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Home Forums Observing and Imaging Group Timings for the Total Lunar Eclipse

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  • #11788
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    In case people are thinking of viewing the Total Lunar Eclipse in the early hours of tomorrow morning (Monday 28 September), here are the timings of the eclipse from Greenwich:

    • 1.11am: Penumbral Eclipse begins
    • 2:07am: Partial Eclipse begins
    • 3.11am: Total Eclipse begins
    • 3.47am: Maximum Eclipse
    • 4.23am: Total Eclipse ends
    • 5.27am: Partial Eclipse ends
    • 6.22am: Penumbral Eclipse ends

    The Moon should appear completely red between 3.11am and 4.23am.

    The weather forecast is suggesting that we may have some clear skies tonight / early Monday morning. I may pop up to Blackheath (at our usual location) from about 3am to view the total eclipse. If anyone is interested in coming along, let me know. This is as a privately organised activity, and not a Flamsteed event.

    #11789
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    Bulletin just issued by the BAA:

    TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HARVEST MOON TONIGHT

    In the early hours of tomorrow morning, 28 September, there will be a total eclipse of the Moon. Eclipses of the Moon occur when the Full Moon (in this case the Harvest Moon) passes through the cone of shadow cast by the Earth into space. Weather permitting this will be the first total lunar eclipse to be visible in its entirety from the UK and Ireland since 2008, and there won’t be another until 2019.

    The eclipse begins at 00:12 UT (01:12 BST) when the Moon enters the fainter outer part of the Moon’s shadow known as the penumbra. The main phase of the eclipse begins at 01:07 UT (02:07 BST) when the Moon first enters the central, dark part of the Moon’s shadow known as the umbra. It is at this stage that it will become very obvious that a lunar eclipse is underway. From London the Moon will be 35 degrees above the south-south-western horizon at this time.

    The eclipse becomes total at 02:11 UT (03:11 BST) and lasts for a full 1 hour 12 minutes, ending at 03:23 UT (04:23 BST). Mid-eclipse is at 02:47 UT (03:47 BST). As the Moon will be passing through the more southerly part of the Earth’s umbral shadow, it is probable that the Moon’s southern limb will appear relatively bright during totality, fading to rather darker further north.

    The partial eclipse ends at 04:27 UT (05:27 BST), when the Moon exits the umbra. By this time the Moon will be only 13 degrees above the western horizon (from London) and dawn twilight will be breaking towards the east – with the brilliant Venus nicely on display if the sky is clear. The faint penumbral phase finally ends at 05:22 UT (06:22 BST).

    One never quite knows how dark or how bright a lunar eclipse will be. Everything depends on the conditions in the Earth’s upper atmosphere through which all light falling onto the shadowed Moon has to pass. There have been eclipses when the Moon has been difficult to find even with a telescope, while at other eclipses it has remained bright red or vividly coloured. The Moon appears a reddish hue because of Rayleigh scattering – the same effect that causes sunrises and sunsets to appear reddish – and the refraction of that light by the Earth’s atmosphere into its umbral shadow.

    This total lunar eclipse takes place at the Moon’s descending node in Pisces, with the Moon just one hour past its closest approach to Earth in 2015 at mid-eclipse, an event that is nowadays often called a ‘supermoon’, although this term is not particularly well defined. The Moon’s apparent diameter will be 33′ 28″.

    Some further information on this eclipse may be found on page 14 of the 2015 BAA Handbook, and also at:

    http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2015Sep28T.pdf

    Please send any images or other observations of this event to the BAA Lunar Section.

    This e-bulletin issued by:
    Dr John Mason
    BAA Press and Publicity Officer

    #11790
    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 188
    Replies: 409

    We will hàve full eclipse at 11.17pm tonight.

    #11791
    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 188
    Replies: 409

    Would you believe over 100 people turned up, but we had to contened with cloud. Missed the full eclipse.

    #11792
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    Well, for once, we had perfect conditions. A superb lunar eclipse. Still processing my images, but here is the first one… taken from Blackheath this morning:

    Lunar Eclipse above Blackheath by Mike Meynell[/url], on Flickr

    I’ll post more later today.

    #11793
    BillOB
    Participant
    Topics: 21
    Replies: 38

    I went out to our car park to watch.

    Tried to resize picture because it was oversize (2000k+).
    Piffle, I will try again after sleep.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by BillOB.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by BillOB.
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    #11813
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    Here’s one of the end of totality:

    Lunar Eclipse Blackheath – End of Totality by Mike Meynell[/url], on Flickr

    #11830
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    An image showing the full progression of the lunar eclipse:

    Lunar Eclipse Blackheath 28 September 2015 by Mike Meynell[/url], on Flickr

    #11831
    Simon Hurst
    Participant
    Topics: 11
    Replies: 36

    Lovely Images Mike

    #11835
    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 134
    Replies: 604

    Some great images there, Mike. Brian, I can’t believe what bad luck you had. We even had great conditions in Scotland – well, great viewing conditions, it was just the physical effort of doing anything at 3.45 in the morning that was against me.

    So here’s my effort:

    Galloway supermoon

    Two things struck me when taking the picture. The first was that, to the naked eye, the moon looked a bit reddish, but mostly quite greyish, like it had been wiped with a dirty rag. It lacked the quite vibrant blood-red hue of the photograph. I wonder if non-astronomers using eyeballs and not cameras were left in anyway disappointed. Or perhaps hardier souls who watched more of the eclipse than I did had a better ‘show’ as the morning progressed.

