I set up the reflectors for the Eclipse on the 14th. This was my very first lunar eclipse, and I’ll say, it was spectacular.
As expected, the Eclipse started around 11:00, seen as a dark protrusion on one side. The image of the moon dramatically changed over a period of just a few minutes. My little brother Kevin joined and took control of the RV-6, and really enjoyed swapping out eyepieces. It was a lot of fun, and he was very impressed with the views. I was using the 12.5″ and the moon is so bright my eye started to hurt after a while. Kevin came over and enjoyed several minutes on the stepladder intently watching the eclipse. I think he may have an early case of aperture fever!
The shadow continued to creep over surface, gobbling up crater after crater into the inky shadow. I could still see the features, but they were faint in the shadow. Eventually, a soft orange glow came over the shadow area and made the features more pronounced. I created a 4 photo montage showing the stages of the event.
I edited the photos to bring out the red orange coloring, and to make the surface features more apparent. In reality it appeared more subdued. As Lunar totality arrived, I noticed that my surroundings had drastically changed. For one, it was very dark, and many stars came out. Usually on a full moon all but the very brightest stars are washed out, but now with the eclipsed moon, it was dark like a night without a moon. Also, it became very quiet. The crickets ceased their chirping and the wind had finally settled down. It was amazing watching the eclipse. There was scattered clouds throughout the evening, but I managed to get excellent views. During totality, a cloud would pass over and it would turn the same color as the moon. Soon after totality, I had to go to bed, as it was a school night!
As much as I would have loved to make a sketch of the moon, during this event, sketching anything lunar is extremely difficult for me. Deep sky? No problem. Planets? I can do it. Lunar? No way! There is another lunar eclipse this October, and hopefully it will be as exciting as this one was. I’m glad I got to experience this, even though it happens relatively often. It’s always nice to have a total lunar eclipse as your first one! I found that the views through my 40mm finder scopes were spectacular, just as good as through the big scope and the RV-6. In this case, it’s not aperture that counts as much as magnification, which should be low. In any case, a lunar eclipse is really fun to experience, telescope or not.