Normally when I see a partial lunar eclipse on the calendar I do not take much note. As a partial will not create the deep red Moon that makes a lunar eclipse so striking, it is not something that I usually make a point to view.
This eclipse was a bit different. As this was a very deep partial, only a few percent of the Moon remaining in the sunlight, it should look pretty good… And it did. I setup the little TV-76mm scope to snap a few photos.
Even a not quite total lunar eclipse can be quite nice. Since this eclipse occured just a few degrees from the Pleiades star cluster it was possible to frame both in the camera with a wider field of view. Thus I changed to a classic 100mm f/2.8 Canon FD lens to shoot a few of the cluster and the eclipsed Moon.
Of course this means I will get to sleep at midnight and need to get up at 5am for work. The price I will pay for staying up to watch an eclipse.
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.
This evening will feature a sunset total lunar eclipse visible across the islands. The eclipsed Moon will rise just as the Sun sets on the opposite horizon.
The eclipse will be just underway as the Moon rises on Hawaii island, with the Moon rising at almost exactly 18:00HST and the total phase of the eclipse starting 41 minutes later. Maximum will occur at 19:12HST with the Moon 14° above the horizon.
The next full Moon on January 20th, will feature a sunset total lunar eclipse visible across the islands. The eclipsed Moon will rise just as the Sun sets on the opposite horizon.
The eclipse will be just underway as the Moon rises on the island of Hawaii, with the Moon rising at almost exactly 18:00HST and the total phase of the eclipse starting 41 minutes later. Maximum will occur at 19:12HST with the Moon 14° above the horizon.
Many references state that the eclipse will occur on January 21st, and it will, in time zones further east than us here in Hawaii. We are ten hours behind UT, thus it will be the evening of the 20th when the eclipse occurs in the islands.
An easy to view evening eclipse, no reason not to get out and view this one, no need for an alarm clock!
2019 is looking to be a pretty ordinary year for events, with a few decent events to look forward to. The highlights will be a sunset total lunar eclipse on January 20th, the η-Aquariids meteor shower in early May, a transit of Mercury in November, and a nice set of planetary conjunctions in the sunset and sunrise.
There are dozens of posts scheduled here on DarkerView to remind my readers of these and many more events before they occur. Frankly, I need the reminder myself. Stay tuned for all of the great events the sky of 2019 will offer us.
The remainder of this post is a quick summary of the events our sky has to offer in 2019.
Having recently viewed a total solar eclipse I have been thinking about the experience. What it was like to observe first hand a truly incredible spectacle of nature? A total solar eclipse is about as dramatic an event our world can produce.
This is not my first total solar eclipse, but that first eclipse was back in 1979, occurring 38 years ago, my memories dimmed by the passage of time. This event is still bright in my mind, the memories bolstered by numerous photographs and a couple video records.
The experience was astonishing. For the first thirty seconds or so I simply sat in amazement, observing the eclipse and the world around me. Despite old memories and numerous photos I was still amazed by the sight. I knew what was coming, but I was to some extent unprepared for the sight before me. Eventually I gathered my thoughts and took some photos before the fleeting moments of totality expired.
In these modern times we rarely encounter a natural phenomena we are completely unprepared for. Prior to the event we have seen photographs or video, read descriptions from others. We generally know what we are about to encounter beforehand, or at least have a name and a cause we can understand when caught by surprise.
Imagine if that was not the case, consider seeing a total solar eclipse when you have never seen one, never even heard of such a thing, and do not know something is about to happen.