Monday, January 11, 2010

Partial Lunar Eclipse 2010

Lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow. Like anything, Earth has a shadow and anything in the shadow of the earth (Including all of us during the night), does not receive sunlight. When the moon is in shadow, it does not get the sunlight, so part of it disappears. Two weeks ago, the fourteenth of Tevet, was a partial lunar eclipse. In a partial eclipse, Not the entire moon is in the shadow area, so only a small part of it disappears (even in full eclipse, the moon will still be visible due to some refracted light).

The following video is a set of about 90 movies which show how the moon pass through he shade. The eclipse was very small, only 8% of the moon surface were in the shade area, but still it was very enjoyable to observe.

Taking such picture is easy. Simply photograph the moon just like any other night. The full moon is very bright so make sure not to over-expose. Only in the final stages of an eclipse (A full eclipse) the moon will become dim and require longer exposure.
Making the photos into a movie is also easy. Picasa and tons of other software can do it for you. Aligning the photos is a more difficult task which I use hugin for. Hugin is a freeware tool used to create panorama from many photos but can be used for other tasks as well.
The next full eclipse will be at 14 Sivan 5771 (15/6/2011). It is worth to wait for it.