Timelapse Lunar Eclipse Over Downtown Kansas City by Tom Martinez

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkVItkDL4s4?rel=0]

Published by Tom Martinez, Historian of the Astronomical Solemnity of Kansas City, on Apr 7, 2015

The total phase was not seen from KC since totality occurred after moonset. Crystal clear skies allowed for a nice view of the last sliver of moon, however. Music is “Alive” by Jahzzar, http://betterwithmusic.com.

Observing the Blood Moon Eclipse

I went to bed slightly early last night, but first I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. Central. As I noted a couple of days ago, I wanted to get up early to observe a total lunar eclipse.  As usually happens, I woke up early at 4:15 a.m.  Who needs an alarm?

I decided to go ahead and throw on my clothes, grab my purse and smartphone and take the van to Dillons to fill it up.  While I drove west (one mile) and north (two miles), I noted that the full moon was already missing a good chunk in the upper left-hand quadrant.  After filling up the van, I continued west on Eisenhower Road, crossing Tonganoxie Road and heading up over the ridge.  I crossed over 187th street, leaving the paved roads behind and continued until I was forced to turn left at 195th street, just south of an electrical substation (talk about light pollution out in the middle of no where).  Continue reading “Observing the Blood Moon Eclipse”

Blood Moon Total Eclipse Early Wednesday Morning (for Central Time Zone)

Central Daylight Time (October 8, 2014):

  • Partial umbral eclipse begins: 4:15 a.m. CDT on October 8
  • Total eclipse begins: 5:25 a.m. CDT
  • Greatest eclipse: 5:55 a.m. CDT
  • Total eclipse ends: 6:24 a.m. CDT
  • Partial eclipse ends: 7:34 a.m. CDT
Chart, displaying eclipse phases in Universal Time (GMT), courtesy of EclipseWise.com

There is a total eclipse of the full moon on October 8, 2014. This is the Northern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon – the name for the full moon after the Harvest Moon. It’s also a Blood Moon, and this eclipse is the second in a series of four so-called Blood Moon eclipses. For North America and the Hawaiian Islands, the total lunar eclipse happens in the wee hours before sunrise on October 8.

For more information about the total eclipse and answers to questions like ‘What’s a Hunter’s Moon?”, please visit the full article at EarthySky.

Tom J Martinez PhotoBlog: Blood Moon and Great Blue Heron


Fellow ASKC member and astrophotography Tom Martinez relates his recent adventures with the Blood Moon and Blue Heron.

Posted from WordPress for Android via my Samsung smartphone. Please excuse any misspellings. Ciao, Jon

Partial Lunar Eclipse

I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. before I fell asleep Sunday night. The alarm woke me and I stumbled to the west facing window in my bedroom and couldn’t find the full moon. I assumed, blearily and incorrectly, that the moon must be hidden by clouds. I crossed over to my library and its east facing window and couldn’t see any stars (not unusual though that near to dawn and with the amount of light pollution I suffer from). I went back to bed.

My regular alarm woke me at 5:00 a.m. sharp like it always does. I checked my windows again, but this time my east facing window showed a mostly blue sky.  That gave me a jolt, almost like a hot cup of coffe.  I immediately began rushing around the house, throwing on clothes and grabbing my camera bag. I jumped in the car and drove to my closest vantage poitn with an adequate western horizon view. I could see the moon, already partially eclipsed, but obscured by some thin clouds and lots of haze.

Lunar Eclipse
Clouds obscured the moon (click on image for rest of album)

I wondered to myself why the moon seemed to be setting in the southwest. I stood in the same spot from where I watched and photographed the solar eclipse just two weeks before and at that time, both the moon and the sun set almost due west. I did spend some time today trying to find an explanation or graph or plot to explain to me visually why the moon’s orbit diverged so greatly over a half month. I’m still searching for a satsifactory answer.

Way southwest
Moon (far left) and camera (far right). Two weeks ago, the moon and sun set to the right of my camera (out of frame).

I settled in to a routine, snapping photos every few seconds or minutes, sometimes adjusting the shutter speed, or the aperture. I occassionally switched back to autonatic mode, letting the camera decide for itself what settings to use (usually producing photos I didn’t care for). By 5:30, the moon had almost set behind the hill to the southwest of my location.

Lunar Eclipse
Partial Lunar Eclipse as seen from Lansing, Kansas (click on image for rest of album)

I took a total of sixty photos, not including the one above taken with my call phone, so if you are a true glutton for punishment, click on the photos above to review the entire album.  I didn’t have time this morning before leaving for work to review and filter out the obvious duds. 

