Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Snow Moon eclipse

Early in the evening of 10 February 2017, the moon was full. The Farmers Almanac calls this full moon, the Snow Moon.

Not only that —as observed over Atlanta, Georgia— there was a partial lunar eclipse that night, a celestial occurrence you could look at it without burning your retinas.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned (in "syzygy") exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can occur only the night of a full moon.

And so it was, and so I snapped this photo. Without a telescope. You can see the eclipse-darkening at the 10 o'clock position of the moon's disc.

Snow Moon eclipse (@ 8:30 pm ET)
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1
  • Lens: Lumix G Vario 45-200mm telephoto zoom
  • ISO: 500
  • Shutter speed: 1/2000
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Focal length: Micro 4/3 200mm
    (equivalent to DSLR range of 400mm)
In no way was this a great lunar portrait. (I'm no photographer; I don't even play one on this blog.) But in my portfolio, it was a personal best. Heck, I even framed the Micro Four Thirds shot with the rule of thirds. Compare that to this one, below, a photo that I took the same evening, but —without forethought of shutter, aperture, and ISO— a luminous blob:

Snow Moon rising (02)

Later in the night, the comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusáková flew within 7,732,000 miles of the Earth. Unfortunately, it was visible only with a telescope.

Maybe next time, five years from now.


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