On April 15th 2014 there was a lunar eclipse. An eclipse that was visible from where I live in Florida. Now I don’t have the opportunity to go out where it is far enough from the city lights (light pollution) to enjoy the eclipse or even take photos that capture the full experience in National Geographic HD quality. However, I did experiment with my simple equipment and limited knowledge of how to take the best photos. I have to say it would be easier to go out and just get the best stuff out there to capture the clearest images or take courses on the whole Astro Photography thing. But, for me the experimentation of using what the average person is able to afford to explore these cosmic events give me a sense of wonder and discovery that is all my own. There are no rules. No limits. Yet the images I end up capturing seem to be exciting enough. The fact that with such low end equipment and such limited knowledge, even I can capture some pretty exciting photos to be proud of. The only advanced “equipment/tools” I use are an iMac and Adobe Photoshop. This allows me to bring forth what I cannot even see with my naked eye. Adjusting the layers upon layers reveals stars or details I would have never noticed by just looking up. Some digital noise too unfortunately.
This time I have a Celestron Telescope. It took me some time to get the hang of assembling and using the telescope. But, once I figured it out I really could just start coming up with primitive ways of taking photos. The recent lunar eclipse was a good opportunity to take photos using the telescope. In the past, I have photographed the eclipse using a small tripod (used for old web cameras), setting the the shutters to lower speeds and letting the camera to automatically take the photos. I got pretty good results then. Using the telescope though…was even better. The challenge came with keeping the pictures from blurring. Low light + long shutter + small eyepiece + hand held camera = BLURRRR.
Without further delay…Here are some of the images I captured that night…..
Lunar Eclipse definition:
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (in “syzygy“) exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon’s location relative to its orbital nodes.
Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth. A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the moon’s shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full moon.