On Wednesday, Oct. 8th, there will be a unique spectacle in the sky: a lunar eclipse. Let’s take a look at how lunar eclipses occur, why the moon appears to turn red, and the best way to photograph it for ourselves.
The spectacle of a red moon has fascinated people for ages. Several cultures have myths about what a red moon, or “blood moon,” might signify. Many believed that the red moon was caused by some type of animal of demon swallowing it up for a brief period of time. But today we know a lot more about the moon and can explain how and why a lunar eclipse occurs.
In the early morning hours of Wednesday October 8, 2014 a total lunar eclipse will be visible here in the skies over Baton Rouge– weather permitting. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the earth into its shadow, or umbra. This can only occur when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned in a straight line with the earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon.
The reddish color of the moon during the eclipse is caused by the Earth’s atmosphere which filters out the blue colored light. The remaining light is a deep red or orange color. Earth’s atmosphere also bends or refracts some of this light, enhancing the red color.
The eclipse begins at 3:15AM with totality occurring from 5:25AM to 6:24AM.
So, wake up early and enjoy this celestial show. Plan ahead for a great shot of the moon on the horizon near a distant interesting object–with a telephoto lens, the moon will look huge.