Bird, wildlife, and landscape photography by Jon Rista
Lunar Eclipse Totality Triad
On September 27th, 2015 we had the fourth of the recent tetrad of lunar eclipses. A tetrad is a somewhat uncommon occurrence with eclipses, where four eclipses occur within the span of two years. They will occur a few times for a few decades, then occur maybe once a decade, then not occur for decades or even a hundred years. All eclipses have oscillations in frequency like that, however the inherent rarity of tetrads makes their oscillations more extreme. The current tetrad cycles started in 2003-2004, and there will be a total of five before they peter out again in 2051.
I am thankful this cycle to have had the chance to image two of the four in high detail, and the third (this sprint) I was also able to observe and get some photos of (although due to it’s nature, the totality phase started as twilight began and ended as the sun rose, so the images are not quite as spectacular). The second eclipse of the four ended up clouded out, however such is the nature of astronomy. 😉
The image here is the “totality triad” as I like to call them, of the September eclipse. This is the three-image sequence of where the moon first fully entered the umbra, the darkest “total shadow” region of the Earths shadow in space, through the moment of absolute totality, to the moment where the moon just exits the umbra. This eclipse was also partially clouded out, so unlike my previous full sequence images from April 2014, I was unable to acquire a full eclipse sequence this time around. Regardless, I still managed to get some images clear and free of clouds, and in some ways the clouds presented some unique opportunities to get very rare images of a cloudy eclipsed moon which I’ll be sharing soon here (so stay tuned for some more dramatic images of the eclipse!)
I believe these may be my most detailed lunar eclipse images to date, and I enjoy the rich color yet soft detail. I hope you enjoy it as well!