Total eclipse of the Moon (Wednesday June 15, 2011)

posted: 2189 days ago, on Monday, 2011 May 30 at 21:14
tags: astronomy, outreach, Sun, Moon, lunar eclipse.

More eclipse pics on the web

Hannes Pieterse's lunar eclipse animation

Carol Botha's eclipse montage

Chris Stewart's Facebook gallery

Oleg Toumilovitch's astronomical gallery gallery

Pic by George Liakos, Rustenburg

Rustenburg

"No rain. No clouds. Just wide-open, mining town, coal and wood burning, smoke-filled, light-polluted sky with the darkest lunar eclipse I've ever seen. So dark that to my naked eye it actually looked more pleasing just before, and just after totallity. My eyes struggled to see it clearly.

But it was exquisitely unforgettable."

Pic by Wim Filmalter

Riviersonderend

First light through Wim's "Bike-Scope" was this view of the eclipse, captured with a Sony Cybershot. The "Bike-Scope" is Wim's ultra-portable 200mm Dobsonian that fits into his rucksack for a quick motorbike trip to darker skies.

Pics by Kos Coronaios, Limpopo

Limpopo

"Absolutely beautiful. The cold weather did not stop enthusiasts in Louis Trichardt joining the Soutpansberg Astronomy Club to see the evening's show. A 10 inch F4 Newtonian Reflector with the tried and tested Foton AstroCam attached was used to project the Moon's image on the screen while a 8 inch F8 was used for visual observing. Popular on the evening was a spotting scope giving a wider field of view than the telescopes' and Sarah and I were kept busy having to manually track the Moon.

"The show began right on time and shortly after 20:20 the bottom part of the Moon started darkening as the Earth' shadow began taking a chunk away. By the time half the Moon was in shadow we had more visitors arriving from town as they tried to get away from the light pollution. The portion of the Moon's surface that was already in shadow was beginning to turn a dark-reddish colour and could easily be seen with the naked-eye, but not from a light polluted site. With the Moon deep in the Earth's shadow, constellations, stars and naked-eye deepsky objects started appearing. We swung one of the telescopes towards Saturn, and while people were taking turns enjoying a view of the planet and some of its moons, the Moon continued to darken. It was a good time to point out some of the constellations that were not visible prior to totality, such as Sagitta, Delphinus, both Southern and Northern Crowns and plenty more.

"Temperatures for the evening hovered around the 8 to 10 degree Celsius mark and shortly after maximum eclipse people started the journey home. I stayed on to watch the shadow withdraw as the landscape was bathed in silver light once more. Magnificent sight and not to be enjoyed from our part of the world again until 27 July 2018. Some of us might not see this one due to age and deteriorating eyesight! There is a total eclipse for our location in 2015 but the Moon will be so low on the horizon in the morning sky and will set before completely moving out of the Earth's shadow, so will not be anything as good as last night's show. The Club would like to thank Jacaranda RMFM, the Zoutpansberger and the Johannesburg Planetarium in helping to promote the event."

Pic by Kos Coronaios, Limpopo

Limpopo

"One second exposure with a 300 mm lens shortly after max eclipse."

Pic by Auke Slotegraaf, Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch

Billions and billions of clouds and raindrops, and then a dry spell, and then some sucker holes, and then - briefly - the Moon. Beautiful.

Archives

The SLOOH SPACE CAMERA will broadcast a live lunar eclipse feed, at http://eclipse.slooh.com/

One feed will come from South Africa, where Martin Lyons will be broadcasting live from his observatory in Somerset West. Other live views will come in from Dubai and the Canary Islands (SLOOH HQ). The SLOOH broadcast starts at 20:00 SAST (18:00 UTC). The SLOOH feed will also be available on YouTube.

From Bareket Observatory in Israel, in partnership with Astronomers Without Borders, the eclipse will be broadcast from 19:00 SAST (17:00 UTC).

On Wednesday evening, June 15, 2011, the Moon will be in line with the Earth and the Sun, and the shadow from our planet will obscure the Moon, turning it a dramatic orangey-red colour. Exactly what colour it will be, nobody knows -- only by observing the eclipse will we know.

In a calendar year between four and seven eclipses (solar and lunar combined) can occur; at least two and at most five can be lunar eclipses.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, becoming dim until emerging from the shadow. The Earth’s shadow consists of two parts – the dark inner umbra and the lighter outer penumbra.

