Total Lunar Eclipse, January 2019

On the night of January 20th a total lunar eclipse occurred that was visible across all of North America. It had been a long time since I’d tried to photograph a lunar eclipse and the first time with my new astrophotography kit and I was hoping the weather would cooperate.

The forecast predicted clearing in the late afternoon but it would be quite cold and windy with gusts predicted up to 50mph. I could cope with the cold since I’d only need to be outside for a short time to set up the equipment but the wind gave cause for concern. It’s hard to get good astrophotos in the wind and such strong wind gusts were cause for concern over the safety of the equipment.

Fortunately, by late afternoon, the winds had died down some and the clouds did clear out. I hoped the house would provide enough shelter to mitigate the worst of the wind. So, I decided to chance it and set up the mount and telescope.

Of course, within half an hour the clouds rolled back in. However, and to my relief, they rolled out by show time.

I didn’t actually get to start photographing until about half way through the partial phase. Thankfully, the skies and wind and equipment all cooperated and I was able to get some decent images over the remainder of the eclipse. The only downside was that the telescope focal length was a bit small for lunar photography. The moon only occupied a small portion of the frame and required a large crop. A larger refractor would have been a better choice. I almost opted for my C8 with a focal reducer which would work well for the moon but the wind gave me concern for a telescope with a larger cross section. I opted to play it safe with the smaller setup.

Overall I was quite happy with the results I got! I’ll be looking forward to the next eclipse!

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