Hey everyone it's 3:32 a.m. on 4-15-14 and I just saw the spectacular "blood moon." It really was something to behold. It's a good time to be an earthling. If you missed it, I feel for you. However you are in luck! Partly because I took photos, and also because there will be 4 this year and next. If you miss all of those though, well you're kind of screwed. The next time this will happen is in 2032.
This blood moon happens in a lunar eclipse. At this time the sun, moon, and earth line up with the earth casting a shadow on the moon. When sunlight hits the earth only red light makes it through our atmosphere and blue light is refracted (in simple terms). Some of that red light that comes through our atmosphere spills over the edges of the earth and onto the moon. So when the moon lines up just right in earth's shadow, it also catches some of that red light and reflects it back at us. If you were standing on the moon during this time you would see earth as a dark sphere with a red ring around it for a while. Us earthlings however see a red moon.
|Really bright moon I thought I needed a slow shutter speed.|
|Digital noise or stars I couldn't see?|
Unfortunately, and contrary to what I usually say about photography, astronomical photography really is a test of gear. Though it doesn't necessarily mean you can't get great photos with what you have. It's just much much better with proper gear. Gear which I sadly do not have. But I did what I could with a 200mm lens and the results were surprisingly good. It helps too that the moon was as bright as a night lamp tonight until it went behind the earth. Before the blood moon it was so bright I was at I think 1/1000 at f/11. During the blood moon however I had to come all the way down to a 5 second exposure to keep around the same aperture! It was really tough to get any photos with the moon really large in the frame so I had to crop quite a bit. Some of the photos show it some don't. All in all I think it was a success. I have never done this before but I will definitely be trying astronomical photography again in the future. I'd love to get my hands on a telescope with a camera mount.
Something weird happened tonight though. While I was going through my photos I noticed that if I brought the exposure up a bit I started to get little specs in the sky. With the light pollution in San Antonio almost all stars were invisible, and even in the photos straight from the camera they are not apparent. Not until I brought up the exposure a lot. Or was this digital noise? I think it may be because if you look at the photo above, the side of the moon in shadow actually had the little specs in it. lowered the detail in that area so you would only see a dark shadow. If it is digital noise, it sure does look cool. If it is stars then I have to admit that is pretty amazing. Whatever it is, it looks cool.
|These images really held up despite a lot of cropping.|
Well that's all folks. It is now 4:10 a.m. (my internet did not want me talking about blood moon) and I have a long math class tomorrow. The joys of college I guess.
Anyways if you like this post, or any of my other blog posts, please share this with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, the neighbor's cat, anyone! I write about a lot of stuff. Most is photography related but I also blog about games, food, and even just random thoughts that occur to me. Also leave a comment about your experience with blood moon or just so I know I am not writing this for myself. I'd really like to get more people reading and, of course, making a scene!
My flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ferbilkers/