Hi everyone! Here's a lunar observing report for Aug 28th. Hope you enjoy reading it.
LUNAR OBSERVING REPORT 08.28.07 0430-0600 AM EDT
TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE!!!
PC1 AT 0355, UC1 AT 0452, T AT 0553
Nighthawk II, 8-24 Vixen Zoom, Meade 6.7mm 5K UWA
Oberwerk 8x40 Mariner binoculars
SV66 (Mini Me) with 7-21 Orion Zoom
When I started observing at 4:30 am with the NHII the Moon was totally in the penumbra. Low in the sky, with hazy conditions, it took on just a slight orange color with lots of atmospheric haze around it. Lunar details were muted, but there was still plenty to see.
Libration was good for Mare Orientale. Autumni and Veris were both well placed off of the limb, and many mountain peaks and even a few interior craters could be seen.
Many small craters with their bright halos dotted the landscape around Grimaldi. Grimaldi in fact, looked oddly out of place, a large and irregular dark gray patch amoung bright sprinkles of craters.
The crater Alphonsus is in the center of the Moon, and cannot be discerned, but if you know where to look you can see the three tiny, dark irregular patches, the lunar pyroclastic deposits, that betray its presence. Scanning a little further north, I can spot the Hyginus Rille, a bright white line bent harshly in the middle. Nearby crater Treisnecker was easily seen with its bright rim.
The bright fan-shaped crater rays of Proclus are normally easily seen, but in the penumbra they were quite muted. I could just barely make out a few of the rays as they crossed Mare Crisium.
Gassendi was rather pretty, with bright interior detail visible. I could see a thin arch of lava flow on the interior southern rim. It was tough picking out albedo detail in Mare Humorum, but a large elongated dark lava patch was visible in the southeast corner.
To the north, Atlas and Hercules were prominent. Hercules especially showed nice detail, with a very bright crater rim, a darkened smooth floor to the north, and a very bright spot just south of center. Plato was mostly featurless in the interior, but when I adjusted the zoom eyepiece just right I could barely make out the cone-shaped lava flow spreading out from the center to the rim.
I tried various powers with my Nighthawk, and discovered that 120x with a 4mm BO/TMB Planetary eyepiece was just too much power for the conditions. The Meade 6.7mm 5000 series UWA hit the sweet spot at 72x. With this wide field eyepiece, I could see the entire moon well placed in the field of view, tack sharp from top to bottom. I could easily move my eye around until I spotted something I wanted to study, and then center it into the field of view.
At 5:00 am I had to go inside to start breakfast before going to work. So every now and then I would go out and look at the progression of the umbra across the Moon with my Oberwerk binoculars. With sunrise approaching I could barely make out the shadowed areas as they progressed. After breakfast, I took out my SV66, "Mini Me," and watched the Moon enter totality. A few minutes before totality, I would look up at the moon and with the naked eye I saw what appeared to be an annular ring all the way around the Moon. I did not see that effect through the eyepiece, so maybe that was an illusion? Anyone else see something like this? Totality was at 0553 EDT. I looked up and, as the Moon was low in the sky with daybreak following behind me, it winked out entirely. I would cover up a few local street lights with my hands and I could barely see the Moon, very dark and somber. Unfortunately, I would not be able to see it reappear from totality, time to get ready for work.