January 2019 (Blood Moon) Lunar Eclipse

This Sunday, January 20th, marks one of the major astronomical events for 2019 with a Total (Blood Moon) Lunar Eclipse.

One of the best things about this type of eclipse is that generally speaking 50% of the Earth will have visibility to it, including totality vs. a Total Solar Eclipse which viewers need to cram into a roughly 50 mile wide swath.

For this eclipse, North and South America will get the best show (weather permitting of course). The festivities will start on the 20th of January and traverse midnight into the 21st of January. For those on the East Coast the festivities will start off low-key at around 21:30 local time and really start picking up about an hour later with totality starting a little over an hour after that. For time-zones further West work back about an hour for each zone and you’ll wind up with roughly the right timing.

Lunar Eclipse at Totality – ~00:14 Eastern Local Time (Stellarium)
click for larger image

One of the better online resources you can visit for times is the Time and Date site (link: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/). This site will allow you to easily view the timing of different phases of the eclipse for your specific location.

Assuming you have clear skies, this is an excellent event because you won’t need any special equipment to get some very real enjoyment out of it. And yes, for anyone who as not witnessed a total lunar eclipse, the moon will change color to a copper or red.

For those looking for more information, or to possibly check out other past and upcoming eclipses the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center publishes information about eclipses. Information about lunar eclipses, including the upcoming one (see chart below as well), can be found here: https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/lunar.html

NASA GFSC – https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2019Jan21T.pdf
click for larger image or visit the original link

For those wondering why this might be. The red color is caused because the Earth is covering, and blocking, all of the direct sunlight that would normally shine on the Moon during its full phase. At the same time, light is still passing through the Earths’ atmosphere. The light that goes through the atmosphere is refracted which causes the shorter wavelengths of the spectrum (you know, that ROYGBIV thing you learned in school) to be directed at the surface of the moon. Resulting in the Red/Orange coloring on the moons surface. Just think of what it must look like facing the Earth from the surface of the Moon!

The Blood Moon (Lunar Eclipse) of October 2014

Correction: My sincerest apologies to the month of October, I apparently was very tired when I made this post and claimed this happened in the future during the month of November.  This was not correct and have updated what I can to correct this mistake, the eclipse happened in October and all pictures are from then.

Early this morning in US time zones the early birds certainly got the worm if there were clear skies and they happened to look toward the Western setting Moon.  A lunar eclipse, this one known as the Blood Moon, began early this morning and is just finishing up as the Moon sets in the West.  I managed to make it outside for a little while this morning in the relatively nice fall morning weather to catch a few pictures of it. Unfortunately, there was some cloud cover and haze which made for some challenging photography. Even so, I did manage to get a few relatively good shots which I've now uploaded into the gallery (see link below image). I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed taking them.


Moon and Star Fields in Wisconsin

While on a short vacation I managed to get a few reasonable skyward shots with my Nikon D80 and thought I'd share them with everyone. The first several in the set are of the moon as it was coming up and the last are long exposure shots with wider angles and tree leaves lit from below by a fire and porch light.

Moon and Stars in Wisconsin Gallery

Unfortunately, I didn't have a tripod or a battery for my remote so all shots were manual and had to be a little more simple than I would have otherwise tried to get.  Still, I think they turned out alright for what I had to work with.

June 4th 2012 Lunar Eclipse

On top of the wonderful Partial Solar Eclipse that was visible throughout most of the Western United States, Pacific and parts of Eastern Asia on May 20th 2012, we have another event right around the corner, a partial Lunar Eclipse on June 4th 2012.

For specific details (especially national details) we encourage you to look at NASA's eclipse page: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2012.html

This eclipse will not be as spectacular as the previously mentioned Solar Eclipse but it is certainly worth a viewing if you're awake early on the morning of Monday, June 4th 2012.  The eclipse will be visible in the U.S. leading up to Moonset (Just prior to Sunrise since the Moon is also full) across the country.  From Lawrence, KS the Eclipse show will start at approximately 0500 local time and end for local viewers when the Moon sets sometime between 0545 and 0600 depending on your vantage point looking West.

We have created a video using Stellarium (http://www.stellarium.org) to provide an example of what the eclipse might look like looking at it from a good vantage point near Lawrence, KS.

YouTube Video: June 4th 2012, Lunar Eclipse – Lawrence, KS