Almost 50 years ago the famous Apollo 8 mission to the Moon was well underway. It was Christmas Eve 1968 and the spacecraft had just entered lunar orbit that same day. That evening, astronauts Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Said Lovell, “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.” They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis. You can relive that historic moment by clicking the video below. Merry Christmas!
A total lunar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) from the North Texas area early on the morning of Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Here are the eclipse event times (CST) specific to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
4:51 a.m. Penumbral Eclipse begins
5:48 a.m. Partial eclipse begins with Umbra making contact
6:51 a.m. Total eclipse begins
7:20 a.m. Maximal Eclipse for DFW area
7:24 a.m. The Moon sets for DFW area
7:26 a.m. Full Moon occurs for DFW (occurs below horizon for DFW)
7:29 a.m. Maximum Eclipse (occurs below horizon for DFW)
Since this eclipse is occurring while the Moon is in the process of setting here in the DFW area it’s very important to make sure you have an unobstructed view of the western and north-western horizon if viewing from the DFW area. This eclipse occurs very close to the horizon for DFW and in fact maximum eclipse actually occurs below the horizon but the eclipse does enter the total phase prior to the Moon setting. So find some place where you have a good clear view void of trees and buildings of the western horizon in order to observe and enjoy this eclipse event to the fullest.
Since this eclipse is happening close to the horizon this presents a great opportunity to photograph or image the moon with interesting objects in the frame or foreground such as trees, buildings (cityscapes), towers, etc. So if you are looking to image this eclipse some careful planning and choice of location could lend itself to some amazing shots of the fully eclipsed Moon.
Also, since this eclipse is happening in the dead of winter for us be sure to prepare for the cold. Dress warmly and have your hot coffee at the ready. Most of all relax and enjoy as Luna pulls a hat trick and turns a hot-looking blood red in the middle of a frosty winter morning.
What a great adventure to Tennessee and Kentucky to see the Great American Total Solar Eclipse. I viewed the celestial show from Hopkinsville, KY with several coworkers who also made the long drive.
The “solar funnel” (solar projection cone) seen below that I had made a few months back in preparation for this eclipse was a huge hit with eclipse chasers! I received many compliments and plenty of return visitors to check the progress of the partial phase.
You can view the HD video I shot before, during and after totality below. Totality begins at about 10 minutes into the video.
You can find many more of my eclipse pictures as well as pictures of the telescopes and fellow eclipse chasers on my Total Solar Eclipse – 8/21/2017 page that I’ve added to this site. Click the link just above or navigate to Astrophotoghaphy > Eclipses > Total Solar Eclipse – 08/21/2017 on the menu in the upper left on this page.
Get ready sky sleuths for an amazing lunar spectacle! A total lunar eclipse is coming up (weather permitting) after dark on Sunday, September 27th when the moon will turn an awesome reddish-orange as it enters the Earth’s umbra. The eclipse will be visible from most of North and South America.
Total lunar eclipses always happen at full moon. This is when the Moon is opposite in the sky as the Sun or put another way when the Earth is between the Sun and Moon. This situation allows for the Earth’s shadow to consume the Moon, and we see an eclipse.
Early on the morning of Wednesday, October 8, 2014 there will be a total lunar eclipse visible for all of the United States. Totality begins at 5:25 a.m. CDT locally here in the DFW area. The moon will be seen (weather permitting) low in the sky on the western horizon. Seek out a good observing location where you will have an unobstructed view of the horizon. The Moon will be an awesome sight even from the most light polluted cities. Observers on the West Coast are better positioned for this eclipse as the moon will be higher in the sky as totality slowly plays out between 3:25 a.m. and 4:24 a.m. PDT.
This month Mars is at opposition (opposite the sun in the sky as seen from Earth). This means our planet is closer to Mars and thus Mars is brighter (-1.5 mag) in our sky, well placed for telescopic observation and generally a lot more interesting to view. Here are some keys dates. On April 8, 2014 Mars will be at opposition (distance to earth: 0.621 AU, brightness: -1.5 mag, diameter: 15.08″). On April 14, 2014 Mars makes its closest approach to Earth (distance to earth: 0.618 AU, brightness: -1.4 mag, diameter: 15.16″). This will be a great time to get out and observe the red planet through a telescope, it’s polar ice caps and light and dark regions, and also how the planet changes over time. It’s not uncommon for dust storms to occur and totally change how we see the planet.