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Moonlighting


Us creative types often take inspiration from the natural world around us, so when I heard there was to be a full eclipse of the moon last Saturday night I wanted to get a good look at the phenomenon.

I've seen a lunar eclipse some years ago and remembered how fascinating it was to observe, but I didn't really have much time to study it back then, so on Saturday night I decided to do it right.


I dug out my heavy winter fleece, binoculars, SLR camera and tripod, mainly I wanted to just observe the eclipse but if there were any photographic possibilities then all the better. The shots I captured weren't great, it would take considerable experience/equipment to take images like this, neither of which I had, but they were an interesting enough record of the event.

Checkout the little animation I made from the stills frames, unfortunately I didn't have the endurance to stay out for the second half of the eclipse, that would have lasted until about 3am.


Moonshadow1

The whole event was definitely much more spectacular than I was anticipating. Normally moonlight is so even and intense that the surface looks like a flat disc, but as more of the moon's surface fell into shadow the binoculars revealed the moon as a sphere, appearing in stark 3D against the backdrop of stars. Another effect is that of the moon changing colour to a deep red in the shadows, with what looked like a 'fill-light' on the underside of the moon, due to the light refracted through our own atmosphere.

Anyone lucky enough to be observing from out in the sticks, away from the glare of the sodium streetlights, would have seen the surrounding stars blooming much more prominently as the moon's light was totally eclipsed.


So no silver bullets with me on this full moon, but a little silver hip flask full of single malt was a welcome companion for the period I was out watching.

The next total lunar eclipse will be on 21st February 2008 - so almost a case of same time next year then.

Keep watching the skies...