We had a very successful imaging run for the Total Lunar Eclipse on the night of 2/20-21. The weather was iffy with a cold front passing through Central Florida the afternoon of the 20th. We had rain and some pretty heavy wind in the wee hours the night before. There were even some clouds floating through during the first penumbral phase of the eclipse itself, but they cleared out completely before first Umbral contact.
I used the excellent Lunar Eclipse Maestro software to control the two cameras. I used both the Canon 6D on the main KPO 18″ Reflector to get the large images, and a piggybacked Canon 60D with my 100-400mm L zoom lens for wider field shots.
This poster is the combination of images from the main events of the eclipse. Click on the image for a MUCH larger version.
Main Contact Event Images
The below images are the individual shots of the main events. Click on the respective image to view a larger version.
Uneclipsed (actually from the initial penumbral phase)
The Penumbra is the fainter, outer shadow of the Earth. Although the shadow is partially across the lunar disc in this picture, it is very had to detect.
Umbra First Contact (U1; Partial Eclipse Begins))
Here we see the Earth’s Umbral shadow just starting to encroach upon the lunar disc. The Umbra is the darker, center shadow of the Earth, and is responsible for the main effects of the eclipse.
Between U1 and U2 (50% immersed)
Here we are well into the Partial phase of the eclipse, with the Moon being about halfway immersed in the Umbra.
Umbra Seconds Contact (U2: Total Eclipse begins)
Here is the start of the Total Eclipse, when the Moon is fully within the Umbral shadow.
Maximum Eclipse (halfway between U2 and U3)
This is supposedly the deepest the Moon will be enveloped in the Umbra. The orange color is due to refraction of light around the Earth; basically the same effect that makes the Sun orange or red when it is setting.
Umbra Third Contact (U3: Total Eclipse ends)
Here is the event un which the Total Eclipse comes to an end, and the Moon begins to emerge from the Umbral shadow.
Between U3 and U4 (50% immersed)
Similar to the image above, here is a shot of the Moon about halfway out of Earth’s darker shadow.
Umbra Fourth Contact (U4: End of Partial Eclipse)
All good things must come to an end. And so it is with this Lunar Eclipse. This event is when the Moon has escaped from the darker Umbral shadow of the Earth.
From the 60D shots I was able to put together a short movie showing the motion of the Moon in front of the background stars of Cancer. This type of movie can only be captured during a total lunar eclipse, because the stars normally can’t be seen near the limb of the moon (because it is so bright). The eclipsed moon was intentionally overexposed in this series to allow the capture of more background stars.
Full Eclipse Timelapse
And here is the final movie showing the full eclipse through the KPO Reflector.