Observing the lunar eclipse

By p6; Published 24 Apr 2007

7 BAS Members - I, Hemant, Akarsh, Shashank, Dr Jagannath, Utkarsh and Abhiram observed the eclipse from Hemant's terrace in the Krishnanagar apartments, Annasandrapalya, Bangalore.

Our equipment included Shashank's 8" f/6 Telescope with his camera at prime focus, Hemant's 12" f/4.5 Dob and a 4" f/4 on a manual-tracking equatorial. We gathered at the venue around 2AM while the penumbral eclipse had already started. Although on first looks, there was no indication of the penumbra at all, as the eclipse progressed towards the umbral phase.. the distinct yellow tinge in the moon was becoming more and more aparrent. By 3:01AM, the umbra had begin to visibly obscure the moon.

The eclipse progressed quickly as the umbra protruded further into the moon's limb. Each stage was being imaged at the 8" f/6 while at the 12", it was either an afocal video or a visual peek. By 4AM, more than three fourths of the moon had been obscured by the umbra and the redness in the obscured part was becoming aparrent. We also noted that the region of the obscured part seemed smaller in periphery than the still lit-up crescent part.

At 4:15AM we saw the moon going into maximum obscurity. However, the northern rim of the moon seemed to be still lit up and disappearing very slowly. The stage was extremely beautiful and we rightfully clicked away quite a few frames at this juncture. However, even about 15 minutes past that, the lit-up rim persisted and we were hoping to see it get darker by 4:51AM the stipulated time for mid-totality. Unfortunately, the clouds crept in at this time and we were henceforth unable to make out any subtle difference that had occured in these few minutes at all. Going by the available data, we can designate this eclipse as an L=3 on the Danjon scale of eclipse brightness.

The weather took a turn for the worse after this and the western sky became completely clouded. We promptly hauled our equipment downstairs to retire for the night. Photographs of the eclipses numbered aplenty... using anything from Camcorders, Mobile phones and SLRs. They'll all be expected shortly. Please do check out the gallery when it does get updated. The eclipse has been followed by numerous amateur astronomy enthusiasts in Bangalore and it made our times worth for sure. We'll look forward to having a similar following for the partial solar eclipse we have on 19th of this month.