We plotted to be there and set up by 4am. I set my alarm for 330am. I woke up, made it the my living room and sat on the couch for a moment. I sighed and debated going back to bed. I decided since there was probably a fellow club member who would be there, it would be rude to stand him up. There were quite a few clouds still out. I have a bad habit of seeing a few clouds, not setting up only to find out things cleared and I missed a great night. So I quietly packed up as to not wake the dogs and headed out. I scanned through my iTunes to find some good jams to wake up to and decided on Weezer, the blue record. Man, that was a good call. On my drive I drank a monster and did my best Rivers Cuomo. Before I knew it, the 30 or so minute drive was over and I was navigating the confusing parking lot. I could see the SUV of one of the fellow members and finally made my way over there. We set up on the sidewalk right at the boat ramps. It was just us two. The clouds had cleared nicely and the moon was visible the whole ride in. Of course as I put my OTA on the tripod and got ready to do my 2 star align, the clouds rolled in covering the moon and all identifiable stars. A huge cloud system was over the moon. I could see the direction the clouds were moving and could tell the moon would be clear in a few minutes. Right as the eclipse started the moon became visible from behind the wall of clouds. The stars behind us were still obscured so I would have to image with no tracking. We experimented with different ISO and shutter speeds through the morning. About 30 minutes in to the event cars started arriving and leaving. People on their way to work were stopping by to get a view. Another photographer without a telescope showed up and imaged on the beach. There were passing clouds that blocked the moon from time to time but overall the morning was fairly successful. A group of bridge repairmen and others came by and asked us a few questions. As the sky became brighter, the Moon became washed out and capturing the red color was very difficult. All in all, it was a good outing. I am glad I made it out. I ended up with between 150-200 shots. I didn’t use but a couple of them. I did most of the processing work that day with only a couple of hours of sleep and a ton of caffeine. This makes for poor focus and rushed work.


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