Apr 15, 2014

Lunar Eclipse 2014

10:59pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 1/1000, f/5.6

11:09pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 1/1600, f/5.6

11:20pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 1/1250, f/5.6

11:30pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 1/500, f/5.6

12:10am April 15, 2014
ISO 400, .8, f/5.6

12:11am April 15, 2014
ISO 400, .4, f/5.6

I first heard about the lunar eclipse about a week ago when I was searching the internet for confirmation that the bright red "star" we were looking at was actually Mars (it was).  At the time, I thought it would be fun to keep the kids up to watch, too.  It would be late- from our perspective the eclipse was due to begin at 11pm and end at 2am, but they're on spring break this week and I thought we could hang out in lawn chairs and on blankets and maybe even make s'mores in the backyard.

Fast forward to yesterday- after spending a total of 8 hours in the car over the weekend and many more than that moving about the bay area together- I decided they needed to go to bed because I needed a break.  Thank goodness I had the foresight not to mention anything about the eclipse or s'mores or anything like that ahead of time in case I changed my mind.  Still, it was kind of a mom fail.  The eclipse was pretty cool and it would have been nice for them to see.  Thankfully there are supposed to be 3 more in the next couple of years, so we should have another chance.

I thought it might be cool to get some pictures, but I didn't think to do any research on the best way to accomplish that before the eclipse actually started.  Just to give you an idea of what I was working with, I have a Canon Rebel EOS T3i with the standard kit lens (18mm-55mm), and a tripod.  We had a great view of the eclipse right from our front doorstep, but there is a massive streetlight out there.  Chris made the brilliant observation that the moon was so bright to start off with, the shutter speed had to be quite fast in order to get the camera to focus.  (I was annoyed I didn't think of that.)  I skimmed a few tutorials online, and then I just played with the camera until I got pictures I liked.

On all the pictures I shared, I included in the caption the time and the settings my camera was set to.  Many of these photos have been cropped in photoshop, but I didn't make any other adjustments.

11:24pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 10, f/3.5

11:25pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 30, f/3.5

11:36pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 5, f/3.5

11:45pm April 14, 2014
ISO 400, 5, f/3.5

12:07am April 15, 2014
ISO 400, 1, f/3.5

12:10am April 15, 2014
ISO 400, .8, f/5.6

12:12am April 15, 2014
ISO 400, 5, f/3.5
At this point my camera was dying, we were exhausted, and according to the internet we'd reached the total eclipse and the shadow would soon begin to retreat, so we called it quits and went to bed.

If you'd like to learn more about what a lunar eclipse is, head over to Science Friday to listen to Ira, Bill Nye (the science guy!) and Andrew Fraknoi explain it.

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