Eclipses

Moderator: Crested Val

Foxy
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3804
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:20 pm
Location: Eastern Cape

Unread post by Foxy »

I was near Messina camping alongside the Limpopo River- we had a wonderful view of it. Was like diamonds falling down on us. Was an eerie feeling when it suddenly became darker, dogs barking, birds in a frenzy flying around. We were lucky as many clouds came up and cleared just in time for the main part of the eclipse. Great time.
User avatar
Jose
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1374
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 12:06 am
Location: the Netherlands

Unread post by Jose »

I was in the Mutale River valley, just north of Thohoyandou.
Missed the totality because of the clouds, but here's 2 pics:

just before totality:
Image

just after:
Image
User avatar
lam
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Port Elizabeth

Unread post by lam »

We were in Kruger for the eclipse. The clouds were quite thick, so we missed a lot of it.

What suprised me was how quickly it got dark. It was like someone turning down a dimmer switch, and then a few minutes later turning it back up.
User avatar
deefstes
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Location: Jo'burg

Eclipses

Unread post by deefstes »

Hey, this is a great idea for a forum. Is it new? I can only assume so as there hasn't been much discussion in here yet. I usually just hang around in the birding forums so I'm not always on top of what's going on in other parts of the forums but this is another of my keen interests.

Anyways, I trust most of you will know by now but for those who don't there will be an annular solar eclipse on Monday the 26th of January. The fact that it is an annular eclipse is rather irrelevant though as the path of annularity will pas some distance south of South Africa. From Cape Town the eclipse will be 72% total while us sorry sods up here in Jozi will only get 46%. Either way, I think it's exciting enough to warrant getting a solar filter. :mrgreen:

Whatever you do, just don't look at the eclipsed sun directly with the naked eye! You have been warned.
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." -Homer Simpson
User avatar
JenB
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17064
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.

Re: Annular Solar Eclipse, 26 Jan 2009

Unread post by JenB »

Deefstes! :clap: Will be watching! :D
deefstes wrote:Whatever you do, just don't look at the eclipsed sun directly with the naked eye! You have been warned.

I once set up my sorry excuse for a telescope :twisted: towards the sun and projected onto a piece of white paper so all the kids watch, I've just gotto figure it out again. 8)

Another easy and safe way of watching the eclipse:
Hold the kitchen sieve just above the ground, tilting its face towards the sun. Moving the sieve a little away from the ground, one can see an image of the sun forming, which will show the eclipse when it occurs.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France
User avatar
kathy sa
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 452
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:09 am
Location: gauteng

Re: Annular Solar Eclipse, 26 Jan 2009

Unread post by kathy sa »

I look through the siver packet the tea bags come in...eg five roses. :D
User avatar
Stark
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2092
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 1:52 am
Location: Arizona, USA

Photgraphing a total lunar eclipse--suggestions?

Unread post by Stark »

First off, I'm a photography novice. I have a very nice point and shoot, which is still a point and shoot. :) It has all sorts of settings and adjustments I can make manually, but I haven't even begun to try and do more than what the camera will do for itself. (It's an Olympus SP-570)

With that said, it looks like North America is going to be in for a fantastic total lunar eclipse tonight, and I was going to haul out my trusty tripod and camera to see if I can capture the moment.

Any suggestions on how to get the most out of my pictures? Should I trust the "nighttime" or "low light" auto-settings on my camera, or is there a manual way that you pro's out there would suggest? Any and all guidance would be appreciated. :cam:
"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." West African Proverb

KNP 2021 was a blast, so we're going back in 2022!
17 Oct. - Biyamiti
20 Oct. - Satara
23 Oct. - Olifants
26 Oct. - Lower Sabie
User avatar
oddesy
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2693
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:57 pm
Location: Randburg, SA

Re: Photgraphing a total lunar eclipse--suggestions?

Unread post by oddesy »

Stark im no pro but I would use manual in this case. If you are able to, use a relatively high ISO, about 800 . You will have to use a low shutter speed but start with something like 1/30 or similar (because of the dark portion) and then go higher or lower and definitely use your tripod, this is one of mine.

Image
The moon by oddesy2, on Flickr
The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle
User avatar
Stark
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2092
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 1:52 am
Location: Arizona, USA

Re: Photgraphing a total lunar eclipse--suggestions?

