Monroe's Astronomy Pictures / Total Lunar Eclipse


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Lunar Eclipse

This photograph of a total lunar eclipse was taken in 1995 from Battletown, Kentucky. I used my Canon AE-1 Program camera and my Celestron 8" telescope. The colors on the moon are caused by sunlight refracting through the Earth's atmosphere and then hitting the moon. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's shadow. But our atmosphere bends incoming light, so some makes it to the moon. The deeper red/orange areas are closer to the center of the shadow, and the purple and lighter areas are more toward the outer edge. The effect of the atmosphere on the color during a lunar eclipse depends on cloud cover, recent volcanic eruptions and general atmosphereic clarity. Since these effects cannot generally be quantified, the coloration of any given eclipse cannot be accurately predicted. Every one is therefore different.