The Total Lunar Eclipse of Aug 28, 2007

Our group ended up at two sites to enjoy this eclipse. Karl, Garth and I were at the officially designated site - the Highland Way turnout. Perfect weather - warm shirt sleeve weather even at 4am at 1600 feet elevation. I set up the ST2000XCM on the Megrez refractor and was ready for photography just after total eclipse began. Karl and Garth showed up a few minutes earlier. The rest of the gang was at the previously favored site - C.T. English. I'll post their photos if they send them to me.

I have to say, I was disappointed at the digital photo's as they showed up on the screen. The eclipse was quite colorful, with pale blue near the shadow edge, deep reds near the middle, coppery orange in between, and strong yellow in the southern lunar highlands especially in the second half of totality. In the 10x70 bino's the moon hung in a rich star field of Aquarius with many stars to 9th magnitude visible. The eye has an incredible ability to compress large dynamic range in a single field of view. Yet, I can't help wondering if these eye/brain views of color are over-wrought. I wonder if the "blue" area was really just less reddish than the deeper shadow, and the eye sees it as blue by contrast, much like the full moon looks bigger on the horizon even though its actually smaller compared to when overhead - just because by comparison to the vast empty sky around it. So, in order to make the moon look in the photos like it looked to the eye, it requires elaborate color manipulations - more elaborate than I'm yet skilled at. So take the photos below as works-in-progress.


4:22am as totality ends. DDO single-shot color processed in CCDOPS, Photoshop CS2: 'smart sharpen' and extensive hue, saturation, color balance.

Me and my photo setup. That's the latest moon shot on my laptop, and the real thing above distant Santa Cruz. I had to pump up the levels so the totally eclipsed moon is overexposed.

Karl and Garth settle back and just watch. Garth is apparently agog with the beauty before him.