Monday, September 28, 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse, September 27-28 2015

Jill and I went eclipse chasing this evening.  I did initial research on the Clear Dark Sky site to see what conditions were going to be like.  After digging, I decided that somewhere south and east of Briggsdale was likely to have clear skies.  We ended up on the grounds of an old church called Osgood Church.  We were greeted by this raptor, which we took as an auspicious omen:


We were rewarded with gorgeous skies - only a few wispy clouds floated through occasionally.  Here is an all-sky shot taken with my Canon EF 8-15mm f/4.0L lens on a Canon 5DmkII camera that shows how nice the skies were:


Jill and I are there in the foreground next to the telescopes.  You can see the eclipsed Moon, as well as the Milky Way and the skyglow from Fort Morgan, Sterling, and smaller towns off past the horizon.

For the eclipse photos, I used a Canon 7DmkII camera on an Orion ED80T CF refractor - an 80mm diameter, f/6.0 480mm focal length triplet.  I mounted it all on my handy portable iOptron MiniTower Pro.  We were nearly faced with disaster when my inverter failed to power on - fortunately, our Jeep had plenty of 12V power to drive the mount.

I took shots every two minutes - and will eventually make an animation - but here is one of the better shots at mid-eclipse:


This was a 4 second exposure at ISO 3200.  In between my every-two-minute exposures, I wandered around and took pictures of our surroundings.  Here is another selfie of Jill and me with the eclipse - 30 second exposure, ISO 3200, Canon EF100-400mm f/5.6L lens on the 5DmkII - the long exposure streaked the moon and stars):

 

Here is a context view of our trusty steed, my telescope setup, and Jill taking pictures with her camera, with the church in the background.  Taken by moonlight, hand-held (I love image stabilization...)


I got one shot of the ending partial phase near the chimney of the church - I used a flash to fill in the foreground and tightened down the aperture to f/18 to increase the depth of field:


Staying up for another couple of hours, I made this collage and then went to bed.  Some time later this week I'll try for an animation.


Edit: I must have been sleep-deprived last night.  I re-used a template I had made for the 2010 Lunar Eclipse and forgot that it had a left-right reversal built in due to the fact that those photos had been taken with a mirror diagonal.  Here is the corrected collage:


Edit: here is the YouTube time-lapse video I made: