Archive for the ‘2012 Lunar Eclipse’ Category

It happens that during this May and June 2012 I was able to photograph the Moon very close to the exact times of the four principal phases: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, and Last Quarter. As the late, great Jack Horkheimer would have said, “Let me show you!”

The New Moon usually can’t be observed visually, but an exception to that rule is when there’s a solar eclipse such as the one we observed on May 20, 2012. Here we see the Moon’s outline as it partially eclipses the Sun at 8:25 PM CDT May 20, 2012 (01:25 UT 5-21-12). According to the technical definition, the moment of New Moon was less than two hours before at 6:47 PM CDT (11:47 UT), when the eclipse had not yet begun in our location, but in my mind the Moon would truly be the “newest” while actually eclipsing the Sun! Projection method with 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece.

7:27 PM CDT May 28, 2012 (00:27 UT May 29, 2012), four hours and eleven minutes after the exact First Quarter phase.

The fullest Full Moon occurs when there’s a lunar eclipse. Here’s the Moon looking very full indeed at 4:10 AM CDT June 4, 2012 (09:10 UT), during the early stages of the partial lunar eclipse. The left side of the Moon was partially in the Earth’s penumbra at the time, but I find it hard to see. Can you? It seems strange to me that the media hyped up May 5th’s Full Moon as a “supermoon,” when June 4th’s was nearly as close and “super,” and featured an eclipse besides!

My very last photo of the partial lunar eclipse, at 5:23 AM CDT June 4, 2012 (10:23 UT), as the eclipse continued to deepen. The fullest minute of the Full Moon took place 49 minutes later at 6:12 AM (11:12 UT), but by then the Moon had set here. 60mm refractor telescope with 25mm eyepiece.

Finally, the Moon at 5:17 AM CDT June 11, 2012 (10:17 UT), just 24 minutes before the moment of Last Quarter.

Unless otherwise noted, 8″ reflector telescope with 25mm eyepiece. All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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As with the December 10, 2011 Lunar Eclipse, the Partial Lunar Eclipse of June 4, 2012 was still in progress at the time of moonset here, but the weather cooperated beautifully, so here’s a photorecord of the event:

Before heading to the neighborhood park with the small refractor, I managed to get in a few shots with the 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece (65x magnification), including this one at 4:10 AM CDT (9:10 UT 6-4-12).

At this time the Moon was already partially in the penumbra of the Earth’s shadow, but I couldn’t tell. In my experience there’s little if any visible change during the penumbral stage.

Most of the following photos are with the 60mm refractor and 25mm eyepiece (28x magnification).

4:50 AM, with noticeable darkening on the Moon’s left limb.

4:59 AM, the umbra becoming evident.

5:01 AM.

5:03 AM.

5:04 AM.

At 5:07 AM, a first for me, and one of those unplannable things that only happen “once in a blue moon.” I captured a distant jet transiting the Moon’s face, and didn’t even realize it until I saw the picture!

5:08 AM, the Moon sinking very close to the southwestern horizon.

Still 5:10 AM, looking northeast towards dawn, a pelican serenely crosses the lake.

5:12 AM.

5:15 AM, with 7×35 binoculars.

5:15 AM.

At 5:22 AM, 42 minutes before the time of greatest eclipse, the Moon is about to set.

At 5:27 AM, ducks and ducklings are going about their morning’s business.

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

Next stop: The Historic Venus Transit of 2012, only a day away!

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Many amazing things happening in the skies these days. Besides the Transit of Venus, now only two days away, there’s a partial lunar eclipse tomorrow on June 4, 2012, which for us in the USA’s Central Time Zone occurs just about at sunrise, but we hope to observe part of it before the Moon sets, and if you’re west of us (for example, in a Pacific state such as Oregon), you will have an even better view of it than we will.

Here is the Moon this past week on May 28/29, only a few hours after the First Quarter Phase:

7:27 PM CDT 5-28-12 (00:27 UT 5-29-12), 25mm eyepiece (magnification 65x)

11:26 PM CDT 5-28-12 (4:26 UT 5-29-12), 25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow (magnification 130x)
The northern end of the Moon, with sunrise just reaching the west rim of Plato, and the lunar Alpine Valley showing up quite well.

11:31 PM CDT 5-28-12 (4:31 UT 5-29-12), 17mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow (magnification 191x)
An interesting feature called the Straight Wall shows up well in the left center of this photo, which is centered in the south central portion of the Moon’s disk. The Straight Wall is about 80 miles or 130 kilometers long.

8″ f8 homebuilt reflector telescope with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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