Shaky Eclipse

Tried to get a picture of the lunar eclipse tonight; this is the best I got:

Note to self: The next time I come into pointlessly large sums of money, buy tons of crap for night photography.

Hope you’re actually seeing the eclipse tonight. You know, with your eyes. Because it’s spectacular.

58 Comments on “Shaky Eclipse”

  1. Saving throw vs tech shinny, he rolls a ROCK!!! Saving throw fails.
    Moons not up yet west coast. Plus it’s cloudy. Still hoping for a peek during a break in the clouds.

  2. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Japan!

    I SAWED IT!!!

    The moon’s got a coffee stain!

    Very cool. I forget what the stars are that form the triangle around it but wow! Very awesome!

  3. We just passed total umbra here – Charlottesville, VA 10:45 pm.

    Wow, I’ve seen 4 lunar eclipses, and this was simply the best!

  4. Just saw it…took my five year old out. This time, he understood.

    Last time, he was two. As we walked out towards the place where we could see it, I said “the reason the moon is going away is that a dragon is eating it.” We walk a bit and as we watch, my wife tries to explain about suns, shadows and such. He looks at her seriously and says “no. dragon eat.”.

  5. It’s so clear out here in Wyoming tonight you can see every detail of the moon, all the stars, and the Milky Way. Of course it’s also cold enough to freeze your eyeball to the telescope, but it’s worth it.

  6. Oh wow I saw it, I saw it! (And to think, I would never know there was an eclipse if I had gone to bed and NOT signed on to the Internet to argue with people elsewhere. ;-)

  7. It was completely overcast here, not a bit of sky visible. Otherwise I would have set up the tripod and the telephoto to take some. I’ve seen one before though. Back in 1989 or so a friend and I scheduled a camping trip into the mountains of Oklahoma for a lunar eclipse. We get there, and it’s pouring down rain, so we figure that we were going to miss it. But oh well, there are worse things to do for a couple of days than spend them out in the woods with friends.

    But it was amazing. About 10 minutes before the eclipse was supposed to start the rain stopped, and right as the eclipse started, the clouds parted. It was clear til shortly after the end of the eclipse, at which time the sky closed up and started pouring rain again.

    So I figure I used up 100% of the eclipse good luck for my lifetime on that trip.

  8. Yep, wife’s taking lots of cool pics. Very awesome sight. It was snowing here just a few hours ago, but now it’s totally clear and beautiful.

  9. There are mountains in Oklahoma?

    I don’t ask this to be snarky, incidentally. I’m actually sort of blown away by this news.

  10. Visible in the Seattle area (no clouds?! in February? *boggle*). Actually, visible from my bedroom window, which is good, because between the sinus crap and tahe migraine I’d really rather not be outside.

    Speaking of saving throws, I remembered that my “opera glasses” (mini-field glasses, actually) are in the top drawer of this desk. Monitor brightness is turned waaaaay down, and I can type without seeing the keyboard. The cat is most concerned, though – I’m sitting in the dark, no lights on at all, and I’ve raised the window blind, at night. So she’s scurrying around attacking her toys, meowing at me and trying to get my behavior back to normal. :)

  11. Bloody cool here in NY and the clouds kept threatening to obscure things, but my kids and I got to watch the Moon turn red — and the clouds have mostly cleared, so I’ve been outside watching it.

    Sometimes, in all the SF I read, I forget that the best sensawunda exists right here, right now.

  12. Well, they’re not what anyone with real mountains would call mountains. There are two basic ranges, the Wichitas, and the Ouachitas, which are also in Arkansas.

    Highest peaks are under 3000 feet, but the surrounding area isn’t that far above sea level, so it’s a pretty decent hike if you come in from the base. It’s pretty country. Since I bought a decent camera I need to go back and take some pictures.

  13. Dana King – Laurel MD – Dana King has two Shamus Award nominations, for A Small Sacrifice and The Man in the Window. His Penns River series of police procedurals includes Worst Enemies and Grind Joint, which Woody Haut, writing for the L.A. Review of Books, cited as one of the fifteen best noir reads of 2013. Down and Out Books will release the next book in the Penns River series, Resurrection Mall, in May 2017. A short story, "Green Gables," appeared in the anthology Blood, Guts, and Whiskey, edited by Todd Robinson. Other short fiction has appeared in Spinetingler, New Mystery Reader, A Twist of Noir, Mysterical-E, and Powder Burn Flash. His newest book is A Dangerous Lesson. Dana’s blog, One Bite at a Time, resides at He lives in quiet near seclusion with The Beloved Spouse.
    Dana King

    Perfectly clear, could see it from my front door. Went outside with field glasses, had a neighborhood bonding experience. Should have worn a coat; could turn into a neighborhood pneumonia experience.

  14. The clouds just cleared away here – we stood outside, shivering. Knowing it’s the last one we’re going to get for 3 years or so makes it that much prettier.

  15. Lots of people out at FSU. Good fun listening to people botch the whole Sun-Earth-Moon order. Even more fun listening to a guy explain that a Solar eclipse is when the Sun is between the Earth and the moon. Obviously not an Astronomy major, but at least they were out there watching.

  16. -4 and heavily overcast here in Iowa. I could see a smudge of lighter colored clouds but that was it. *sigh* I guess I’ll be trying again in 2010.

  17. ewillett – I'm the award-winning author of more than fifty books of science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults, both under my own name and as E.C. Blake and Lee Arthur Chane.
    Edward Willett

    Alas, I had no tripod, but still got something (Canon Rebel XTi, 300 mm):

    I would have tried longer but my six-year-old daughter thought that five minutes in the -21 C. night was long enough to look at the moon, no matter how cool it might be seeing the Earth’s shadow swallowing it.

