Total lunar eclipse, Monday Sep 28

posted: 783 days ago, on Monday, 2015 Sep 28 at 10:03
tags: astronomy, astrophotography, Sun, Moon, Earth, lunar eclipse, atmospheric phenomena, Walter, events, Gordons Bay.

Moon setting over the Bay, imaged at 06:05 SAST (EOS 60D, 50-mm f/3.5, ISO 640 1/3-sec)

Mother Nature (or is that sexist, I don't know these days, but I'm sure the PC Police will issue a writ or emit a grunt soon enough) arranged a delightful morning for us as we set off to the Steenbras Dam viewing site, overlooking drowsy Gordon's Bay, to enjoy the total lunar eclipse. The "we" are, from left to right, Ed Foster, Wendy Vermeulen, Johan Brink, Lynnette Foster, and Paul Kruger, and myself (not pictured).

Weather predictions by yr.no seemed all over the place in the days leading up to the event, although it is, of course, pointless to look at anything beyond three days - this event being a case in point. I suggested Gordon's Bay as venue and we all agreed with some trepidation given the windy encounter during InOMN two weeks earlier. No doubt spurred on by the excitement of the partial solar eclipse three weeks ago, cameras were primed, batteries loaded, tripods calibrated and coffees made, and around 02:00 our motorcade arrived in Gordon's Bay - Ed, Lynnette & Paul travelling in from Cape Town, while Wendy, Johan & I had a rather shorter trip.

As always, the view from up there is special. This morning it was highlighted by the Full Moon and heightened by the expectation of a red Moon on a blue background (at least that was my personal anticipation, having seen only one such eclipse, so many Moons ago). Probably the only way the weather could have been better is if it had rained chocolate. Mild temperatures, almost zero wind, and essentially cloud-free as predicted added to the wonderful experience. Time passed, banter was had, photos were taken, and deep-sky objects observed - a rarity during a Full Moon (the latter; the former occur more often).

The selection of images that follow attempt to capture some of the grand scene we all enjoyed. The image above, showing the red-tinged Moon on a blue dawn-infused background, is pretty much what I had hoped for. Tick.

Eclipsed Moon over Gordon's Bay at 05:14 SAST. (EOS 60D, 10-mm f/3.5)

(top-left) Ed and Lynnette Foster (top-right) Johan Brink and Paul Kruger (bottom-left) Wendy Vermeulen (bottom-right) Johan and Walter.

(left) The view early in the evening. Note the tremendous light pollution. (right) Johan using Walter to image the Moon.

(left) Ed at the eyepiece of Lorenzo, next to Lynnette keeping time. (right) Part of Ed's sequence during the eclipse.

(left) Wendy Vermeulen imaged the Moon through her 8-inch Dobbie. (centre) Moon setting. (right) Venus rising over Steenbras Dam entrance.

Johan's shot of the Moon within the umbra, at 03:33 SAST. (EOS 1200D 263-mm f/5.6, ISO 100 1/800-sec)

Eclipsed Moon at 05:13, about an hour after totality started. (EOS 1200D 4.7-inch 1000-mm f/8.3, ISO 1600 1.3-sec)

Collage of images by Paul Kruger. The image at bottom-left shows Jonathan's green laser pointed at us, from just over 12.5-km away.

Last of the eclipse as the Moon sets behind the Cape mountains. (EOS 60D, 50-mm f/7.1, ISO 160 1/25-sec)

Last of the eclipse as the Moon sets within the Girdle of Venus. Pic taken with a Samsung S4 on a home-cobbled PVC mount. Walter is the 4.7-inch on the right.

After everyone left, I relaxed for a while at the viewing point and watched the sunlight flood the basin. Then it was time for breakfast. Not much is open at half past seven in Gordon's Bay and Strand. Fortunately a bright Illy sign caught my eye at the new-ish JJ's Cafe (106 Beach Rd, Strand; where Belgian Waffle House started out). What a delightful find! They open at 07:30 every day and have an enticing array of Greek goodness on sale. Put this one on your regular to-do list and enjoy!

Christine's Eclipse Party

Christine, Cheyenne, Jamie and friends held a sleep-over Eclipse Party, and had a great time!

Leslie Rose

Leslie Rose was elsewhere in Cape Town and took two stunning eclipse pics, showing the Moon over Robben Island.

Maciej in Constantia

From Constantia, Maciej imaged the eclipse with a Nikon D7100 and a 600-mm lens (f/6.3, ISO 800 2.5-sec).

nothing more to see. please move along.