September 28, 2015

SUBJECT: Super Moon Eclipse


lunar eclipse composite
A total of 44 images make up this image depicting last night's eclipse. For a larger copy, click on the above image.

Last night's full moon was called a super moon. The moon travels around the earth, not in a circle but an ellipse. Because of this, last night's moon was closer to the earth than other times. This means the moon appears slighter larger and slightly brighter. Add an eclipse to the mix, and it this makes a super moon lunar eclipse.

Is it a big deal? Not really. I doubt that most people could correctly identify a super moon eclipse versus a regular lunar eclipse. The duration of totality is slightly longer and the moon appears slightly larger in the sky, but those are the only two attributes worth noting.

Of course, the media got a hold of this and made it into a "Super Moon, Blood Red Eclipse." The color red is due to the reflection of the earth's atmosphere off of the moon's surface. If you were standing on the moon during a lunar eclipse, you would see a bright red ring around a dark earth. In other words, you would be seeing sunrises and sunsets around the entire earth. The earth's atmosphere would be glowing red and depending upon how much dust and smoke is in the earth's atmosphere, the red/orange colors vary from year-to-year.

Luckily here in southeast Minnesota, the skies were clear last night and the entire eclipse was viewable. To photograph this event, I used two cameras: the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 7D Mark II.

The 5D was set up along the shores of the Mississippi River south of Brownsville along with a robotic device (Emotimo TB3) that pan the skies while taking snapshots. I used this setup to take a time-lapse of the event.

Back at the ranch, I used the Canon 7D Mark II to take numerous, high-resolution shots of the moon using the Canon 600mm lens.

The image at the top of the page, is a composite of 44 different images taken with the 7D, superimposed onto one of the shots taken with the 5D along the Mississippi River.It took a lot of work to create the composite image, but I like the results!

Here's one of the high-res images showing the moon at full eclipse. Note how stars are visable directly off of the limb of the moon. If the moon was fully lit, those stars would be lost in the glare of the moon!

lunar eclipse super moon

And finally, here's a 4k time-lapse video of the eclipse. I slowed down the time-lapse during totality. It is amazing to see the difference in brightness between the full moon and during the eclipse. This really puts into perspective how much darker skies are during a new moon versus full moon. Enjoy!:



Please be sure to watch the video on Youtube at the highest resolution of your monitor.

—Alan Stankevitz


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All photographs © 2002-2015, Alan Stankevitz

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