Saturday, October 4, 2014

Plan for the Total Lunar Eclipse October 8, 2014

I'm super excited for the total lunar eclipse coming up on the morning of October 8, 2014. I've been reading about it, and plan to stay out all morning hoping to photograph the sequence. I'm just hoping the weather cooperates.

I've never photographed a total lunar eclipse, I've only seen and photographed a penumbral eclipse.

The total lunar eclipse on October 8 is the second of four in the tetrad of total lunar eclipses in 2014-2015. I missed the first one for bad weather, so I'm hoping to catch this one!

Here are some resources for the eclipse to help you plan ahead. There is a PDF all about the eclipse from NASA. Here is tons of information about photographing a lunar eclipse (very helpful!). Nikon also has a guide to photographing lunar eclipses.

lunr eclipse
Guide to the October 8 eclipse in Eastern Time (by Fred Espenak at
These times are super helpful. It's also good to keep in mind that the sun rises in Indiana at 7:47am, and according to the PhotoPills app, the blue hour is from 7:20-7:31am.

In terms of twilights, expect astronomical twilight at 6:17am, nautical twilight at 6:49am, and civil twilight from 7:20am until sunrise.

In Noblesville, the moon will be about 15° above the horizon when the total eclipse begins (6:25am). Here are a few techniques to estimate the elevation of objects on the horizon

There are several ways to photograph the eclipse, as described by both the guides linked above:
  • Wide Angle - The small eclipsed moon within a larger landscape
  • Star Trails - The moon as a streak of light that changes colors among star trails
  • Multiple Exposures - The phases of the eclipse composed onto the same photo to show both the path and progress over time
  • Telephoto - A close up of the face of the moon during the eclipse
I'm going to attempt multiple wide angle exposures with my point and shoot camera, and telephoto photos documenting the phase changes with my Canon T5i.

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