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Unstrange Phenomena

12 December 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse Put On Intense Red Display, Photos: 10 Dec 2011

lunar eclipse

LUNAR ECLIPSE: Five moons, a composite image of a lunar eclipse, showing the path of the moon into and then out of earth's shadow. (Telescope Image).   Source: Supplied

From Denny:  The 10 December 2011 total lunar eclipse was the last total lunar eclipse to be seen until April 2014.  At least we can view a partial lunar eclipse on 4 June 2012.  It was reported to be an intense red, putting on quite a show in the sky.  In fact, the type of red color was considered a rare treat.

Of course, when I went out to view it here in south Louisiana all I got was a completely cloudy sky.  It's time for me to move up to higher ground, like the mountains.  The Gulf Coast just doesn't cut it for proper skygazing. :)

From atmospheric scientist and eclipse expert Richard Keen of the University of Colorado: "During the lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the moon passes through the stratosphere, where it is reddened by scattering.  If the stratosphere is loaded with dust from volcanic eruptions, the eclipse will be dark. A clear stratosphere, on the other hand, produces a brighter eclipse."

"At the moment, the stratosphere is mostly clear, with little input from recent volcanoes. That explains the brightness of the eclipse.  It might also be possible to see a hint of turquoise as the bodies become aligned."

"Light passing through the upper atmosphere penetrates the ozone layer, which absorbs red light and actually makes the passing light-ray bluer.  This can be seen as a soft blue fringe around the red core of Earth's shadow. Look for the turquoise near the beginning of the eclipse, when the edge of Earth's shadow is sweeping across the lunar terrain."
Check out this "impossible" celestial geometry phenomenon that is possible, according to space.com:

"For most places in the United States and Canada, there will be a chance to observe an unusual effect, one that celestial geometry seems to dictate can't happen. The little-used name for this effect is a "selenelion" (or "selenehelion") and occurs when both the sun and the eclipsed moon can be seen at the same time.
But wait!  How is this possible?  When we have a lunar eclipse, the sun, Earth and moon are in a geometrically straight line in space, with the Earth in the middle. So if the sun is above the horizon, the moon must be below the horizon and completely out of sight (or vice versa).
And indeed, during a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky; so in a perfect alignment like this (a "syzygy") such an observation would seem impossible. 
But it is atmospheric refraction that makes a selenelion possible."

I've been scouring the web for actual video footage of the event and so far no luck.  Will update this post should it become available.  However, for the thousands of you who came looking for those photos at this blog, enjoy!

Alaska, Hawaii, northwestern Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and central and eastern Asia got the best seats in the global house for the viewing.

Total lunar eclipse photos from Phoenix, Ariz., by Charles Jones

Skywatcher Charles R. Jones II took this photo of the total lunar eclipse Dec. 10 from Phoenix, Ariz.
CREDIT: Charles R. Jones II - 
View full size image

This astronomer in the video talks about this lunar eclipse - as well as the three morning sky planets to watch in December:

As seen from Hawaii:  "video predicting what the December 2011 lunar eclipse will look like from Hawaii. "In this video we also explain what happens during the eclipse, and give some nice facts and trivia. Created with stellarium (stellarium.org). Music by Van Morrison – Moonlight."

Lunar Eclipse December 10 2011 as seen from Hawaii from lovebigisland on Vimeo.

These photos are from observers in Hawaii on 10 Dec 2011:

This shot is a seven photo composite of where the it begins at totality and follows the Earth's shadow as it moves away from the Moon.  Photo by Steve and Donna O'Meara

Mauna Kea is one of those places where the clouds seldom interfere with stargazing.  These photos were taken by Ethan Tweedie and Baron Sekiya:

lunar eclipse december 10 2011 ethan tweedy

Jupiter in the lower left. Taken 4:27AM Hawaii Standard time from the summit of Mauna Kea at 13,796 feet. Temperature 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Image credits: Ethan Tweedie: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ethan-Tweedie-Photography/340905756938

lunar eclipse december 10 2011 hawaii Baron Sekiya

A composite of four images during the partial and total lunar eclipse early Saturday morning. Photographed from the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station at 9,300 feet. Photography by Baron Sekiya | www.Hawaii247.com

lunar eclipse december 10 2011 ethan tweedy

Moon coming back to full brightness, Keck 2 putting out a sodium laser for adaptive optics. Summit of Mauna Kea 12.10.11 at 5:17 AM HST. Image credits: Ethan Tweedie: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ethan-Tweedie-Photography/340905756938

From skywatcher Charles R. Jones II from Phoenix, Arizona took these stunning photos of the total lunar eclipse:

Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10 - Charles Jones

Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10 - Charles Jones

Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10 - Charles Jones

Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10 - Charles Jones

Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10 - Charles Jones

Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10 - Charles Jones

Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10 - Charles Jones

This eerie photo of the eclipse was taken by Devin Kruse, no location given:

Total Eclipse of the Moon

This red moon eclipse shot was taken by Jennie Rayner of Palm Desert, California:

Eclipse Over Palm Trees

Joe Wiggins took this photo of the eclipse from 30 miles west Denver at about 10,000 feet elevation:

Eclipse from Coloradio

In Arizona, Matt Addis took this spectacular photo:

Eclipse over Arizona

If you want the serious astronomy details about this 10 Dec 2011 eclipse, here they are from NASA.

Next time you are out stargazing with the family here are some fun Moon Games to enjoy.

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