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The Moon is eclipsed when it moves into the Earth's shadow. Below are several images of lunar eclipses over the years. The ruddy colors are caused by light grazing the earth's atmosphere, just as in sunsets.

Lunar Eclipse Stereo Pair

3-D Moon

The lunar eclipses of 2003-11-08 (on the left) and 2008-02-20 (on the right -- both also shown below) were fairly similar. During both the Moon was positioned near the southern edge of the Earth's shadow at mid-eclipse. Due to differences in the Moon's libration, the Moon's face was tilted to slightly different orientations during each eclipse. The tilt provided just enough of a difference in the views to produce a natural stereo pair. (The resulting stereogram appeared on p. 68 of the November 2013 issue of Popular Science magazine.)

To see the Moon in 3-D, sit about a foot from your monitor and look into the distance between the two above images of the Moon. When your eyes shift to the alignment normally used for viewing objects at a distance, the two images will fuse to form a third and you will see the Moon as the 3-D sphere it really is. (If you have a pair of red/blue glasses, the anaglyphic version might be easier to view.) 2008



Lunar Eclipse 2008/02/20


This view of the total Lunar Eclipse on February 20, 2008, was taken at mid-eclipse. The Moon never got very deep into the shadow, just as during the 2003 eclipse.

Mid-Eclipse 2008-02-20 10:26 p.m. EST from northern New Jersey. Composite of 0.8 and 1.0 second exposures at 800 ASA with Canon 40D through Astro-Physics 155mm refractor at f7.1. 2008



Partial Phase, Lunar Eclipse 2008/02/20


During the partial phases of a lunar eclipse, part of the Moon is inside the darkest portion of the Earth's shadow (the Umbra) and part is outside it. The part in the Umbra is about 1000 times dimmer than the part outside it. While our eyes can deal with that kind of brightness range, computer monitors and prints can't display it. In order to produce an image that approximates what the eye sees, I combined eight exposures ranging from 1/2 second to 1/320 second. The eight images were taken over the course of a few seconds at 11:11 p.m. EST while the Moon was emerging from the Earth's shadow.

Partial phase: 2008-02-20 11:11 p.m. EST from northern New Jersey. Composite of 1/320, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, and 1/2 second exposures at 800 ASA with Canon 40D through Astro-Physics 155 at f7.1. 2008



Lunar Eclipse 2003/11/08


This view of the total Lunar Eclipse on November 8, 2003, was taken at mid-eclipse. The Moon never got very deep into the shadow, as can be seen in the photo of the shadow itself.

Astro-Physics 155mm (6 inch) refractorat f7.1. Fuji Provia 400 color slide film. Two 3-second exposures. Photographed from northern New Jersey. 2003



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