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Catch a Total Lunar Eclipse

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Airplane crosses a partially eclipsed moon (

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, October 8th the Moon will be full and eclipsed by the earth. The maximum (midpoint) of the total eclipse occurs at 4:00 AM on the west coast - about 7 AM on the East coast. Here is a list of times for the Eclipse in PDT and EDT. The eclipse will not be visible to those in Europe.

• 1:15 AM PDT / 4:15 AM EDT Penumbral Eclipse Begins

• 2:14 AM PDT / 5:14 AM EDT Partial Eclipse Begins

• 3:25 AM PDT / 6:25 AM EDT Total Eclipse Begins

• 3:54 AM PDT / 6:54 AM EDT Greatest Eclipse

• 4:24 AM PDT / (NOT VISIBLE) 7:24 AM EDT Total Eclipse Ends

• 5:34 AM PDT / (NOT VISIBLE) Partial Eclipse Ends

• 6:33 AM PDT / (NOT VISIBLE) Penumbral Eclipse Ends


Unlike the eclipse in April, 2014, the moon will be nearer to the horizon so it will be possible to get a "lunar alignment" shot - especially for those in the EDT timezones where the fully eclipsed moon will be setting just before sunrise. Those in the Central timezone may be in a better position to capture the fully eclipsed moon near the horizon, however since it is likely still be dark enough to see the eclipsed moon.

Get your largest Telephoto lens and/or Telescope and attempt to capture the moon alone. How large? Anything up to 2000 mm, but preferably larger than 100mm. The good news is that totality lasts quite long - about an hour so you have plenty of time to takes shots while waiting for clouds to drift through or away. You can also try to calculate a shot similar to the one below. For everyone in the US the moon will be descending as it is eclipsed.

Moon over San Jose City Hall Rotunda (

What Settings?

A normal moon exposure to get detail is on the order of f/9, ISO 200, 1/100th of a second, however the ECLIPSED moon will require much higher ISO and a longer exposure which may result in some smearing of lunar details. What settings? f/5.6, ISO 1000, 2 seconds

Creative Ideas To Consider

Using a wider lens, you can attempt to capture the moon as it enters and/or exits totality. Take shots every 2 minutes (or more frequently) and you can then combine them to form a sequence like above.

See the articles ( here ( and here (

Or, you can take our "Catching the Moon (" webinar and calculate the ideal spot to get a lunar alignment shot.

Finally, we do encourage you to read the material here to know what you need to consider to plan a "time sequence" shot.

Here is an illustration to help you plan a shot. Note that the angles shown are approximately correct for almost everyone near San Jose, California.

This illustration depicts the LOWEST position of the moon during totality at about 4:20 AM. Yes, there is trigonometry. But here is the takeaway: from the West Coast it will be very hard to get the moon near anything since it will be about 30 degrees high in the sky (60 moon diameters away from the horizon).

It's the equivalent of standing 72 feet away from a 46 foot tall building. If you can get farther away from a taller building, you can manage to get the moon the same size as a small weather vane.