Tag Archives: moon

Lunar Eclipse, January 2019

Full moon, mostly red except for a whiter edge at the upper left.

The evening was hectic, and I almost forgot. I had literally just put my son to bed when I remembered, “The eclipse!” We went out to see if the sky was clear.

Clouds were rushing across the sky, but for the most part, it was clear, and we had a perfect view of the moon looking like a dark brown chunk of rock in the sky.

(Then I spent 10 minutes fighting with camera settings while he went back to bed.)

Update: I went back out about an hour later to check out the view as the moon left the earth’s shadow, and caught these two photos, taken about the same time with different exposures so that you can see either the lit portion of the moon, or the part that’s still in the earth’s shadow.

Pumpkin Pie Moon

Orange moon in a night sky above a darkened horizon with city lights.

I suggest that a deep orange moon right before Christmas be called a Pumpkin Pie Moon.

I was coming home shortly after sunset, got to the top of a hill and saw this deep orange moon, flattened near the horizon. By the time I found a place to stop, it had risen high enough that it was mostly round.

Composite of a background shot (the moon was waay too bright!) and a zoom photo of the moon. I apparently moved a little bit, so the wire passing in front of it doesn’t line up exactly.

Super Blue Blood Moon Blur

I woke up way too early to see if the Super Blue Blood Moon* eclipse would be visible or blocked by clouds. (You never know, and I didn’t want to wake up the kiddo in the middle of a school night if there wasn’t anything to see.) I had a clear view, but the street lights were too bright to see the red color. It just looked dull brown.

So I took a couple of pictures, then went back in to wake up the kid. He still wanted to go out and see, but only for one look. Totally understandable. I carried him out, we looked at the darkened moon, then I carried him back in and put him back to bed.

It’s the third lunar eclipse he’s seen, though one of them we didn’t get to see much of since it was so cloudy. And while it’s not as cool as a total solar eclipse, it’s something you can see with no special equipment by walking out into your front yard anywhere in the world that has a view of the moon during the several hours it takes the Earth’s shadow to move across it.

I went back out one last time to try for some photos of totality, but they didn’t come out any better than the ones I took the first time. I looked around for a spot that might be darker and still have a view of the moon (without trespassing in someone else’s back yard), but didn’t see one — there are way too many lights at night these days. Then I tried to place the constellations I could see, and failed. Then I went back in to go back to bed.

Unfortunately I don’t think I really got back to sleep, so I’ve been dragging all morning. The interruption didn’t help the kiddo either, so getting him to school was a bit of a challenge.

*Blood moon: lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow darkening the moon & turning it red. Cool to see, widely visible.
Super moon: full moon during closest point in orbit, looks slightly bigger.
Blue moon: 2nd full moon in a calendar month, otherwise no difference.

Moon Moon: Phone vs. Camera Revisted

Flowers with moon and jupiter

I spotted this view of the moon and Jupiter bordered by flowers while at the Orange County Fair last week. While I love the look of the shot, it’s terribly grainy and full of compression artifacts. My phone isn’t great at things like zoom or low light conditions. I’ve been using it as my main camera for the past year, since it’s great in bright daylight, and my old camera is riddled with dust I can’t get rid of. But this, plus plans for a vacation where I knew I’d really want a working zoom, combined to be the last straw.

Major criteria:

  • Serious optical zoom
  • Low light
  • Long exposure
  • Wi-Fi would be nice, but not critical

I checked out a bunch of cameras and settled on a Canon PowerShot SX710 with 30x(!) optical zoom. They’ve automated a lot of the mode settings the older models used to have, but there are still a few specific modes you can use and you can still take photos with manual settings. And yes, you can transfer photos over Wi-Fi, to a device, a computer, or a cloud service.

One of the first things I did after charging the battery was go outside to see how it handled night shooting. Then I looked up and saw the moon.

Moon

So far, so good!

Amusingly, this happened the last time I bought a camera too.

Moonrise

The full moon hung low in the east, rising pale yellow against a shadowed sky. A cluster of lights floated next to it, airplanes lining up for approach to the runway I was driving past. I’d glanced over just as I passed under their flight path.

Above the moon and the lights, a band of pink crossed the sky. Above that, it shaded into blue.

To the west, past a chain link fence, past the tracks being laid down for a rail extension, past the expanse of the runway itself, the sky was orange. Bright yellow clouds, the only clouds in the sky, shone with light from the sun that hadn’t quite set for them yet.

I drove on.