Visibly different, part 54

Okay, not all that visibly different, really, but it’s not my fault.

We begin with the full moon at 10:12 PM EDT last night.

full moon before start of penumbral eclipse 03-25-24
“Last night” being a little over five hours ago, but basically, before the start of the penumbral lunar eclipse – use 02:12 UTC 03/25/24 if you like. Yes, there was a lunar eclipse this morning (actually, it’s still going on as I type this,) but only a penumbral one, meaning the moon only passed (is passing) through the diffuse outer shadow and not through the distinct and total inner (umbral) shadow. This eclipse makes sense, in that the total solar eclipse is only half a moon cycle away, as the phases completely reverse into New and the moon traverses to the other side of the Earth, in relation to the sun anyway. You’d almost expect a total lunar eclipse, given how it’s going to near-perfectly align in just two weeks, but tilted orbits and all that jazz. So all we got/get is some cockeyed darkening:

full moon during peak of penumbral lunar eclipse of 03-25-24
This is during the peak of the eclipse, five hours further on (07:18 UTC, or 3:18 AM EDT.) Visibly darker, but not notably – about half a stop, I’d estimate, though at least the deeper shadow at the bottom is easy to discern. And it’s tilted almost 90°, but that’s because it’s five hours later on and I didn’t bother trying to rotate the camera to match (or rotate the image in post-editing.) Technically, it’s still oriented (mostly) the same way, but I was riding the planet along as that tilted. And I say “mostly” because the moon wobbles, suffering from libration (nasty thing, that,) and so it probably wouldn’t be a perfect match even if rotated to match the poles.

Excitement City, I know, but it’s all I’ve been up to recently, at least photographically. Now, preparations for photographs are taking place, as the barn-door tracker mentioned previously is taking shape, and would be much further along if the goddamned parts that I’d ordered has arrived at a reasonable time. Will they get here today? We’ll see, I suppose. This isn’t leaving me a lot of time to experiment and refine the design if there are issues (which I consider at least 30% likely,) but so it goes.

Worse is the possibility of crappy weather during the eclipse, since the northern states aren’t known for having frequent clear skies even in early spring – I’m resigned to the very real possibility of traveling up there and not being able to see a thing. It won’t be a wasted trip, since I’ll be with friends and we’ll find plenty to do, but the preparations that I’m making for this event may all be for naught. Though, whatcha gonna do?

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