American in Spain

Total Lunar Eclipse

February 21, 2008
Total Eclipse

Last night there was a total lunar eclipse. There won't be another one for almost 3 years. Plus, it's the first astronomical event since buying my new camera. So I wasn't going to miss it. The only problem was that, in Spain, it occurred at 4:00 AM in the morning. The sky was overcast all day yesterday, so I figured there would be no way for me to see the eclipse, but at about midnight, all the clouds blew away and the heavens became clear. I wasn't very tired, so I decided to stay up until 4:00 AM instead of setting an alarm and going to bed. The things I do for my blog readers.... Moon Glare

Moon glare.


Over exposure.

Wispy Clouds

The last of the clouds pass by.

Moon Ghost

Lunar doppelgí¤nger.

Moon and two stars

Saturn on the left, and Regulus on the right.


More glare and over exposure.

Lunar Eclipse with Ghost

Another doppelgí¤nger.

It was about this time that I figured out that it was the UV filter on my lens that was causing all the hexagonal glare. Once that was removed, all was good.


More than half way now.

Oops, shutter open!

On this shot, I forgot that the shutter was open when I picked up my camera. When I realized the problem, I set it down again.

At 3:36 in the morning, the thought crossed my mind, "I wonder if I could write with the moon?"

Lunar E

My first initial, written with a lunar pen. I can neither confirm nor deny that this is my superhero call symbol.

Lunar Signature

A sloppy signature. The E and R are clearly visible. It was tough because the viewfinder blacks out when the shutter opens, so I had to do it by feel alone.


Approaching totality.

Total Eclipse

A little further!

Total Eclipse

After much experimentation, I found that I got the best results when setting my camera to "Shutter priority" and setting the shutter speed to 1/6 or 1/8 seconds.

Total Eclipse

Total eclipse.

Of course the whole time I was out in the cold taking these shots, I had my DIY Telephoto Lens setup filming the moon whiz across the night sky. And now, for the feature presentation...

Thanks to a service that I will write more about soon, this video is also available on YouTube, Yahoo, Google, Revver, DailyMotion,, Veoh, Crackle and Stupid Videos.