Unread post by Stark »

Good info, oddesy. Thank you! :thumbs_up:
"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." West African Proverb

KNP 2021 was a blast, so we're going back in 2022!
17 Oct. - Biyamiti
20 Oct. - Satara
23 Oct. - Olifants
26 Oct. - Lower Sabie
User avatar
deefstes
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Location: Jo'burg

Re: Upcoming Eclipses

Unread post by deefstes »

Not much more to add than the info DuQues provided but here's another important bit of info about the lunar eclipse - you're gonne freeze your butts off! :twisted:

But maybe now might be a good time to explain a little something about lunar eclipses in general. Unlike solar eclipses, the eclipse typically last much longer with a much slower onset and egress. Also, unlike solar eclipses, a lunar eclipse does not result in a complete invisibility of the moon but rather just an eerie red shadowy appearance of the moon.

The reason for this is that the moon is not obscured (like the sun is during a solar eclipse) but the sun's light that illuminates the moon is simply blocked off. Now you're asking "why then is the moon visible at all if no light falls on it?" and that's a very good question with a very interesting answer.

The moon appears reddish during full eclipse for the same reason a sunrise is reddish. If an astronaut would be standing on the moon during a total lunar eclipse he would see the earth gradually shifting in front of the sun, in much the same way we see the moon shifting in front of the sun during a solar eclipse. When the sun is fully eclipsed by the earth, Mr. Astronaut will see a reddish "sunrise" that extends all around the earth. I can imagine that would be a drop dead awesome sight to behold.

So that red light (which is red because all of the shorter wavelengths are absorbed by all of the earth's atmosphere that the light has to travel through) gets refracted inwards in the earth's atmosphere and then carries on to hit the moon.

Another thing that perhaps not everybody would know is that the moon can be eclipsed in two ways by the earth's shadow. This is best explained by a picture:
Image

Notice how the earth has three types of shadows, an umbra, a penumbra and an antumbra. The antumbra is irrelevant in the discussion of lunar eclipses because the moon is too close to earth that it could ever move through the antumbra but during any total lunar eclipse the moon will first move through the penumbra and eventually cross through the umbra and eventually moves through the penumbra again. The period during which the entire moon falls inside the umbra is what is known as the total eclipse (or "totality").

With some lunar eclipses the moon never even touches the umbra. This is called a penumbral eclipse and is barely visible. Some eclipses the moon does move into the umbra but leaves it again before moving into it entirely (sort of just skims it). This is called a partial lunar eclipse.

The moment the moon first enters or leaves these various zones are referred to as the "eclipse contacts" and for the lunar eclipse of 15 Jun are as follows (in South African time):

P1 = 19:24:33 (First contact, the moment the moon's leading edge touches and enters the earth's penumbral shadow. At this point nothing will be visible yet but the moon will gradually move into the penumbral shadow and get very slightly, almost imperceptibly, darker)

U1 = 20:22:55 (Second contact, the moment the moon's leading edge touches and enters the earth's umbral shadow. This also happens to be, almost exactly, the point when the moon's trailing edge last touches the penumbral shadow - because of, what I consider, the most mind blowing coincidence in astronomy but that's another explanation which will take up too much space. At this point the moon will be completely covered by the earth's penumbral shadow. The eclipse will be almost imperceptible but this is the start of the umbral eclipse.)

U2 = 21:22:29 (Third contact, the moment the moon's trailing edge touches and enters the earth's umbral shadow. This is the moment at which totality starts.)

U3 = 23:02:41 (Fourth contact, the moment the moon's leading edge touches and enters the earth's penumbral shadow again, and exits the earth's umbral shadow. This is the moment at which totality ends.)

U4 = 00:02:14 (Fifth contact, the moment the moon's trailing edge touches and exits the earth's umbral shadow. This is the moment at which the umbral eclipse is over.)

P4 = 01:00:44 (Sixth contact or last contact, the moment the moon's trailing edge touches and exits the earth's penumbral shadow. The show is officially over.)

This image illustrates these contact points:
Image
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." -Homer Simpson
User avatar
onewithnature
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 13728
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:22 am
Location: Midway between the infinite and the infinitesimal!

