Lunar eclipse

A glimpse too late.

I woke suddenly as the cat jumped onto the bed and leapt over my face to get to the other side. He likes that side, as it makes a good vantage point to look out the window and survey his territory. Following his gaze, I noted it was still quite dark – too dark to be yet awake – but with a sky more clear than had been forecast. I rolled over for a better angle and, yes, there she was, the full moon setting into the west. A partial lunar eclipse had begun a couple hours earlier, and I was fortunate to be able to see it still underway. Apparently, this was the longest eclipse of its kind in 580 years.

By the time I fetched my cameras – I was unprepared because the forecast was for clouds and even some snowfall – the moon had settled behind thick clouds. I waited, not too patiently I might add, because the eclipse was rapidly fading behind those clouds. When the moon re-emerged, I snapped a quick photo in which you can barely discern the remaining eclipsed portion at lower right.

At the tail end of a lunar eclipse, the remaining occluded portion of the moon is visible but also occluded by a bit of cloud.

The moon disappeared behind more clouds and the branches of a leafless tree. When it reemerged, and I had relocated outdoors, the beaver moon shone again in its full glory. Exposure was tricky, and I never got it right before the moon set behind its final cloud bedding for the night.

Full moon setting after a lunar eclipse.

I used a Nikon D500 with a Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 lens. For more impressive photos – from better prepared, better located, better skilled photographers, check out this space.com site.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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