An early-morning eyes-on-the-sky treat: a super blue total lunar eclipse

You’ll have to be up pretty early to catch it, but weather permitting, Osoyoos and area residents can see an astronomical phenomenon tomorrow morning: a Super Blue Total Lunar Eclipse.

Some definition first:

  • A Blue Moon is so named not because it turns blue, but rather because its the second of two full moons in one calendar month. The name appears to go back to 1988 when someone decided to call the event just that and it stuck.
  • A supermoon is a”super-close” full moon. How close is super-close, well, frankly not that much closer at all, although it appears about 14% larger to the naked eye. The technical name for a supermoon, by the way, is perigee syzygy.
  • A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and Moon are aligned in syzygy — there’s that word again — with the Earth in the middle and the Moon in the Earth’s shadow and hidden from the Sun.

What that all means is at about 5:29 a.m. Wednesday, the moon will appear as a full, slightly larger, red-tinted orb in our western sky.

A partial eclipse will actually begin much earlier, around 3:48 a.m., with the total eclipse beginning just over an hour later. The moon will stay in its state of total eclipse until 6:07 a.m.

For those wanting to brave the cold, dark — and possibly the clouds (although the weatherman is predicting just a few of the show spoilers) — the moon will be at about 35 degrees above the western horizon when the eclipse begins and finish around 12.5 degrees just over three hours later.

It will set at 7:36 a.m.

How to photograph the Super Blue Total Lunar Eclipse

  • Find a spot to shoot with minimal light pollution.
  • Use a tripod.
  • If your camera has manual controls, use an ISO setting of 1,600 or lower (800 is best), open the shutter nearly or completely wide (meaning a higher aperture number). Compensate with longer exposure times.
  • Take multiple exposures at timed intervals. You can combine the exposures into a collage at a later time.
  • If you don’t have a good DSLR, consider shooting video of the event.

Advanced Tips

  • Save your shots as RAW files.
  • Make use of an image-editing software to make photos really pop, creating images that provide exceptional detail in the moon with a dark sky as a backdrop.

If you come up with any great shots tomorrow morning, be sure to share them with OsoyoosToday. You can use our Share A Story link or email your photographs to publisher@starnorth.ca. We’ll publish all that we receive.

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