I have heard stories, mostly from farmers long ago, about the moon changing color and what it meant. I don’t remember any of the details because I thought they were all out of their minds. Then I heard about a lunar eclipse that was going on and decided to see what all the hubub was about.
Let me take this moment to formally apologize to those old farmers.
What I saw was baffling.
Most of us are familiar with the moon changing color (and size) when it is near the horizon. That is all well and good as it is a fairly well documented, almost day-to-day occurrence. When I looked in the middle of the sky and saw the regular size moon growing darker and redder by the minute I bolted for my camera.
Thankfully my neighbor wasn’t nearly as ignorant as I was. He had a telescope with a camera mount and was snapping away at the moon. We’ve been friends for years so I asked him if I could pop on my Canon 5D and take a stab at it.
You never really think about how fast the moon is moving until you look at it through a telescope. The extremely limited field of view exaggerates the speed at which the rock flies around the earth. I could hardly keep it in focus! Even 15 second exposures were resulting in a unacceptable blurring, so I crossed my fingers, changed some settings, and hit the shutter.
What came out was astounding to me. Just as the lunar eclipse blacked out the top portion of the moon and the red-tinted shadow was overtaking the moon. Fantastic. The whole range is there: from the whitest reflection of our sun to empty lightless black.
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