Partial Lunar Eclipse

Wow, what a sight!  I hope that I have captured some small measure of it’s “in-person” beauty!!

Getting up at 0230 and getting outside by 0245 went well, as did completing the TV set up and power up. I worked off of the same polar alignment that I used a couple of nights ago, and did not need to manually guide during what I estimate to be about sixty second capture runs. Short focal length was my friend in this regard.

The temperature was 40 degrees, and humidity was low. No moisture on optics or equipment during the one hour and fifteen minute session. I could hear wind in the trees, but only felt an occasional slight breeze. I could see the image shimmering on the display, which at 540 mm focal length means that seeing wasn’t great.

My prep plan for earlier in the day was to make sure that my optics were clean, and to assemble and refamiliarize myself with the Canon on the wind up tracker.

The Moon was in a clear patch of sky when I went outside, but I could see high clouds off to the west. My guess upon seeing this is that I might have to patiently wait for a short gap in the clouds to capture an image when the time came.

The initial bank of clouds passed though leaving another clear patch for a while, but another bank of clouds had appeared to the west. By the time was ready to image, the sky overhead was completely clear, but more clouds had appeared very low on the western horizon. These clouds had not yet arrived by the time that I went inside at 0430, but I could see that they were closer than they were 40 minutes earlier.

Apparently I did not learn a lesson last July when I shot Three Comets. The lesson that I thought that I had learned was to set it up and get familiar with getting it pointed. I completely forgot to do that earlier in the day. I thought about abandoning that part of the session, but I had the Moon up on Firecapture with 30 minutes before I wanted to start shooting. I was able to get the Canon/tracker assembled, and get back to the TV with ten minutes to go.

I proceeded with my plan which was to image through the TV at 0400, which was near maximum eclipse, and then work with the Canon. The rationale for this strategy was that the TV image was the main event, and I didn’t want to put that activity at risk by fiddling with the Canon. Also, the image scale with the Canon/50mm lens made me think that being past the maximum eclipse might make for a better picture.

I encountered one equipment problem. On attempting a nudge with the hand controller, the mount ran away. I was using the hardware arrow keys on back of the controller. I turned it over to look at the display arrow keys, and it indicated that the key was still being pressed. I tapped the hardware key, and it released. I had no problem slewing back to the Moon. I’ll have to read up on this issue to see what needs to be done and how to do it.

Knowing that what I see on the display and what I get in processing is two completely different looks, I took a couple of capture runs at various exposure levels with both cameras.

I powered down, covered up, and was back inside by 0435. Looking forward to seeing what I can pull out of the data.

Lunar Eclipse - 2021-11-19 09:06 UTC
The Moon, Partial Lunar Eclipse

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