December 10th will bring us a total lunar eclipse visible from much of the United States. It will be the last such total lunar eclipse for the next 3 years. The Eastern United states will get just a glimpse of the first umbral contact as the moon sets and the sun rises, but the Western continental US will see the moon totally eclipsed as it sets. Get up at least an hour before sunrise to see it, and look low in the west.
What’s not clear is how visible the moon will be since twilight will begin to drown out the fully eclipsed moon for western observers. However if you’re a “Moon hunter” like I am, this eclipse provides a rare opportunity to catch the eclipsed moon together with features near the horizon – landmarks, mountains, etc and THAT is quite unusual. The ideal place to be would be about one time zone west of the Pacific time zone… so perhaps those in the far western Canadian Provinces and those in Eastern Alaska and Hawaii will have ideal conditions. For them, there will be plenty of time to track the eclipse.
Many of those in the San Francisco Bay area are in for a big treat as the eclipsed moon will slip behind the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge – IF you can find the right spot to be. Here is an approximation of what those with clear weather and good timing likely to see (except, of course it will be early twilight):
I wrote about this event previously. If you’re interested in calculating these things for yourself, I have scheduled the next “Night Photography 111: Catching the Moon Webinar” for January 4, 2012 (webinar cost $25.11). What have the students said about this webinar?
- Steven did an excellent job with the training. – Judy, San Jose, CA
- Top notch, even for a novice such as myself. Wish it was longer, so much to learn – Jack, Los Angeles, CA
- Great presentation! Steven offers a perfect balance between inspirational shots, moon facts and figures, and calculations to make our own moon compositions. – Phil, San Francisco, CA
- Wow did I ever learn a lot. I have been trying to shoot the full moon every month this past year. Some pics were okay and some not. After this class, I feel like I have some new tools to plan my shots and get a lot closer to my vision of the shot or maybe realize it won’t work after all and revise accordingly. I am already planning for my next full moon. – Marsha, San Francisco, CA
- SteveC is a Great Teacher – Roger, San Francisco, CA
If you’re thinking that Astrophotography might be worth trying, my next Astrophotography 101: Getting Started Without Getting Soaked is December 20th (cost $36).
- Excellent presentation – MUCH better than I expected. Steven really knows the material, and has it well prepared. – Burt
- A lot of very good information presented in a way that a beginner can understand. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that astrophotography can be attempted for less than the price of a new lens. – Phil
- Excellent introduction to astrophotography. – Alan