If I had realized the moon would set so early, I would have driven to a better site where I didn’t have a tall hill between me and the southwestern horizon.  I mistakenly assumed the moon would set in the west and opted to use a location only a few blocks from my home.

Tomorrow, I will be at the same spot, but at a different time, to observe and photograph the Transit of Venus.  You should be able to see me and my telescope from Main Street in Lansing during rush hour tomorrow afternoon.  Stop by and have a look at a once-in-a-lifetime event.  If you live in the Kansas City metro area, you have multiple locations from which to view the transit (click here for more information thanks to the Astronomincal Society of Kansas City).

From Full Moon to Crescent in Less Than Thirty Minutes

I almost overslept this morning.  Saturday mornings are like that.  Especially when you stay up late to watch a DVD.  But something snapped me awake at 5:45 a.m.  Probably my daily weather alert text message. I jumped out of bed, ran downstairs and yanked open the patio door.  A full moon shone brightly through the bare branches of my backyard silver maple.  Good, I still had time to get dressed, steep some tea and throw the tripod and camera in the car.  Too bad I forgot my coat, scarf and gloves since the temperature hovered just below or around twenty degrees.

I drove west from my house, watching the moon dip slowly closer to the western horizon.  I could still see the brightest stars and Jupiter, but the eastern horizon showed signs of the impending dawn.  I continued north along Desoto Road and again west on Eisenhower until I approached an industrial business park.  I drove down to the end of the street, but didn’t like the look of the western horizon because the cul-de-sac turnaround had lowered in elevation from Eisenhower Road and trees grew to the west, blocking my line-of-site to the horizon.  I retraced my route back to Eisenhower and continued west to 20th street.  I found a west facing driveway that dead ended in a clear field with no trees to the west (just a new housing development huddled on the horizon).  I setup the tripod and took a few preliminary shots to dial in the camera and decide what settings to use (AWB, shutter, aperture, delayed shutter to minimize shake, etc.)

I got settled down a couple of minutes before the official start of the eclipse.  According to the Earthsky post on the lunar eclipse, the official beginning of the event started at 12:46 UTC (that’s 6:46 am Central time for me).  The total eclipse would occur at 14:57 UTC (or 8:57 a.m. Central) which unfortunately for me was ninety minutes after the moon set.  According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac site (which I checked before leaving the house), moonset would occur at 7:29 a.m.  Interestingly, the sunrise would occur one minute before moonset, an indication that we are very close to the Winter Solstice (within ten to eleven days to be precise).

I spent the next forty-five minutes snapping photos every five or ten minutes.  My dad called me just before seven o’clock, asking me if I’d found a spot.  I told him where I was and sheepishly admitted I had forgotten appropriate attire for the cold conditions.  Of course, I sat snugly in my car with the motor running and the heater cranked to eighty degrees while sipping my piping-hot tea.

Just a couple of minutes before the mostly eclipsed moon kissed the western horizon, my dad drove up and brought me a jacket and a pair of gloves.  To be honest, I hadn’t noticed the cold in my excitement to capture the last few minutes of the eclipse.  We chatted for a few minutes, then loaded up the photographic equipment into my car.  I returned the jacket and gloves to my dad and we parted ways.  He headed north on 20th street, and I returned south to Lansing.  I promised Dad I’d upload the photos once I got home.  (Follow this link to the raw/uncut/unedited photos I took this morning of the lunar eclipse).

I’ll leave you with what I judge to be the best of the bunch.  I only cropped them.  I decided against adjusting for brightness or contrast as I don’t have any photo editing software (beyond what comes with Windows 7 and Office 2010).  I hope you enjoy them.  I’m off to run some errands.  Enjoy!

Start of Lunar Eclipse (6:45 a.m. Central)
Ten Minutes Later (6:55 a.m. Central)
Twenty Minutes In (7:05 a.m. Central)
Thirty Minutes In (7:15 a.m. Central)
Haze and Clouds Obscuring Lunar Eclipse
Five Minutes to Moon Set
Two Minutes to Moon Set
Moon Set (10 Dec 2011)

See the Last Lunar Eclipse of 2011 at Dawn

Quick reminder post via my Nook Color web browser (so pardon the typos, lack of photos or links) to rise bright and early tomorrow before the moon sets (or the sun rises) to catch the final lunar eclipse of the year.

I plan to take some photos, but not with the telescope; just a telephoto lens on the camera and a tripod. From where? Not sure yet. I will decide in the morning.

Sweet dreams everyone!

Saturday Eclipse Update:

See the next post for observation notes and photos for the lunar eclipse as seen from the Heart of America.