August 30, 2007

Observing the August 28th Lunar Eclipse

duke eclipse.jpgI observed the total lunar eclipse on 28 August from my farm in southern Indiana. Conditions were very good for a late August evening in the Ohio valley. I decided to try my hand at imaging the eclipse with both a tripod mounted digital camera and a Meade LPI USB camera mounted on an ETX90EC. I intended to attempt the eclipse timing experiment proposed by John Westfall but unfortunately misunderstood when to expect “first contact” of the umbral shadow.

I began setting up the camera and telescope at about 0845 UT (4:45 EDT). By approximately 0852 UT the umbral shadow was clearly visible and I began to realize that I’d goofed on my estimation of first contact. I began observing in earnest at 0900 UT (5:00 am EDT). The plan was to fix the tripod mounted camera and take a series of images spaced at 3 minute intervals.

eclipse 28 aug 071-1.jpg

Naked eye timing of “second contact” (umbral shadow across the full lunar disc) was 09:51:32 UT. I continued to observe totality until approximately 10:15 UT when the Moon’s disc dropped into the tree line on the southwestern corner of my property. I found this eclipse to be somewhat darker than recent lunar eclipses at approximately 2.5 on the Danjon scale.


The eclipse composite was taken by Duke Marsh in New Albany, IN. The lower image was taken using the LPI/ETX at approximately 0931 UT. Click on the images to enlarge them.  I invite you to submit your eclipse images and will post them here on Message me here about sending your images.

If you participated in the naked eye eclipse timing experiment please report your observations to John Westfall

Our interview with Dr. Westfall regarding the naked eye timing experiment is interesting listening, even after the eclipse. Click the “play” icon below to listen

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