The objectives for the session were to capture DSLR 50 frames of the full moon before the beginning of the eclipse, capture a time-lapse sequence of the eclipse from beginning of the penumbra phase until the beginning of totality, and capture 50 frames of the fully eclipsed Moon before losing it in the trees to the west. The full moon frames are for stacking into a Beaver Moon image. The time-lapse frames fill be compiled into an AVI animation of the moon’s ingress toward totality, and the 50 frames of totality will be stacked into a Blood Moon image.
My starting point for the session was with the Farm V equipment still in the GC, and the TV was in the cottage. I was setting up from scratch, I got a late start and it gets dark very early now, so it was well past dark by the time I finished setting up.
I have not yet repaired the G11 hand controller cord, so I used the GM8 hand controller. PoleMaster software could not find the camera until I changed USB ports on the laptop. Reading up on this I see that cables are a common problem. My unit is five years old, so I will replace the cable before it completely stops working. Instead of setting up in my usual spot near the driveway and the corner of the cottage, I set up on the north side of the shed on the eastern side of the yard so that I could follow the moon closer to the horizon to capture as much of the eclipse as possible. Otherwise, setup was nominal.
I added the 2x PowerMate and the 60Da to the TV. I chose this configuration because at this image scale the Moon fills about 2/3 of the sensor frame from top to bottom, which is a good balance between image size and having room for drift without having to sit and watch the display constantly for the duration of the time-lapse. I returned outside to check framing, histogram and battery every thirty minutes. I might have adjusted framing every other trip outside, but it really wasn’t necessary as there plenty of drift room to spare.
With the penumbral phase beginning at 0302, I set an alarm for 0215 and went outside to get slewed to the moon, take a series of 50 images of the pre-eclipse moon for stacking, and to prepare a 60s time-lapse sequence on the 60Da. The temperature was 52 degrees and the RH was 35%. There was a constant light breeze with occasional stiff gusts. The sky was covered with very high and extremely thin clouds with occasional slightly thicker clouds passing by. I expect the passing clouds to be visible in when I compile the AVI.
The slightly thicker clouds were gone by 0400, but now a constant stiff breeze was present. The temperature had dropped to 49 degrees, and the RH had risen to 49%.
The exposure settings for the pre-eclipse moon and for the initial time-lapse frames were ISO 100, 1/250s. These setting’s centered the moon’s hump in the middle 1/3 of the histogram. After the pre-eclipse capture, I started the time-lapse sequence at 0257, and I let it run until 0517 when the eclipse reached totality. In total, 125 frames were captured.
I went outside for the final time to transition from time-lapse capture to total eclipse capture at 0410. The temperature was 47 degrees and the RH was 54%. The exposure settings needed to recenter the moon’s hump in the histogram were ISO 3200 and 1.3s.
The histogram for the fully eclipsed moon was interesting, but not surprising. There was no blue, because all of that light was scatted as it passed through the Earth’s atmosphere on its limb as seen from the Moon. There was some green, but it was bunched up near the black point. The red was spread from the black point to about the 75% point.
The session was complete and I was back inside at 0545 as dawn had just began to appear in the east. There was no dew on anything. I think that the breeze kept the dew away.
Ordering a PoleMaster cable is the only new to-do list item from the session. I still have two to-do items left over from Farm V: repair the G11 hand controller and get set up to connect to the mount for autoguiding during planetary imaging sessions.
This was a very enjoyable session. I think that I the data that I captured will produce the images that I am looking for, and I look forward to having images to share soon.