Total Eclipse of the Moon
Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 at 1:11 am HST

Below is my latest effort Comet NEOWISE

Recent Spectacular Comet NEOWISE taken on July 17th, 2020 from Princeville Hawaii.
NEOWISE is the abbreviated term for Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, aka NEOWISE
Its an instrument used to detect astronomical bodies that approach Earth.

Comet Pan-Starrs made its appearance in March of 2013.
We raced to Ke'e beach at the end of the road for a clear path of vision to the west.
Here it is paired with a waxing new moon and it gives you some idea of the size of it in the sky.

Comet Hale-Bopp
Reputedly one of the most viewed comets in history.
I took this in my back yard just before dawn in mid-March 1997.

Comet Hyakutake
This shot was taken during the first blush of digital cameras.
They had just become available to the general public and were very cheap and crude. Hence the grainyness and smearing of the stars.
Interesting side note is the fact that I included the asterism "Big Dipper" at the top of the shot.
This was to try to convey the size of the comets tail, about the size of 8 full moons placed along the line of the tail.

There are 2 main types of Eclipses: Solar and Lunar
First some Solar Eclipses.

There was Total Eclipse of the Sun on March 07, 1970. It skirted the east coast, see chart below.
It was only about a 75% partial in Central Massachusetts. where I was living at the time.
My friend Eddie Angelico and I decided to attempt the camera obscura method to capture this image.

A bit of Trivia
You may recall the Carly Simon song from 1972: "You're So Vain".
Some of the 2nd verse lyrics are:
"You flew your Lear jet to Nova Scotia to see the Total Eclipse of the Sun"
This was that eclipse, historians say that she was referring to Warren Beatty.

Solar Eclipse Across America on August 21, 2017.
Here's the larger view of the past and next Total Eclipse of the Sun across the USA.

August 21, 2017 the path of this Total Eclipse of the Sun crossed America,
It cut a swath from Oregon to Georgia. Possibly the most observed eclipse in history. We had to travel to get to the center-line.
We chose Wyoming because of the high likelyhood of clear skies and a small settlement called Jay-Em would be uncrowded and was right on the centerline.

First Contact is defined as when the outer edge of the Moons disk is detectedd to contact the outer edge of the Sun.
This shot was taken about 8 minutes after first contact. Deceptively the sky looks completely black in the photo.
But in reality, its still light out and the sky is really blue.
This is due to the solar filter used to dim the rays of the bright sun.

Here we are about at 75% totality. Its still light out but approaching twilight.

Here is the last minute before totality. The sliver will actually disapear completely and like somebody hit the light switch the sky goes black.

The Moment of Totality! Actually our location in Wyoming provided 2 minutes and 48 seconds of Totality.
Removing the Solar Filter now to get the correct exposure. The stars were visible.
The star at about 8 o'clock from the sun is Regulus in the constellation of Leo.

When projected on a big screen TV, we noticed something odd.
I used photoshop to lighten and enhance the contrast and we discovered an "Eclipse Tour Jet Plane" used for longer observational periods.
We deduced that because it was flying along the path of totality, the same direction of the path of the moon in front of the sun.

The last photo treat is the Diamond Ring effect.
Its created as the sun emerges from behind the moons trailing edge.

After putting the solar filter back in place, you can see the moon as it slides away from covering the sun.
You can grasp the concept of the moon passing exactly in front of the sun.
As the whole process repeats itself only in the other direction.

Lunar Eclipse

Its our old friend the Moon. Controller of Tides, Influencer of Love!

In Lunar Eclipses the earths shadow passes over the moon.
Just as in the solar version, there is "first contact".
Its not as exciting as the solar, so here we're at about 25%.

Now at 75%

And 100% Totality, the moon turns blood red.
During a total lunar eclipse, Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.
The only light reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted by Earth's atmosphere.
This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does.

The Moon

In this blurry shot we see the planet Saturn about to be Occulted (pass behind) by the Moon.
I knew about this happening and the timing of it. But it totally slipped my mind.
A friend called and asked me "Hey whats that next to the Moon?"
I rushed out, no tripod, no cable release, and caught it in a simple point and shoot just as it disappeared behind the moon.
Lucky shot, but blurry, thats why I call this section "My Attempts at Astrophotography.

The Sun

The Transit of Venus on June 06, 2012.
This phenomena occurs in pairs every 105.5 years, the instances are 8 years apart. The last pair of transits occured in 2004 and 2012.
That means its not going to happen again until 2117.
The circumstances about this very lucky shot was that it was taken without a solar filter.
I knew the timing was early afternoon that day. We had some patchy cloud cover, so I did not think I could get the shot.
I pressed the shutter at least 60 times while clouds passed overhead from 2 differennt locations, with all manner of shutter speeds and aperatures.
Out of all that I came up with a usable picture once I ran it through photoshop.


The Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus on June 30th 2015.
Extemely close conjunction with only 24' (minutes) of separation.
There are 60' minutes in 1 degree of the sky.
Venus is below at 8 o'clock from Jupiter.

More to come
Version 05.26.21