Lunar Eclipse

This page contains photos of the "Christopher Columbus" Lunar Eclipse of February 20, 2008. It was my first significant exercise in astronomical photography in over a decade, and my first with a digital camera. The camera was a Canon S5 IS, which is a super-zoom (12X) 'prosumer' camera with ISO capability up to 1600. There was bit of a learning curve before I started getting decent pictures, which is why there are no partial eclipse photos before the total eclipse. The camera did not have some of the features that my old film SLR has that makes it easier to do astromocial photography. In particular, there is not screw-in for a cable release on the shutter button. So even though the camera was mounted on a tripod, I had to manually press the shutter release. This caused some vibration in the camera and that brought some blur into the final product. In addition, it was intermittently breezy, which might have introduced more vibration. Why I didn't think of using the shutter timer, I don't know. It was cold, and maybe I just didn't want to stand around an extra 10 seconds per shot (I took over 40 pictures). I took pitures at ISO 800 and 1600 for between 1 and 3 seconds. The ISO 800 pictures are nicer. Less grainy. I should have tried 400 and pushed the exposure time a bit.



The Moon fully eclipsed, with Saturn (left) and Regulus (above), during the total lunar eclipse of February 20, 2008.
Photo taken at approximately 10:05 PM EST with Canon S5 IS. ISO 800. F8. About 1 second exposure.



The Moon is starting to come out of full eclipse.
Photo taken at approximately 10:40 PM EST with Canon S5 IS. ISO 800. F8. About 2 second exposure.



The Moon is about a quarter of the way out of full eclipse.
Photo taken at approximately 11:15 PM EST with Canon S5 IS. ISO 800. F8. About 1 second exposure.


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