Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice

On Monday night I stayed up to photograph the total eclipse of the moon. While lunar eclipses are not rare, it is unusual to have a total eclipse of the moon occur on the winter solstice. It last happened in 1638 and will occur again in 2094. These are a few of the photos I took when the eclipse was near totality. We were lucky to have clear skies in central New Jersey. A lot of people in North America were prevented from seeing the eclipse due to overcast conditions. The photo above was taken at 2:45 am; the one below is from 3:23 am, when the moon was almost completely dark.

The photo above is from 3:43 am; the one below is from 3:54 am. By this point the moon was clearly coming out of the earth's shadow.

I was not outside to see and photograph the full progress of the eclipse. I went out when the eclipse was approaching totality, went inside for a short break, and then went out again around the midpoint of the eclipse. Once the period of totality ended, I went back inside, posted the photos on Flickr, and went to bed. For the earlier stages, see Aydin's eclipse photos at Snails Tales. There are also photos by other people in a Flickr group set up by NASA.