Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blood moon

I can't believe I did this. Surely you've heard about the "blood moon" by now, with all the hype it's had. It was the total eclipse of the moon in the wee hours of the morning yesterday. I didn't intend to take pictures of it. I thought it would've been nice, but I value my sleep. ;) 

My thought process went like this:
  • As I was heading to bed at nearly midnight, I noticed how bright the full moon was.
  • I wondered if I should set my alarm and get up and try to capture the predicted "blood moon" with my camera.
  • I decided not to. I knew how tired I'd be the next day.
  • I wondered if I should get my camera settings ready 'just in case' I happened to wake up at that hour (2:00 a.m.) for some reason.
  • I decided not to. I knew I'd sleep through it.
  • I went to bed, fully expecting to miss the whole thing.
  • I woke up at about 1:30 a.m. Hmm... not nearly as bright outside as it had been earlier. Interesting. Tempting. But too early to get up... I'm going back to sleep.
  • I woke up again at 1:56 a.m. Hmm... it's about the right time. I'm too tired. I do NOT want to get up. I knew if I did I'd lose not only the sleep time of taking pictures, but also considerable time after I went back to bed wide awake.
  • But it's such a rare thing. And would be very cool to see. Oh... so tired.
  • Maybe since oddly I'm awake, I'm supposed to get up and watch it for some reason.
  • Against my body's protest, I got up.
Sooo... I didn't turn on any lights... didn't want to lose my night vision. We have a yard light, so there was still a little light, despite the moon darkening. I dug my camera out of its case and switched to the zoom lens, feeling my way as I did. I went to a south bedroom window from which I could get a good view, and the moon was indeed mostly dark.

I couldn't see the camera buttons, so I was again feeling my way around. At least I could see the settings on the screen, and I experimented a bit. I found what worked best, and I took a bunch of shots. Ideally, I would've been outside using a tripod... BUT it was only 20° (on its way down to a record low in the low teens!), and I was not about to go outside to shoot! I braced myself against the window frame, held my breath, and snapped the best shots I could get. And here they are in the order I took them, not the best shots ever, but the best I could do:

The little dot is a star called "Spica".

I didn't think the moon looked all that red, but when I zoomed out a bit (below), it did appear just a bit redder.

If you noticed the white dot in the upper right corner above... that's Mars, which happens to be unusually bright right now.

Here's the last one. As you can see by "Spica", there was a wee bit of camera shake, but it's still better than I expected to get, considering the darkness.

I gave up at that point. It was changing excruciatingly slowly, and I was satisfied to get the shots I did. It was a very cool experience, and I'm glad I did it, despite the loss of sleep. It took me a while to get back to sleep, but not terribly long. I'd do it all again.


annie dee said...

Pretty funny to "hear" your thought process. Good thing you're not a heavy sleeper. Thanks for sharing the shots. I didn't get up. Wanted to but I succumbed to my pillow.

Grandma G said...

I really have no idea why I woke up. Must've been some "internal setting" I didn't realize I'd turned on! ;)

Jessica Jones said...

Ooooo, those are cool!

Grandma G said...

Thanks, Jess!

Grace said...

Nice pics, your camera and you did a better job than we did with the moom pics---and I even stepped out on the cold cement barefooted to get my shots. Can't remember how seldom this 'blood moon' happens but figured I better see it at least once. Your's are worthy of a frame.

Grandma G said...

Thanks, Grace! So you were up, too, huh? Wow, that cement would've been REALLY cold!!