    The photograph was taken at 3.55am – just a few minutes after the mid-point of totality – so the other thing that I’ve been wondering about is the fact that the east-facing limb of the Moon is considerably better lit than the rest of it. Given that the Moon is entirely within the Earth’s umbra, that was a surprise. I reckon there’s two possible (non-mutually exclusive) explanations:

    ◾Even though the photo was taken just 10 minutes after the mid-point, it may be that the Moon had already moved sufficiently eastwards for it to shift more towards the sunrise side of the Earth and away from the sunset side, slightly affecting how the light was scattered across the surface of the Moon.

    ◾The other possible explanation that occurred to me was whether there was any atmospheric impact – such as more cloudy weather on the sunset side of the Earth compared to the sunrise side.

    Or there may be a third explanation…!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Andy Sawers. Reason: limb correction
    #11837
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    the moon looked a bit reddish, but mostly quite greyish, like it had been wiped with a dirty rag

    Yes, it wasn’t as red to the eye as it was via the camera sensor, but that’s not unusual. Maybe there is less dust in the atmosphere where you were, so the colour wasn’t as vibrant as you might have expected.

    the east-facing limb of the Moon is considerably better lit than the rest of it

    The brightest part of the lunar surface gradually moved from the south to the east of the Moon over the course of the eclipse. If you look at my image when it was at maximum, the brightest area was already to the south-east limb (i.e. bottom-left). It didn’t take long for it to move due east. Remember, the eclipse was only 70 minutes in length. If you look at the diagram from NASA, you’ll see that the umbra isn’t that big, so any movement from one part of the umbra to another will bring limb brightening.

    #11838
    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 134
    Replies: 604

    Thanks for that, Mike. It’s certainly true that there’s less dust up here than you guys had – though for once I think that played in your favour!

    #11840
    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 188
    Replies: 409

    Sore neck today due to looking straight up last night. I may have got a couple of good shots, will check properly when I get home.

    #11841
    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 39
    Replies: 597

    Sorry, I am bit late to the after event party as I just arrived from doing a little exploring around Hastings. I am glad everyone seem to have had clear skies (Brian, sorry about your bad luck with totality but I hope the partial eclipse still wowed your crowd)

    Wow, that eclipse was spectacular! The moon truly turned red to the naked eye. I thought it was an exaggeration on old images I have seen around the internet but it really did show red, well rom halfway onwards. I couldnt see the redness prior to that but during totality, oh my, it was so obvious…like a blood orange. If I could pluck it out of the sky and eat it, I would have. So OK, what the hell was I doing in Hastings?| Ahem, well, I ran down to the south coast like a coward upon seeing this monster cloud hovering over North England (on the satellite images website that Mike told me about a while back). I booked a seafront hotel room with a balcony so I can enjoy the eclipse in full with my camera set up. I actually took my 80mm refractor on the Nexstar Alt-Az goto mount. I took a series of images of all sorts of bracketed exposures (though manually because I couldnt figure out how to do a timelapse with bracketed exposures). I also had another camera setup for a widefield view of the eclipse path which I imagined how spectacular my eclipse shot of the sea would be. It did indeed turn out truly spectacular…spectacularly AWFUL that is! What I overlooked when renting that room with a balcony and admiring the perspective using Google Earth was that at night, there is a common phenomenon known as flipping street lights! Which of course I failed to see in a Google Earth image of daytime. So my hope of having the sea as a foreground was, well, washed out (excuse the pun), though of course I could have walked to the seafront and taken great pictures/timelapse from there with the street lights behind me…but there were a lot of drunks around that I felt uneasy to venture to the coastline on my own. Nevertheless, I absolutely enjoyed it. I will say, though, I do regret not sharing the joy of the eclipse with Mike and Flamsteed friends but I did book the room before Mike announced it.

    Anyway, I will assemble a sequence of my own later this evening, although nothing can match what Mike and the rest of you have already posted which are absolutely lovely (Mike, stunning pics as I expected! And well done Andy, Bill, lovely captures too). I just plucked this image out from my chaotic snaps, which I liked because I can see stars in the background during the totality. I wonder how much more starfield there could have been in darker skies? Those images must look spectacular, especially if somehow the Milky Way emerges.

    Blood moon in starfiled - Lunar Eclipse 28th September 2015

    One question about the Totality…when I look at it either with my naked eye or on the images I took, there is a bright region on the side, which made me wonder if running down to Hastings took me out of the totality zone, lol. But I kept checking my Sky Safari and Stellarium, it shows totality on their (with my location entered of course). So just wondering about that, I did see totality, right? Those stars came into view too which I expect would only occur on totality.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Tej.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Tej.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Tej.
    #11846
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    That’s a beautiful image, Tej – and a great story… I do enjoy your narratives on how these images are created.

    Difficult to tell if darker skies would have resulted in more stars, as, of course, the light from the Moon itself is washing out some of the sky.

    As regards your question, a lunar eclipse is different to a solar eclipse. The timings are the same everywhere, and you’d have to have been somewhere in East Germany to not see totality! I refer you to the NASA page here.

    Notice that the Moon doesn’t go right through the middle of the umbra shadow, so there will always be brighter points around the limb, depending on what time you viewed the eclipse. From your image, I’d estimate that you took it after maximum eclipse, but before totality ended (say about 4am?).

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