Planning for a Lunar Eclipse

I am not night photography’s biggest fan.  Getting up in the middle of the night, out of my warm bed, meh.  However, a lunar eclipse seemed like a good enough excuse to lose some sleep.

October 2014

On October 8, a total lunar eclipse was forecasted to happen on a perfectly clear night in my area.  It turned out that I was going to have to get up at 3am to see it.

                                                Azimuth   Altitude
                                     h  m            o        o
Moonrise               2014 Oct 07  18:32          84.1     ----
Moon enters penumbra   2014 Oct 08  02:14.1       207.2     48.7
Moon enters umbra      2014 Oct 08  03:14.5       226.2     42.4
Moon enters totality   2014 Oct 08  04:24.6       243.6     32.5
Middle of eclipse      2014 Oct 08  04:54.6       249.9     27.7
Moon leaves totality   2014 Oct 08  05:24.5       255.7     22.7
Moon leaves umbra      2014 Oct 08  06:34.7       268.1     10.7
Moon leaves penumbra   2014 Oct 08  07:35.2       278.2      0.7
Moonset                2014 Oct 08  07:41         279.3     ----

Eclipse Data: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/LunarEclipse.php

I was also shown a nifty website that will show you where the moon rises and sets.  I wanted to put the moon to the left of the Tetons, so I figured I would have to go as far north as Cunningham Cabin, as shown here.

I left Victor, ID at about 3:30am.  By then the eclipse had already started.  I stopped at the Wyoming state line to snap a few photos.

I then moved on through Jackson and up to the Cunningham Cabin parking area.  It was from that point where I watched most of the eclipse.

The part I had not anticipated was that the lunar eclipse was ending before it got low enough to snap with the Tetons in view.  By the time it got low enough in the sky, the eclipse was over.

It was going on 7am, and it was time to head to work.  I stopped at Teton Point turnout to see the moonset, and got this picture, almost by accident.

After that, I enjoyed the sunrise while driving to work.  It was a beautiful clear morning.

April 2015

                                                Azimuth   Altitude
                                     h  m            o        o
Moonrise               2015 Apr 03  19:22          95.1     ----
Moon enters penumbra   2015 Apr 04  02:59.6       211.2     36.1
Moon enters umbra      2015 Apr 04  04:15.4       230.2     27.2
Moon enters totality   2015 Apr 04  05:54.1       249.9     11.9
Middle of eclipse      2015 Apr 04  06:00.2       251.0     10.9
Moon leaves totality   2015 Apr 04  06:06.4       252.1      9.8
Moonset                2015 Apr 04  07:07         262.4     ----

Similar to the last eclipse, this was in the middle of the night.  Although the weather was not nearly as cooperative this time.  As the eclipse started, cloud cover came in and choked out the event.

I still stayed in GTNP the whole night in case it cleared up, but it never did.

September 2015

                                                Azimuth   Altitude
                                     h  m            o        o
Moonrise               2015 Sep 27  19:07          88.5     ----
Moon enters totality   2015 Sep 27  20:10.7        99.0     10.5
Middle of eclipse      2015 Sep 27  20:47.1       105.3     16.8
Moon leaves totality   2015 Sep 27  21:23.5       112.0     22.9
Moon leaves umbra      2015 Sep 27  22:27.4       125.4     32.9
Moon leaves penumbra   2015 Sep 27  23:24.0       139.8     40.4
Moonset                2015 Sep 28  07:53         275.0     ----

This time the eclipse happened shortly after moonrise.  So if I’m going to attempt the mountains in the shot, it was going to have to happen from Teton Valley, looking west.  Easier for me, being closer to home.

I went to the turnout just north of Tetonia.  The weather, again, threatened to nix the whole thing.  There was only a few brief moments (and I’m talking seconds) where the moon peaked through.

Eventually though, it rose into clearer skies when in totality.

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