About acubedsf

SFF Author * Engineer * Mom

Super Blood Wolf Moon – Total Lunar Eclipse

Last night was the “Super Blood Wolf Moon” total lunar eclipse, so named because the Moon is currently closer to the Earth (super), it was a total eclipse (blood), in January (wolf).  By the way, my favorite full moon name is “Worm Moon” in March.  I think that would make a great story title.

We just had a cold front come through, so it was cold, but perfectly clear.  This was definitely the best and longest lunar eclipse I have ever seen, and the delightful enthusiasm from my young neighbors across the street added to my enjoyment.

I considered trying to use my intervalometer to make a detailed time lapse, but I knew I’d want to play around with camera settings too much.  So I used a sequence of shots to make a time lapse slideshow.

The full Moon is basically lit like daylight.

fullmoon20190120

Camera geek info:

  •            Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/5.6, 1/800 second exposure, ISO 100
  •            Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 300 mm, manual focus
  •            Tripod
  •            Cable release

When the Moon was mostly eclipsed, it started to turn red.  I could either set the camera to get the detail of the lit side (and lose all the part in shadow), or set it for the shadow.  I thought the shadow picture was more interesting.

eclipsingmoon20190120

Camera geek info:

  •            Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/5.6, 1 second exposure, ISO 100
  •            Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 300 mm, manual focus
  •            Tripod
  •            Cable release

When the Moon was fully eclipsed, it was dark red.  The camera picked up more color with a longer time exposure.  It was harder to focus, though, since the Moon was so dim.

totallunareclipse20190120

Camera geek info:

  •            Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/5.6, 2 second exposure, ISO 100
  •            Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 300 mm, manual focus
  •            Tripod
  •            Cable release

When the Moon was coming out of the eclipse, dew had started to settle on the camera lens, so I got an interesting effect before I went inside to warm up my cold camera. And myself.

uneclipsingmoonwithdew

Camera geek info:

  •            Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/5.6, 1 second exposure, ISO 100
  •            Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 300 mm, manual focus
  •            Tripod
  •            Cable release

Lunar Halo

lunarhalo20190117

Last night I spotted a beautiful lunar halo.  Time for some astrophotography!

Lunar halos are caused by ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. Since those high-cloud ice crystals can precede low-pressure systems, they sometimes mean rain is coming.  And, in fact, that is what the weatherman predicts.

BTW, these halos are quite large, 22 degrees in radius, as my use of my widest angle lens might suggest.

Camera geek info:

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4, 4 second exposure, ISO 400
  •             Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens, set at 10 mm, manual focus at infinity
  •             Tripod

Quadrantid Meteors 2019

stars20190104

Last night was the peak of the quadrantid meteor shower. The peak actually happened over the UK, but I hoped there would still be some quadrantids visible here in Texas. The moon hadn’t risen, a cold front had come through, and the sky was clear and beautiful.  I sat outside and stared up into the sky.  I saw one bright meteor and a handful of dim ones.  One crossed the bowl of the Big Dipper, which was neat.

My camera didn’t catch any meteors, but I did get some lovely pictures of the stars and a plane (the blinking lights on a plane make a dashed line).  There’s always something good to see, even if it wasn’t what I had planned.

Camera geek info:

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4, 13 second exposure, ISO 500
  •             Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens, set at 10 mm, manual focus at infinity
  •             Tripod
  •             Intervalometer

Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Comet46P-Wirtanen-20181216-1AM-acubedsf

I was excited to learn that there was a comet that might be visible to the naked eye this month.  I went out Tuesday night and was not able to see it, but was able to spot it in my pictures.  Unfortunately, the pictures were poor.

And then it rained.

And now it is clear again, and Comet 46P/Wirtanen is visible in binoculars, but still not obvious naked eye.  I got out all my tools to try to get a decent picture.

It’s right next to the Pleiades – a gorgeous site in themselves.

Camera geek info:

  •             Canon EOS 60D in manual mode set at f/4.5, 20 second exposure, ISO 500
  •             Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, set at 150 mm, manual focus
  •             iOptron SkyTracker with ballhead
  •             Tripod
  •             Cable Release

Have you been able to spot it?

Cloud Column/Alien Seed

CloudColumn 20181026 - 6 of 19

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has recently added a new sculpture to its sculpture garden: Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Column.”  I think it looks like an alien seed pod.  I love it!  I want to go back and photograph it at sunrise/sunset when the sky is amazing.

(Note: I think the sculpture in front of it looks like an alien, too.  Real name: Bird (Oiseau).  It’s one of my favorites.)