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Totally in the penumbra

The Total Penumbral Eclipse on 14./15. March 2006 in Dreieich Götzenhain

Experience Report

After a sunny day light cirrus clouds came up from southeast, that however, differently than the weather forecast in the radio let assume, so far dissolved in time before the penumbral lunar eclipse, that an unimpaired observation of the total penumbral eclipse of the moon at the night of 14. to 15. March 2006 in Dreieich was possible.

I thought of the total lunar eclipse on 09. January 2001 in Cologne, when the cirrus clouds became so thick, that to the totally eclipsed moon only a strongly clouded view was possible.

But this time it came differently and from the observation place in the north of Dreieich-Götzenhain very good observation conditions prevailed. For the first time I used a digital camera (Jenoptik) for eclipse photography, photographed directly through the 30mm eyepiece of the Skywatcher Refractor (D=70mm, f=700mm), however the shading at the eyepiece was quite considerable, so that by this method it is guaranteed to show exactly the lighting process of the moon. A spontaneous check showed however, that by this way nevertheless barely useful and mainly fast results can be obtained.

After 22 o'clock CET I went on the roof terrace still under construction, in order to use it for the first time for astronomical purposes. The astronomical inauguration succeeded:

The after the journey to the annular solar eclipse in Spain not emptied telescope luggage now was unpacked and the observation began. Were first signs of the penumbra already recognizable against 23 o'clock? It seemed as if the moon at its southeast edge looked nevertheless somewhat differently than otherwise, or was it still deception?

Penumbral Eclipse

Telescopes in the penumbra moonlight

The roof terrace still under construction serves for the first time for astronomical purposes: The penumbrally eclipsed moon shines above the telescopes in Dreieich-Götzenhain.

Around 23:30 it was clear, the light weakening is recognizable with the naked eye, clearly visible in the telescope and binoculars.

0:00 o'clock - midnight: It is completely clear that the moon now no longer fully shines.

In the southeast a light could be recognized, which beams calmly and is immovable. So bright and yet no star? I look at it more precisely, it it none of the numerous airplanes approaching the airport Frankfurt from this direction at northern and eastern winds, it is Jupiter in the constellation Libra, which stands between the light cirrus veils.

Around the maximum of the eclipse at 0:37 clearly a part of the moon in its southwest corner is missing. One could consider it also as the umbra, but according to the eclipse prediction still a small distance between lunar limb and umbra remains. It is a matt shading in moon areas outside of maria, approx. 10-20 minutes before and after the maximum. The moon looks within the are of the shading unusually evenly.

Penumbral Eclipse

0:37 CET - Total penumbral eclipse

Taken in Dreieich-Götzenhain with a Canon EOS500N and 2x tele converter behind a Revue refractor (D=60mm, f=910mm) on Fuji200 negative film.

Penumbral Eclipse

Total penumbral eclipse

The moon is completely in the penumbra of the Earth. Taken in Dreieich Götzenhain with a JenoptikJD5.0z3 digital camera, through 30mm eyepiece at a 70/700 Skywatcher refractor.

Some airplanes take off from northeast passing to the right and to the left of the moon, but none crosses it. Around 2:00 a shading is recognizable, around 2:10 it is hardly still perceptible, again in the range of a deception. Now it is full moon again.

I place my equipment into the still incomplete attic and pack it again on the next morning in the brightness.

Stephan Heinsius, on 15.03.2006.

Last update of this page: 05. June 2006.

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