Late in the day on Thursday October 23rd, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun and obstruct part of it. This partial eclipse will occur at sunset on the east coast. Nearly all of the states will have the opportunity to see a crescent shape to the Sun. Southern states will see about 40% of the Sun eclipsed. Northern will see over 60% eclipsed.
Below this graphic is an excellent video from the staff of Science@NASA which explains more about the eclipse and some interesting things to try to see. Now all we need is good weather. I will talk to my sources to see if it can be arranged.
Additional details can be found at this article from the editors of Sky & Telescope. I suggest you take a look.
Sky & Telescope | Leah Tiscione
Two elm trees died on the property line between our house and our neighbor. We decided to split the cost and have them removed before they dropped dead branches and damaged our houses or injured a person. Their trunks were 14″ and 24″ in diameter. Equipment could not get to them between the houses. They couldn’t be dropped into a yard due to lack of space. In came the heavy duty 80 ft crane to my driveway. Because of its size, I had to sign a waiver for possible damage to the concrete. Nothing happened to the concrete.
Click these to embiggen
Note: This lunar eclipse is the second of four in a tetrad. I wrote about the tetrad in April 2014.
I left the house a little after 5 AM and drove the half mile to my usual dark location on the north side of town. The sky was clear and seeing was good. The Moon, low in the western sky, was already well into the partial phase of eclipse. Totality was going to occur in 10 minutes. The Sun was still not showing any sign of twilight to the east. I scanned the sky for familiar constellations. Orion was high to the south. As I looked back toward the darkening Moon, a meteor passed. That might be a good omen I thought.
I set up the camera and tripod, tried a few test exposures, and decided which settings I would use. I have a Fuji FinePix s602z that is 12 yrs old. It isn’t fancy. I come from the old school of manual cameras and film. This camera gives me a lot of control. I don’t care for fully automatic features. Plus, I get good quality digital images.
Now, a little science about a lunar eclipse. This occurs when the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. The Moon orbits slowly from west to east, taking about a month to go around. Earth’s shadow is rather large. Odds are good that the Moon will align such that it passes through the shadow a couple of times each year. When it is wholly within the umbra part of the shadow, it is called a total lunar eclipse. That happened this morning.
This graphic from NASA shows the Earth’s umbra, darkest part of the shadow, which the Moon passed through. It is oriented with N north pointing toward the north star Polaris in the sky as viewed in the low western sky. The Moon moved from the lower right toward the upper left as it traveled west to east. My photographs begin at point U2 when the Moon just enters the umbra and end at U3 when the Moon emerges from the umbra.
Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html
Show me more and your photographs.
Our hike along the west rim was timed well. This lone tree on the hill was perfectly placed at sunset as we returned along the trail. The Rio Grande flows from Colorado to the south through northern New Mexico just west of Taos.
September 30, 2014
As you plan your month of October, remember to include some events that will occur in the sky. Mars sees the passage of a comet very close to its surface. There is a total lunar eclipse followed two weeks later by a partial solar eclipse. Both eclipses are visible in North America. NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory have provided this brief video. Enjoy the shows.