This rare celestial event hasn't happened before in my lifetime
|The Total Lunar Eclipse - September 27, 2015 - Photo by Trevor Jones|
UPDATE - 11:19PM
The clouds parted and I got some killer views of the Supermoon Eclipse!
I am very excited about the total eclipse of the "supermoon" on the night of September 27-28, 2015, and you should be too! This full moon happens to be the closest one to Earth of the year, ( Approximately 220,000 miles away instead of its average 240,000 miles) making it a "supermoon". During this total lunar eclipse, the moon will appear about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter! Up here in Canada, this is considered to be the Harvest Moon, or full moon nearest to the September equinox. This September full moon is also called a Blood Moon, because it's the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad.
This is what really makes this total lunar eclipse an extra special event. Keep in mind that total lunar eclipses are rare, only about 1 out of every 3 lunar eclipses are total eclipses. Only about 4-5 total eclipses can be seen at any place on Earth in a decade. Eventually, 4 total lunar eclipses will happen in a row - 6 months apart from each other - this is referred to as lunar tetrad.
|Image Credit - timeanddate.com|
Watching a total lunar eclipse is an unbelievable experience for any astronomy nerd like myself. The fact that you are watching our planet's shadow block the light from the sun to our nearest neighbour in the sky is an incredible thought. The once normally bright white moon will turn an orange red, an almost frightening phenomenon. The total lunar eclipse is visible from the most of North America and all of South America after sunset September 27th. The last Supermoon eclipse was back in 1982 - before I was born! The next one won't happen until 2033.
Where and When the Lunar Eclipse of September 2015 will take place
|Image Credit - Sky and Telescope|
Tips for Photographing the Event
First off, you will get much better shots of the moon that will actually show detail if you shoot though a telescope or long telephoto lens. A shot through a standard camera lens or smartphone will produce an image of the Moon that's too small to record the detail you can see with your unaided eye. A minimum focal length of 300mm is recommeded for a decent shot. If you are using a point and shoot camera, zoom out as far as possible, and keep the camera steady. A tripod (or better yet a tracking mount) is a must for a steady shot.
I will be using a Canon 70D through a telescope using an adapter. The live-view and flip-out screen make adjusting the exposures on-the-fly a breeze.
Experiment with different exposures and ISO settings in manual mode, using live-view to make sure you have not under/over exposed the image. The shortest exposures will only be useful during the partial stages of the lunar eclipse, as the eclipse is beginning and ending. When the moon enters totality, you will need to bump up your ISO, and/or your exposure length to reveal the disk of the Moon. This will put your tripod and steady hands to the test. Make sure to use a timer or external shutter release to avoid any movement!
|The Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8th, 2014|
I hope you enjoy this rare sky event with your friends and family on Sunday. I will be watching the event with my Astronomy Club in Niagara Falls, Ontario. My fingers are crossed that the weather cooperates! Good luck, and I hope you get some good photos!
Labels: 2015, Astronomy, Astrophotography, Blood Moon, Camera, Celestial Event, Full Moon, Harvest Moon, Lunar Tetrad, Night Sky, photography, Rare, September, Supermoon, Tips, Total Lunar Eclipse