North Texas Daily

Red side of the moon: eclipse over North Texas

Red side of the moon: eclipse over North Texas

Red side of the moon: eclipse over North Texas
October 08
23:59 2014

Photo by:

Byron Thompson – Senior Staff Photographer

Harris Buchanan – Staff Photographer

Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

This compilation of the total lunar eclipse was created from photos taken from 3 to 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 8 by three photographers atop UNT’s Highland Street Parking Garage and the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center.

In the 3 1/2 hour time frame we shot photos of the moon while it traveled at 2,300 mph (1 kilometer) into Earth’s shadow, which was caused by the sun. 

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon completely travels in Earth’s umbral shadow; the shadow is directly behind Earth as opposed to the penumbral shadow, which is a lighter shadow that covers more area than the umbra. 

To avoid creating digital noise in the photographs, the camera’s ISO was set as low as possible but also high enough to keep the shutter speed relatively fast. 

I began shooting at 200 ISO, f-5.6 and 1/80 second, and fluctuated shutter speeds from 1/400 second to 1/6 second as the moon gave off less light while moving farther into Earth’s shadow. 

Once the Earth’s shadow completely enveloped the moon, it began to glow red. Red moons are commonly referred to as “blood moons.” 

The refraction of sunlight by Earth’s atmosphere causes the reddish color.

The short wavelengths of light that pass through the atmosphere are scattered due to dust, small particles and air molecules. This allows the long wavelengths, which the human eye perceives to be red, to reach the moon’s surface.

This eclipse was the second of a lunar tetrad, which is a sequence of four consecutive total lunar eclipses. The first occurred in April and the next two will take place in April and September of next year.

Photos by Edward Balusek, Byron Thompson and Harris Buchanan. Photo compilation by Edward Balusek.

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