We just had an eclipse in July, but the next one is not till 2014 so I wanted to make the most of this one. A number of looming deadlines made the weekend away for astrophotography hard to fit in and unlike the eclipse in July (winter!), the weather for this eclipse was definitely not cooperating either. Still, I guess you could say we got lucky and it just about worked out ok.
The night started with a bang. Actually several bangs. We had one thunderstorm and downpour of rain early in the afternoon and after it got dark, we got peppered with more thunder and lightning and more rain. All of this made setting up gear quite tricky!
This shot was taken inside the car, with the windscreen wipers on - that's a trick I'm going to try again!
While the clouds were solid throughout the total phase of the eclipse, the first break in the clouds passed over the moon just as totality was ending. The image at the top turned out better than anything I thought I was going to be able to get for much of the night!
The three images below show the partial phases progressing over just twenty minutes or so through gaps in the cloud, before the solid cloud returned. The telescope was tracking on an equatorial mount (EQ6) for all these images with the 5DmkII.
After packing up the main scope, I managed to catch one more image with a Pentax telephoto lens on a the Canon 1100D, just on a tripod (no tracking).
I also setup some timelapse gear to record the motion of the clouds and changing light. This video gives you a feel for the change in light during the eclipse and also how comprehensively clouded out we were until the late stages of the eclipse. There was a lot going on behind the clouds we never saw!
So I'll be noting this night down as a new personal achievement.. I've never photographed lightning and a lunar eclipse on the same night before! But now I'll be putting my telescope away for six months and looking forward to my travels in the Yukon in Canada to photograph the Aurora Borealis starting 20th January 2012, then Karen and I will make our return visit to Scotland to visit our friends which is long overdue!
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