The beginning of totality during the total lunar eclipse – 28 September 2015. Credit: Will Gater
On Monday morning the skies were clear over Somerset and we were treated to a beautiful total lunar eclipse. Totality was notably dark producing a much more dramatic drop in sky brightness than the one I remember from the 2007 total lunar eclipse. The purple/turquoise fringe of the umbral shadow (caused by stratospheric ozone absorption) seemed less pronounced however. Below are a few of my pics from the event. You’ll also find them over on my new astro image site willgaterastrophotography.com.
The full Moon rising on the night of the 27 September 2015. Credit: Will GaterThe perigee full Moon before the eclipse had begun. Credit: Will Gater
The umbral shadow of the Earth progressing across the disc of the Moon. Credit: Will Gater
Composite montage of the entire lunar eclipse from beginning (right) to end (left). Credit: Will Gater
The delicate purple edge of the umbral shadow shortly after totality had ended. Credit: Will Gater
Stars down to around 13th magnitude showing up behind the totally eclipsed Moon. Credit: Will Gater
A wide-field view of the totally eclipsed Moon. Credit: Will Gater
Montage showing the rough outline of the umbral shadow. Credit: Will Gater
The moment of greatest eclipse. Credit: Will Gater
The totally eclipsed Moon above thin cloud and a hedgerow. Credit: Will Gater
Venus, Jupiter & the crescent Moon. (Click for full-size version) Credit: Will Gater
Jupiter, Venus and the crescent Moon are putting on a wonderful show in the west after sunset at the moment. The picture above shows the view last night with Jupiter and the Moon separated by roughly 3 degrees. A close-up of the view (below) shows the Moon and Jupiter as well as two of the Galilean satellites – Ganymede and Callisto. Tonight the view is no less spectacular with the brilliant Venus and the crescent Moon a little over 2 degrees apart. Pop out and see them if you can.
While you’re out, look out for the effect known as ‘Earthshine’. This is where sunlight reflected off the Earth’s bright cloud tops lights up the part of the Moon that isn’t directly lit by the Sun; it’s best seen when the Moon is a thin crescent, like it is at the moment. You can see Earthshine clearly illuminating the face of the Moon in the image below.
Jupiter, the crescent Moon & Earthshine. (Click for full-size version) Credit: Will Gater