Shadow on Shadow

I had a plan for this eclipse.

Partially eclipsed Moon rising above the shadow of Mauna Kea
A partially eclipsed Moon rises just above the shadow of Mauna Kea on January 20th, 2019.

I needed a quiet day to work on some code in the Keck 2 dome control PLC. One problem, every time I load code the dome lights go out. Guys working in the dome tend to object to the lights going out randomly.

Answer? Go up on a weekend when there as only a couple guys on duty and not a lot of work going on. I can have the whole telescope and dome to myself most of the day.

There is also a total lunar eclipse.

The plan… Schedule myself to work Sunday, January 20th. Go up and work on the PLC code, then just stay late and watch a sunset lunar eclipse. Pack a few cameras, pack a small telescope, pack a dinner along with my lunch… I made quiche.

This eclipse was a sunset eclipse, with the eclipse already in progress at moonrise. No need to stay up late for this one, I could watch totality and head for home at a reasonable hour.

Another part of the plan was to shoot the Moon rising above the mountain shadow. Since I was shooting, may as well go all out… Two cameras setup to shoot time lapse were deployed as well.

Jan 20, 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse
Jan 20, 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse

During totality I setup a small ‘scope to shoot a few frames of the Moon. The photos do not do justice of the sublimely beautiful view in the eyepiece. the eclipsed Moon floated in a sea of background stars. The on-duty telescope operators took turns coming out to take a look, everyone enjoying the early evening eclipse.

As totality ended I broke down the telescope, packed up the cameras and bid farewell to the night crew. On the way down I noted that I was not alone on the mauna, there were cars everywhere, it seemed like half the island population had come up to the mauna to enjoy the event. The summits and saddle region the only section of the island free of clouds.

I did finish the PLC code.

Enjoying a lunar eclipse from the summit of Mauna Kea
Enjoying a lunar eclipse from the summit of Mauna Kea

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

2 thoughts on “Shadow on Shadow”

  1. So nice shot of u? We had perfect conditions here in hilo. Unlike u we were cold but not frozen.
    Maybe a bunch of us can show our shots at the next WHACO meeting. Glad u got tge code fixed tho.
    Hi to Joy and deb
    Dan/ pizza/ diver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *