“But if I had to guess, I am going to miss it.”
My conjecture was wrong, partially at least. Though dense overcast clouds prevailed most of the evening, the skies opened up as if on cue, at precisely the requisite times. Whether it was divine intervention or pure random luck, I was thankful to have had the chance to witness yet another Lunar Eclipse! Here is a log of the evening and early mornings’ key events, from my humble vantage on Earth.
May 14th, 2022, 07:38 p.m. local time
This was my first check of the evening sky for gauging my prospects of seeing the Lunar Eclipse. The above view, taken simply with my iPhone, is pointed to the Southeast, the location where the Moon would be in a few hours. This is essentially how the sky looked most of the day, obviously not promising in these minutes before Sunset.
May 14th, 2022, 08:16 p.m. local time
My first sign of hope was after Sunset, when the clouds in the Western sky were brilliantly lit by the disappearing Sun, the first rays of sunlight seen all day. Though the overcast still persisted through the sky, I could finally gleam the breakup of clouds due West. But would the break in the overcast be enough, and arrive in time?
May 14th, 2022, 09:35 p.m. local time
Though I had neither my camera nor telescope ready, I checked the sky again from my driveway. The Moon was visible! And I could see the start of the eclipse. The disappearing disc hung low, below my trees, but there was just enough break in the clouds for the surprisingly bright moonlight to break through, though the clearness did not last long, and then dark overcast reigned again. Clouds were moving fast, from the West-Northwest to East.
May 14th, 2022, 10:15 p.m. local time
Another check outside brought disappointment. While parts of the West and Northwest sky were clear, the Southwest was completely overcast, washed in a void of darkness. This may have been indicative of the stage of the eclipse, a scenario of near-black sky which remained almost until midnight.
It was also around this time that I set up my 127mm Mak-Cass telescope, and brought it into my garage to be ready, just in case.
May 14th, 2022, 11:53 p.m. local time
Shortly before midnight, the miracle happened. The clouds were finally retreating East, leaving clear sky over the Moon and back towards the West. Though patches of clouds would pass over the Moon during the next hour, it was clear that the night was won for sky observation.
The above image was taken with my iPhone, with the telescope mount already attached. The black patch in the top left corner is one of the mount’s feet.
May 14th, 2022, 11:58 p.m. local time
Within minutes, I had my telescope ready in my driveway. Though the day was warm and it is not ideal to have a telescope on warm pavement, it was my best option on short notice. Normally, I would think a bit on best placement of the scope and camera, like in the grass or possibly further beyond at the concrete walkway. But this was not a time to fiddle and ponder; eclipses wait for no one.
You will see a white mark at approximately the 1:30 mark above the Moon’s disc. If you have been following this Lunar Eclipse, you probably know what this is. But in case you have not, it is a double star known as HIP 76033 A. From Stellarium near the time the above Moon photo was taken:
The star pair had appeared from behind the Moon minutes before.
May 15th, 2022, 12:25 a.m. local time
It is now the next day, and the eclipse was ending. I took around 200 images at the telescope. In ways, I find the above image more profound than that of the Moon with its reddish eclipse hue. For this one is not a “natural” Moon crescent, as the dark represents the outline and area of our very planet, projected across the Moon’s surface. One enormous shadow indeed!
May 15th, 2022, 12:31 a.m. local time
Here is the last of the May 2022 Lunar Eclipse images that I post-processed, a few minutes after the one immediately above. If this evening had been a Friday night / Saturday morning instead of now a horribly early Monday morning, I would have pushed myself to stay up another hour to take in the finale. But I was already very tired, and felt I had seen far more far than I had hoped for only hours prior.
What’s next for my night observations? Soon, the planets will arrive back in the night sky, particularly Jupiter and Saturn. Later this year, Mars returns to opposition. And in between there will be constellations and meteors, and more of the Sun and Moon. Maybe even some more attempts to photograph the International Space Station? I don’t know how much or how little I will capture for my blog, but as always, the sky is the limit.
- 127mm Mak-Cass telescope
- 23mm eyepiece
- No eyepiece filter
- iPhone XS
- Smartphone telescope eyepiece adapter
- Nightcap app on iPhone
- Exposures for Moon closeups:
- – 1 sec for reddish hue photo
- – 1/500 for first disc photo
- – 1/1500 for second disc photo
- ISO for Moon closeups:
- – 640 for reddish hue photo
- – 24 for first disc photo
- – 50 for second disc photo
- Focal length: 4mm
- Minor touchups in PaintShop Pro and AfterShot Pro