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Archive for the ‘2012 solar 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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Reports of yesterday’s solar eclipse are coming in from all over:

From Journey To the Stars in the Philippines: Crescent Sun At Sunrise

From SpaceWeather.com: Fantastic Eclipse

From Sky and Telescope: May 20th’s Solar Eclipse

From soulblindministry in Arizona: My Solar Eclipse Video

And here’s my report: The sky was perfect for our party of family and friends who gathered at the neighborhood park to view the eclipse. I projected the Sun’s image into a makeshift projection box using my 60mm f11.6 refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece. We also used Eclipse Shades from Astronomers Without Borders, which I highly recommend. The direct view of the eclipsed (and uneclipsed) Sun with these glasses was not only clear but positively dramatic.

I simply note the local time on May 20, 2012, with the photos below, but for those interested in Universal Time, the photos were taken between 23:45 UT on May 20, 2012 and 1:34 UT on May 21, 2012:


The Sun viewed via projection at 6:45 PM, just over one half hour before the beginning of the eclipse. Look closely and you may discern three sunspot groups, which, stretching from about “eleven o’clock” to “four o’clock” are designated 1486, 1484, and 1482 respectively.


The uneclipsed Sun shining brightly at 6:53 PM.


7:18 PM, only a minute or two after the Moon started taking a “bite” out of the lower right limb of the Sun as viewed from our location.


7:30 PM.


7:44 PM.


7:47 PM.


My niece and great nephew, a mother duck and duckling, and the partially eclipsed Sun at 7:48 PM.


Party attendees sporting Eclipse Shades at 7:48 PM.


7:49 PM. Someone (maybe my great nephew) thought it looked like the Cookie Monster had gotten hungry!


7:51 PM. Others were photographing the projected image and even sending images to friends – I’m told that my sister elsewhere in Minnesota had pictures from our party up on her Facebook page while we were still at the park!


7:54 PM.


My wife (left) and two friends at 7:55 PM, enjoying the view via Eclipse Shades, which were a complete success.


7:56 PM.


7:59 PM, the Sun’s subdued light giving a lovely ambience.


8:01 PM.


8:03 PM. Four-year-old astronomer Ayden, my great nephew, shows off his Moon picture, traced in the ground before his feet.


At 8:15 PM, attendees continue to view the eclipse using Eclipse Shades.


8:19 PM.


8:21 PM.


At 8:29 PM, the Sun begins to sink behind the trees on the horizon.


8:29 PM.


The eclipse was still in progress at 8:34 PM, a few minutes before sunset.

All with my usual LG VX8360 cell phone camera. We also viewed Venus just after sunset – only 16 days before the transit, and later on back home a few of us viewed Saturn with my large reflector. “A great time was had by all.” And if you’re close to my location at the time of the June 5 Venus Transit, come join us!

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