A total lunar eclipse last for up to 100 minutes and is visible from anywhere on Earth where the Moon is in the sky at the time. The eclipse on 2011 June 15 is deepest at 20:12 Universal Time, and will be visible from most of Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and India, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.

It is completely safe to observe a lunar eclipse: unlike a solar eclipse, it does not require eye protection.

During a total eclipse, the Moon darkens gradually as it moves through the penumbra, then more noticably as it enters the umbra. The appearance of the Moon during totality depends on how much light is scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere; the umbra is usually copper coloured, sometimes very dark, and occasionally distorted.

This beautiful and rare event is inspiring to watch - here are the details for selected cities:

As seen from Cape Town:

Sunset is at around 17:45. By 18:15, the beautiful Full Moon will have risen, in the east, and the first stars can be seen. If you don't see the Moon yet, it may be behind a mountain, buildings or some trees. The bright star above and slightly to the left of the Moon is Antares, the heart of the Scorpion.

Looking westward, Orion is lying down as the hunter sets. Above the three prominent Belt Stars, is the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius the Dog Star. To the left of Sirius (southward) is another almost-as-bright star: this is Canopus, the number-two brightest.

High up in the south-east you can spot the two Pointer Stars, showing the way to the small but bright constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross.

By 20:00 it will be as dark as it gets, and in the west, Orion has already set, with Sirius flashing brightly near the horizon. The bright star to the right of Sirius is Procyon, the Little Dog Star.

Looking northard, the lone bright star you'll see is Arcturus, while in the east, it will be very hard to miss the Moon, our star attraction.

Shortly before 20:30, start paying attention to the Moon and see how soon you can spot the Earth's outer shadow begin to dark it. The shadow will appear at the bottom-right edge of the Moon.

By 20:40, the shadow should be obvious. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you'll be able to see the shadow appearing more easily than if you're just looking with your naked eye.

But the cool thing about a total lunar eclipse is that it is gorgeous no matter what you use to view it with.

By 21:00 half of the Moon will be in shadow, and the red (or maybe it will be orange?) tinge of the bottom-right portion will be obvious.

By 21:30 there will be a beautiful blood-red Full Moon way up in the sky. Shortly after 22:00 the reverse process begins, as the Moon begins to leave the deep inner part of the Earth's shadow.

Around 23:20, half of the Moon will be uncovered, with the remaining red portion (at the top-left) beginning to shrink as the Moon speeds along its orbit around our planet.

By midnight, the Moon is free of the deepest part of our shadow, and by one o'clock on Thursday morning, the Moon is again bathed in full sunlight.

As seen from Johannesburg:

Sunset is at around 17:26. Start looking out for the beautiful Full Moon in the east, which has already risen but may be hidden behind trees or buildings.

As the sky darkens, the first stars can be seen. The bright star above and slightly to the left of the Moon is Antares, the heart of the Scorpion.

Looking westward, Orion is lying down as the hunter sets. Above the three prominent Belt Stars, is the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius the Dog Star. To the left of Sirius (southward) is another almost-as-bright star: this is Canopus, the number-two brightest.

High up in the south-east you can spot the two Pointer Stars, showing the way to the small but bright constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross.

By 19:00 it will be as dark as it gets, and in the west, Orion has already set, with Sirius flashing brightly near the horizon. The bright star to the right of Sirius is Procyon, the Little Dog Star.

Looking northard, the lone bright star you'll see is Arcturus, while in the east, it will be very hard to miss the Moon, our star attraction.

Shortly before 20:30, start paying attention to the Moon and see how soon you can spot the Earth's outer shadow begin to dark it. The shadow will appear at the bottom-right edge of the Moon.

By 20:40, the shadow should be obvious. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you'll be able to see the shadow appearing more easily than if you're just looking with your naked eye.

But the cool thing about a total lunar eclipse is that it is gorgeous no matter what you use to view it with.

By 21:00 half of the Moon will be in shadow, and the red (or maybe it will be orange?) tinge of the bottom-right portion will be obvious.

By 21:30 there will be a beautiful blood-red Full Moon way up in the sky. Shortly after 22:00 the reverse process begins, as the Moon begins to leave the deep inner part of the Earth's shadow.