Re: Upcoming Eclipses

Unread post by onewithnature »

Thanks DuQues and Deefstes. :thumbs_up: It's going to be one fantastic astronomical show tonight, with no need to book special tickets. Just get out of the city if you can, take with a ton of blankets, and snap some pics.
Tonight's total lunar eclipse - when the Moon is completely submersed in the Earth's shadow - is a relatively rare event, mainly because the the centre point of Earth's shadow is on the Moon's disc. The next so-called central total lunar eclipse will only be on July 27, 2018!
So take advantage of the situation and go check it out with all the gasps and groans you can muster. :lol: Being winter, the skies are clearer, which makes for more spectacular viewing.
EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)
User avatar
deefstes
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Location: Jo'burg

Re: Upcoming Eclipses

Unread post by deefstes »

onewithnature wrote:[color=#4000FF]Just get out of the city if you can, take with a ton of blankets, and snap some pics.

I plan on following the exact opposite approach :D

I identified a nice building in Sandton (the tall RMB building) and did an insane amount of math to calculate a good position from where to photograph the eclipse with the building in the foreground. Armed with my calculations of azimuth, elevation angle, height of building and a compass, I went out there last night when the moon was at the position it should be in tonight at full eclipese and checked it out. I'm hesitant to be too confident but I think it might work. Tonight is the big night. Hopefully by tomorrow I can show off the fruits of my labour :D

One great thing about lunar eclipses, unlike other celestial viewing, is that it doesn't exactly require a completely unpolluted night sky and it can be viewed from a city just fine.

Oh, another great thing about lunar eclipses, as opposed to a solar eclipse, is that they are slow and last fairly long (especially this particular one). This gives you enough time to observe it.

Oh, and one more great thing about lunar eclipses is that they can be viewed and photographed without special filters and fancy equipment.

Have fun tonight!
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." -Homer Simpson
User avatar
onewithnature
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 13728
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:22 am
Location: Midway between the infinite and the infinitesimal!

Re: Upcoming Eclipses

Unread post by onewithnature »

Well, Deefstes, I suppose being on a tall building means you will be closer to the eclipse than most others - which may mean better viewing? :twisted: But seriously, I agree with you - if you've done all those calculations, I'm sure your angle of perspective and background silhouettes are going to be tops. :thumbs_up: Looking forward to seeing your photographs on this thread! :pray: But, till then, I'll be looking for a small figure atop the RMB building. 8)

Yes, an unpolluted sky is not essential when viewing lunar eclipses, however, the eerie orangey glow that goes with the penumbral phase of the eclipse may be more difficult to appreciate with bright city lights around. Then again, by the time the eclipse is at its peak, the moon will be pretty high in the sky, and hence high above the buildings and lights. So, after much contemplation, I think I may pop into the Magaliesburg, or if it's too cold, I'll simply take my chances on a koppie in Jo'burg, armed only with binoculars and excitement. Now to find a safe koppie, if one exists. :doh:

Enjoy the spectacle, mites. :thumbs_up:
EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)
User avatar
moggiedog
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 9:12 am
Location: Benoni

Re: Upcoming Eclipses

Unread post by moggiedog »

A few a happy snaps - before the photographers post :D
Image

Image

Image
A Conundrum before Tankwa

SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !
User avatar
deefstes
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Location: Jo'burg

Re: Upcoming Eclipses

Unread post by deefstes »

onewithnature wrote:Deefstes, I have to compliment you as I think that that sequential arc of moon pics, with the building in the foreground, is fantastic! :clap: :clap: :clap: Did you leave the shutter open and expose by alternately removing and covering the lens with the cap? The black-and-white close-up is also tops. Thanks for sharing. :dance:

Thanks mate. No, I had the camera on a tripod and used a remote shutter release to take a picture every ten minutes without the camera moving. I then basically just combined all the images afterwards.

I think it could be an interesting idea to leave the shutter open for the 2.5 hours and just cover/uncover the lens for every exposure. I think I'll give that a try some time. In a way it is more "purist" as it would not require much or any post processing.

And the "black and white" picture is actually not black and white. It's just that the sky was black and the moon was white :D

For those interested, have a look at this unbelievable picture of the lunar eclipse. It is also a combination of several pictures taken during totality, eight in fact, each of them a 40 seconds exposure. There is not a great deal of information available on how the image was taken but I would assume the camera must have been on a equatorial mount to allow tracking of the moon so as to avoid motion blur.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110617.html
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." -Homer Simpson
Post Reply