The Total Lunar Eclipse of 2007 March 3rd
General eclipse impressions
A funny night. Plenty of high thin cirrus to start and end the eclipse but stunningly clear in between during totality. Other comments: through the larger binoculars the strong red colour tended towards green towards the brighter side of the eclipse but I wondered if this was a contrast affect? It was certainly very beautiful.
21:38UT: Grimaldi visible in a very bright umbra. Mare Nectaris half covered. Craters visible without difficulty in the umbra with the 70-mm LIDLscope. With the naked eye the umbra is black due to contrast.
21:45UT: Limb clearly visible in the umbra, but detail near the limb is now difficult to see.
21:52UT: Reddish glow now visible in umbra. Tycho now eclipsed.
21:55UT: Grimaldi now almost invisible. Tycho difficult to see.
22:02UT: Aristarchus is currently about the only feature visible in the umbra, which is pretty dark except at the edge. Sky darkening noticeably.
22:06UT: Reddish tone in umbra now clearly visible to the naked eye.
22:10UT: Umbra now strongly red to naked eye. Eclipse seems very bright.
22:32UT: Moon bright orange. Maria clearly visible in umbra to naked eye.
22:42UT: A lot of detail visible in the umbra. Red colour not so obvious now with the LIDLscope.
22:57UT: Bright yellow ring on northern limb.
23:30UT: Yellow ring rotating around the limb to where 3rd contact will happen.
00:45UT: Red colour STILL visible in umbra.
00:54UT: Now very hazy. Detail still visible in umbra with limb bright. Amazing view through the 60-cm Dobsonian. A lot of detail visible.
01:02UT: Limb now invisible to naked eye.
01:10UT: (With 60-cm) Umbra is so bright that the border of the shadow is almost indistinguishable. Almost no loss of detail in the umbra now. Several craterlets visible in Plato.
Joan Barcelo, Observatori Astronòmic de Corbera:
We agree with your [Danjon] estimate Mark. It was very bright and had an orange-red tone. With just a 1s exposure there was a chromatic festival and our brightest image was of just 4s exposure. I attach an image that I had rejected as just being a pretty picture, but which illustrates how bright it was: 2s exposure with just a sliver of [uneclipsed] Moon. No image treatment, just scaling of size.
A wonderful night. Even though they repeat many times lunar eclipses never cease to be an emotional experience. What was curious, and well reflected in some images, was the approach (and even occultation) of different stars to the Moon.
[We had] 13 Observers with [an] 8" Celestron, 4.5" TAL Newtonian, 4.5" Meade and 3" reflector
Various cameras ranging from mobile phone to digital SLR, [so] there should be some impressive images on show at the next club night. Clear skies until about , I could just about make out the beehive during totality. Phil recorded start and end times of totality, and the general consensus was Danjon L3. Everyone remarked on the range of colours from red through green and blue to the bright limb.
We were all dipping in and out through the evening and followed the whole thing, with interest only seriously waning once the chocolate fountain was switched on [Richard was at a dinner party, but did not let that stop his observing]. I must confess, it was very hard to resist! I had my DSLR on the back of my ETX105 and have posted a few of the better shots in the photo section [of the Bristol A.S. web page] or at least will in the next 1/2 hour or so. I agree with the Danjon ratings already posted although between i.e. at the deepest eclipse phase, I thought that it could possibly have become a bit darker.
One interesting observation was that at all phases of the eclipse the colour appeared more obvious and brighter through 10x50 bins than through the scope. [this last observation was a common theme in many reports and comments. The colour was very strong to the naked eye, but increasingly washed-out with larger apertures.]
Juan Antonio Henríquez Santana:
Montse Campas and son (Ramon Naves Jr.) :
I loved this eclipse. [Unfortunately] the images that we took of totality have come out too dark. It was the first time that we have tried (Ramon Jr. is 10); they were taken with a LIDLscope and a small digital camera, typically for home use, attached with masking tape.