  18. Just got home from a meeting. :( What I saw of it was great. :)

    I was going to try to do this using a simple tripod and a point&shoot, by pointing the center shaft of the tripod at the North Star, and using the pan and elevation of the tripod as RA and Dec of an astro mount.

    Next time, God willing and the creek don’t rise ….

  19. Well what do you know….I actually did notice the moon this evening. I thought to myself, “Hmmm…that looks funny. I wonder if it’s a lunar eclipse?” I then promptly forgot about it.

  20. We saw totality and the end, moonrise here wasn’t until about 5:30 PM, and I had trees and a hill blocking views close to the horizon, so we missed the first part. All in all, quite lovely.

  21. Cold up here in Ontario (-12°C), but I saw the whole beginning and totality. I even got some pictures.

    My lens does well enough on the fully-lit moon. As the moon got darker, my exposures got longer. And longer! So the red moon pics are very blurry due to the durn thing moving across the sky.

    That’s what we get for living on a sphere, I guess.

  22. Saw it. Got accosted by a 5 year old girl from the next building while I was out there. She wanted to take me home with her as her new pet, but her mother objected. ;)

  23. I saw it and it was great- a friend of mine that I work with has a small Meade and i wish I was able to join him to view it, I live 300 kms away from where I work. Oh well. If you’re reading this John, do you have a telescope? I assume you do because of the Rough Guide. If so, what kind?

  24. Aww, man, I was counting on you to top my crummy-but-interesting eclipse shots! I don’t know whether to be pleased or annoyed that your camera is no better at this sort of thing than mine is.

    Incidentally, I mentioned you to someone at Gallifrey One last weekend as an award-winning science fiction writer I, uh…

    “That you’re stalking?” the other fan supplied.

    Umm, no, not exactly.

  25. Alas, was in class when the eclipse went down. discussing – oddly enough – calendars, and especially lunar calendars, in ancient Egyptian, Syria-Canaanite, Israelite, Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Mesopotamian society.

    I thought for sure my professor would let us go outside, but no, he was too busy going off on a tangent.

  26. Saw it here in IL. didn’t stay long outside though it got realllllllllyyyyyyyyy cold.

    and John…. it’s called a TRIPOD for those steady shots. ya’know for that savings time…

  27. My eyes aren’t good enough to cross hemispheres and besides, it was raining in Canberra. Instead of an eclipse, we had snowflakes, which is a very odd thing to see in Australia in summer and just as wonderful as a lunar eclipse. I made my class stop and look in the middle of a detailed explanation of some obscure Ancient Roman foodie thing.

  28. I had a great cloudless view of the eclipse last night. Temperature was a little cool, but I like it like that. I took my wife out to show her, explained the whole penumbral/umbral thing, why the moon was red, etc etc. She said “it looks so 3d!” I laughed, but I understood exactly what she meant… the pattern of shadow across the face highlights the moon’s curvature. It was a good night. In 2010 my daughter should be old enough to enjoy it, and I’ll tell her about the dragon eating the moon.

  29. Gillian, you and your class lead charmed lives. It’s not just odd,
    it’s miraculous. And wonderful. Snowflakes!

    ACT WX allowed as how there was >0 rainfall for the day, but could not confirm precipitate of symmetric frozen variety.

  30. We set up an observatory in my son’s bedroom and watched the whole thing with our binoculars in comfort. My wife didn’t believe me that I could see Saturn’s rings, but my binocs are as good as Gallileo’s telescope, so why not?

    My son asked some good questions about the mechanics of lunar versus solar eclipse and how often the two happen. I also brought up the much more common Earthar eclipse, otherwise known as “night.”

  31. I got to watch about the first half of it, very cool to see. Right about the time they said would be the middle of the eclipse the clouds rolled in (and stayed to drop ice on us this morning). I tried taking pictures of it, too, but they didn’t turn out, so I watched the rest of it through an old rifle scope. It looked like it was really starting to turn some colors right before the clouds rolled in.

  32. The best part was watching with my 11 year old daughter. It was cold in MN (maybe 0) but calm so it was really quite pleasant out. A few very light clouds at times but not bad at all. The biggest problem was the eyepiece fogging up if you put your head too close to it, which I simply had to do a couple times to make the whole thing seem so much closer.

    I really really envy those astronauts who got to stand on the moon.

  33. Scott Marlowe – Rockwall, TX – Scott Marlowe divides his time between writing fiction, mountain biking, and designing software systems for the accounting and medical industries. He currently lives in Texas with his wife and two crazy dogs. You can find more information about Scott at
    Scott Marlowe

    My wife and I sat out back and watched it through the gaps in the clouds. It was quite amazing.

  34. writeemup – Vermont – I love words; reading, writing, and experiencing them with my eyes and ears. This is my bookblog, where I share my adventures with the world.

    Every time I checked my back window (which faces the moon) all I got was cloud cover. At least I get to see others’ pictures!

  35. Oklahoma’s highest peak is just shy of being a mountain is what I was taught. Still makes for some beautiful country though.

  36. It doesn’t take tons of money. The 1st link below has 2 of shots of the lunar eclipse that I shot with my new digital camera detailed in the 2nd link. I’ve gotten shots as good with a inexpensive film camera, 400 ISO film, and a tripod. The key to a non-blurry picture is having a tripod. I’ve got about 60 shots of the eclipse to go through this weekend, and should have some touched up for better detail on Monday.

    And this isn’t really night time photography. The moon is being lit by the sun, so you need to expose the picture based on that.

    Two pictures of the lunar eclipse last night.

    Some pictures of and from my new digital camera.

    And if I may be so bold (and feel free to edit this out) please vote for my picture, in Outdoor Photographys contest, so I can win a Canon 40D.


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