I went off just outside Mather airport and started to set my telescope up. Unfortunately I didn’t have both of my telescopes with me so I couldn’t broadcast live. With me I had my William Optics Megrez 72 APO.
The night was very humid, cold but there wasn’t any wind at all. As the eclipse was progressing the moon was turning more and more red/orange.
- ISO-100 and 200 with Canon EOS 50D
- Exposure Time: See each image for details
- Telescope: William Optics Megrez 72mm f/6 Doublet Apo Refractor
- Mount: Sky Watcher EQ6 Pro
- Date/Time: 1/31/2018, 3:03 to 5:42 AM (PST)
- File Format: RAW (CR2)
- Weather Conditions: Cloud Cover from 40% to 10%, Transparency below average, seeing average 3/5, darkness 4.4 for 0.2 hours and magnitude 4.3 at full eclipse.
- Wind: 6 to 11 mph (Forecast), 0 to 5 mph (Actual)
- Humidity: 85% to 90%
- Temperature: 41° to 50° F (5° to 10° C)
The humidity was the major disrupting factor this night. I had to bring in both telescope and camera twice and put the car heater on to get rid the moisture that was on the lenses causing the images to get worse over time. Unfortunately my telescopes are not equipped with a dew heater so over time they accumulate condensation from the surrounding air.
Despite that set back the night was remarkably beautiful and quiet. Only the airfield lights and street lights kept shining in the distant background. A few curious bypassing cars stopped to see what I was doing in the darkness and took the chance to look at the spectacle themselves. I must say they were very considerate and turned off their beams to not blind me which I appreciated lots. Thank you!
The results are presented below,
To work with lunar eclipse exposure times you can use the following formula in your preparations:
- t = exposure time
- f = focal ratio
- Q = lunar brightness value
- I = ISO #
If you don’t know the focal ratio of your telescope/camera lens you can find that out by calculating f = focal length / aperture. Lunar brightness can be determined through the Danjon scale. More information on exposures and lunar brightness visit Mr Eclipse website here. Fred Espenak’s table breaks it down very straight forward and simple right here.
These are the first images now from Sacramento as the eclipse is currently on-going.
So it was time to head out of the apartment and head for my spot to take a nice shot of the supermoon. I sneaked out as quietly as I could and try to avoid waking up my wife and our baby sleeping still heavily. I left around 4:30 AM and started driving towards the TRACON area (TRACON is responsible for air traffic control for the whole West of US). Once I arrived I turned in their parking lot, but a security guard approached me letting me know I wasn’t allowed to park there but they were kind enough to advice me to park across the street. I thanked them and also asked them if they knew about the supermoon showing up this morning and their response was “Yeah! We’ve been watching it all night”. I left shortly after our short conversation looking at the security guards gazing high up in the night sky all in awe about the brightens of this beautiful full moon.
I couldn’t center the statue I had in mind (a statue of army pilots pointing towards the sky. I thought it would have been awesome to put the moon at their finger tips but that plan and angle didn’t work all too well because of the tree line in the way) and so I changed quickly plans and had the Californian state flag and US flag poles centered in the middle. Fortunately from that angle the trees weren’t in my way.
And here we go, supermoon in all its glory
For you who have missed this event, there’s one more chance the 13th of December. I’ll be back about it and might make a new try again for my perfect shot.