2011/12/10 Total Lunar Eclipse

I drove up to Henry Coe state park for its excellent western horizon despite of the poor weather forecast. The mid and high clouds rolled in and covered most of the sky before midnight. At 3:30AM, about an hour before the first contact, the high clouds finally broke up. I setup my telescopes quickly – AT111EDT for imaging and AT72 for visual. Weather remained favorable throughout the eclipse, scattered high clouds came and went, only blocked the moon from time to time.
LunarEclipse_20111210_compositeThis composite combines 12 photos taken between the first contact and greatest eclipse.


This composite shows the change of the brightness and color of the Moon, prior to and throughout the totality.

LunarEclipse_20111210_FirstContact_CompositeThis 11-pane composite shows the shape of the Moon while approaching the 2nd contact.



04h12m57s, 1/400s @ ISO200
Full moon


04h36m47s, 1/400s @ ISO200
~10 min before the 1st contact, the shadow of the Earth was already visible


05h15m59s, 1/320s @ ISO200
the Moon was covered by half


05h29m01s, 1/125s @ ISO200
Tycho was about to be covered


05h52m27s, 1s @ ISO200
the Moon was visible in Earth shadow


06h01m34s, 1/8s @ ISO200
Crescent Moon


06h01m58s, 5s @ ISO200
Colorful Moon

In this 5s exposure, in addition to the usual red/orange color of the lunar eclipse, if you look closer you will also notice pinkish and blueish color (turquoise) near the shadow of the Earth.


06h15m30s , 5s @ ISO200
Red Moon

The eclipse coincided with Geminids which peaked on 12~13th. Since the moon conveniently located near the radiant, my kid and I were awarded with about a dozen of meteors.

The sky started to brighten at 2nd contact. The moon became fainter and fainter, as the sky brightened and the moon set in the clouds/haze .At the greatest eclipse the moon became so faint that it was difficult to spot. At 6:40AM, last sight of the moon disappeared over the silicon valley.


My kid and telescopes

Partial Eclipse Begins: 4:45:42 PST
Total Eclipse Begins: 6:06:16 PST
Greatest Eclipse: 6:31:49 PST
Total Eclipse Ends: 6:57:24 PST
Partial Eclipse Ends: 8:17:58 PST

Location: Henry Coe state park, Morgan Hill, CA
– AT111EDT + AT72ED
– Canon XS