Time lapsed: the Moon plunges into shadow

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
July 14 2011 12:46 PM

Time lapsed: the Moon plunges into shadow

I've seen a lot of lunar eclipses, and they are usually really lovely (as the pictures I've been posting attest to), but they're very slow, lasting for hours. It's fun to look for a minute, go do something else for a few, then look again and see how the lighting on the Moon has changed. You don't really get a sense of motion, just change over time.

But what if you could smoothly speed it up? What would it look like then?

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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Magic.

This time lapse video was taken by Jean-Luc Dauvergne in Tajikstan (as an aside, the capitol city of Dushanbe is my hometown Boulder's sister city). It spans 5 hours, and you can see just how the very bright full Moon plunges into darkness as it enters the shadow of the Earth.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, the Moon was near the galactic center in the sky, so you can see the Milky Way hanging dramatically next to the red Moon, festooned with various star-forming gas clouds as indicated in the video.

This is a stunning view of the eclipse like I've never seen before. The reflection on the lake is simply wonderful as well. As more people are taking advantage of digital photography with pan-and-scan camera mounts, I expect we'll be seeing more clever sequences like this.

Tip o' the lens cap to APOD and Thomas Buckfelder.



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