Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lunar Eclipse

Tomorrow morning there will be a total lunar eclipse visible in parts of Australia. 

You can find out details at Ice In Space about where and at what time you can view all or partially the eclipse around the world.

Viewing Guide (taken from Ice In Space)

Lunar Eclipses (unlike Solar Eclipses) are completely safe to observe with the unfiltered and unaided eye - no special equipment is needed.

Telescope observations can be done, however at full moon the lack of contrast due to absence of shadow regions means that visible features are limited.

Binoculars can help improve the view, giving you more magnification and intensifying the colouration. A pair of 7x50 or 10x50's are best - any larger than that and you'll need a steady tripod to mount them on.

Sometimes a Total Lunar Eclipse is best viewed without any optical aid, and just lying under the stars watching the change as the Moon first gets slightly darker (penumbral phase), then starts to get eaten away (partial phase), finally turning deep red as it enters totality.

For something different, try predicting the Danjon Brightness Scale - a measure of the colour and brightness during totality.

For Australians and New Zealanders, the Eclipse will be start about 1.5 hours before sunrise and the Moon will set during totality - so it will be important to find a location with a good Westerly aspect where the Moon can be viewed down low. This can also present some added challenges for photography, but can also add some fantastic foreground elements to the scene if done correctly.

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