There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse this coming Sunday night, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate and give us a good view of the dark, red Moon. For people in the Portland, OR area there is probably not much hope, as the forecast (unsurprisingly) calls for heavy cloud cover all week. That’s why we’re down here in southern California! The forecast here, however, is quite annoying, calling for fairly clear skies for at least 2 days either side of it, but not so good at the actual time of the eclipse!
On the U.S. west coast, the Moon will start darkening around 6:30PM Sunday night. Earth’s shadow on the Moon will first appear around 7:30PM, and the peak of the eclipse occurs around 9:15PM. On the east coast just add 3 hours to each of these times. Not that you could miss it, but at the peak eclipse the Moon will be just slightly south of due east. Down here, the Moon’s elevation will be over 50 degrees, but in the north it will be around 45 degrees. Technically, it will be in the constellation Cancer, but probably easier to see as just below the Gemini stars Castor and Pollux, and to the left of the very bright star, Procyon. The Moon will be relatively close to Earth, so a bit larger in appearance than normal.
My plan (and hope) is to photograph the eclipse from out in the desert. The above photo was captured so many years ago that I don’t remember it at all, so I really want to get a better example. I’ll use the ASI1600 camera and WO Star71 telescope primarily, but will also have a DSLR camera and telephoto lens ready for wider shots. The ASI1600 is a monochrome camera with color filter wheel, which means that it can only capture accurate color if the scene is not changing, but since the exposures will be fairly short, this should work well.
I hope we all get to see it!