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Eclipsed Moon and Alnath (Beta Tauri)

Alnath (β Tau) and the eclipsed Moon -1 sec exposure

JISHOU, HUNAN — I caught the total lunar eclipse about halfway through totality. I didn’t do all the good stuff, like wait for the equipment to cool to ambient temperature (0°C here), because I almost forgot to go out. So, out of 25 shots I got three halfway decent ones. The focus seems to be a bit off, I fear.

The three images here are of the Moon toward the end of totality. You can just barely see it brighten on the lower right edge as it leaves the Earth’s shadow. The star to the left is Alnath (β Tauri), the second brightest star in Taurus. Alnath is a bluish-white B-class star, about 700 times brighter than the Sun, 4.5 times heavier and 5 times bigger. It’s 131 light-years away.

I used a tripod-mounted Nikon D60 with a 70-300 Tamron zoom lens at 70 mm, f5.6, ASA 200. The three exposures are 1.0 sec (above), 1.6 sec and 2.5 sec (below).

Alnath and Eclipsed Moon - 1.6 sec exposure

Alnath (β Tau) and eclipsed Moon - 1.6 sec exposure

Alnath and eclipsed Moon - 2.6 sec exposure

Alnath (β Tau) and eclipsed Moon - 2.6 sec exposure

Totality ended around 11:00 pm here.