Around 23:20, half of the Moon will be uncovered, with the remaining red portion (at the top-left) beginning to shrink as the Moon speeds along its orbit around our planet.

By midnight, the Moon is free of the deepest part of our shadow, and by one o'clock on Thursday morning, the Moon is again bathed in full sunlight.

As seen from Durban:

Sunset is at around 17:06; the Moon rises at 16:46. By 17:44, the beautiful Full Moon will be prominent in the east, and the first stars can be seen. If you don't see the Moon yet, it may be hidden behind buildings or some trees. Or perhaps you still have your sunglasses on. Take a look at the bright star above and slightly to the left of the Moon: this is Antares, the heart of the Scorpion.

Looking westward, Orion is lying down as the hunter sets. Above the three prominent Belt Stars, is the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius the Dog Star. To the left of Sirius (southward) is another almost-as-bright star: this is Canopus, the number-two brightest.

High up in the south-east you can spot the two Pointer Stars, showing the way to the small but bright constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross.

By 18:30 it will be as dark as it gets, and in the west, Orion has already set, with Sirius flashing brightly near the horizon. The bright star to the right of Sirius is Procyon, the Little Dog Star.

Looking northard, the lone bright star you'll see is Arcturus, while in the east, it will be very hard to miss the Moon, our star attraction.

Shortly before 20:30, start paying attention to the Moon and see how soon you can spot the Earth's outer shadow begin to dark it. The shadow will appear at the bottom-right edge of the Moon.

By 20:40, the shadow should be obvious. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you'll be able to see the shadow appearing more easily than if you're just looking with your naked eye.

But the cool thing about a total lunar eclipse is that it is gorgeous no matter what you use to view it with.

By 21:00 half of the Moon will be in shadow, and the red (or maybe it will be orange?) tinge of the bottom-right portion will be obvious.

By 21:30 there will be a beautiful blood-red Full Moon way up in the sky. Shortly after 22:00 the reverse process begins, as the Moon begins to leave the deep inner part of the Earth's shadow.

Around 23:20, half of the Moon will be uncovered, with the remaining red portion (at the top-left) beginning to shrink as the Moon speeds along its orbit around our planet.

By midnight, the Moon is free of the deepest part of our shadow, and by one o'clock on Thursday morning, the Moon is again bathed in full sunlight.

If you've got a digital camera, have a go at photographing the lunar eclipse. Check out the "Photographing the Moon with a digital camera" tutorial for helpful hints and tips.

As seen from Auckland, New Zealand:

The eclipse begins at around 06:30 in the morning (THURSDAY, June 16). The Moon will be low in the west-southwest and busy setting. The red tinge of the Earth's shadow appears at the top-right edge of the Moon and grows rapidly as the Moon continues to drop lower. By 07:00 the Moon will be very low (just 5 degrees above the horizon) and half covered with red light. Wow - what a dramatic sight!

As seen from Sydney, Australia:

The Moon will be in the morning sky, Thursday June 16, when the eclipse happens as seen from Sydney.

By 04:30 the Moon will be just inside the dense inner shadow; you should see the top-right portion of the Moon beginning to take on a faint colour.

By 05:00, with the Moon 22 degrees above the horizon, half of the lunar disc will be bathed in orange-red light.

By 05:30, the entire Moon will be in eclipse, a beautiful red globe low above the west-southwestern horizon.

By 06:00 the sky will begin to brighten with the approaching sunrise (which is at 06:59).

The Moon sets at around 07:04, still red and eclipsed.

As seen from Hastings, New Zealand:

The eclipse will happen in the early morning on Thursday, June 16. The Moon will be very low above the west-southwestern horizon when the first signs of the eclipse become visible. At 06:30, as twilight begins, the top-right edge of the Moon will become tinged with red. As the Moon continues to set, the Earth's shadow covers more and more of our celestial neighbour.

Shortly before 07:00, half of the Moon will be in shadow, with the sky brightening rapidly - sunrise is at 07:31. By 07:21, the entire Moon will be covered by our shadow, but the Moon will almost have set! So unless you have a very low horizon to the west-southwest, the Moon may disappear behind buildings, trees or distant hills.

It will definitely be a very special sight: a big red Moon low on the horizon as day breaks!

nothing more to see. please move along.