2014/04/15 Total Lunar Eclipse

This is the first of a series of 4 consecutive total lunar eclipses visible from US in year 2014 and 2015. This is also the best one for west coast because the Moon is near the culmination at the greatest eclipse. The weather did not cooperate though (as one would always expect), the high cloud partially blocked the Moon almost throughout the entire eclipse; towards the end when the high cloud was about to move out, the marine layer crept in. However during the total phase of the eclipse, the sky cleared up for a short period of time (~20 mins) to show off the beautify of the sky – the red Moon hugged by the red planet Mars and the blue bright star Spica.

I setup my telescope at my backyard due to unfavorable weather. My sons also invited some of their friends to our house to view the eclipse.


Lunar Eclipse Composite


Totality Composite

Red Moon Composite

People also call Total Eclipse “Red Moon” because the Moon looks red or orange during totality. Arguably, this is the most reddish total eclipse I have ever seen, it is deep orange red during totality, as shown (though not exactly the same color) in the following picture taken near the greatest eclipse.


00h52m03s, 5s @ ISO400, Manual WB)
Blood Moon

Red is not the only color in total eclipse, believe or not, there is also blue color if you observe carefully. As explained in this link, “However, light passing through the upper stratosphere penetrates the ozone layer, which absorbs red light and actually makes the passing light ray bluer.”. “The blue color — which can sometimes be seen on the rim of Earth’s shadow against the moon — is best observed through a small telescope or binoculars during the first and last moments of totality”.


00h03m38s, 1s @ ISO400
Turquoise Moon


00h05m37s, 2.5s @ ISO400
Turquoise Moon

A few more pictures which highlight the progress of the eclipse.


23h28m06s, 1/250s @ ISO400
Half Moon and Crater Tycho


23h55m43s, 1/2s @ ISO400
Crescent Moon and Earth Shadow

The time of the eclipse:
The 1st contact: 22:58:19
The 2nd contact: 00:06:47
The greatest eclipse: 00:45:40
The 3rd contact: 01:24:35
The 4th contact: 02:33:04

Location: Sunnyvale, CA
– AT111EDT
– AT72ED
– Canon T3i

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