Lunar Eclipse & Full Moon Tonight

"Egg Moon II", Copyright Jim NIckelson. All Rights Reserved.
“Egg Moon II”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

As you probably already have heard, there will be a full lunar eclipse of the full moon tonight, and one that will be visible throughout North America. Visible, that is, unless you have complete cloud cover as we are scheduled to have here in Maine. More info on this eclipse here and here.

Here are the times for the East Coast on Tuesday morning:

Eastern Daylight Time (April 15, 2014)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 1:58 a.m. EDT on April 15
Total eclipse begins: 3:07 a.m. EDT
Greatest eclipse: 3:46 a.m. EDT
Total eclipse ends: 4:25 a.m. EDT
Partial eclipse ends: 5:33 a.m. EDT

A full lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, and the moon will appear blood red due to the way light transmits through the atmosphere around the circumference of the Earth.

I’ve never actually photographed a lunar eclipse, which is why I have to lead this post with a moon eclipsed by clouds rather the earth’s shadow. The same general principles as any type of moon photography will apply, though. Specifically, make sure you have the moon in focus (infinity focus) and make sure you don’t blow out your highlights by exposure bracketing with lower exposures. There are a few articles out there with much more detailed recommendations, including this one and especially this one that I recommend.

One point to note for those of you that are socked-out is that this is the first of four consecutive total eclipses viewable from North America, each spaced about six months apart, so we’ll get our next chance on October 8th. This group of four is called a tetrad of eclipses, which is my favorite word so far of 2014…

Good luck viewing, wherever you are!

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