Archive for category Astrophotography
Got the opportunity to witness the total lunar eclipse on the night of May 15th, 2022 from Montauk, New York. It had been rather foggy the preceding three days, and with no change in weather pattern forecasted, I thought my chances of seeing it were extremely low. I was thrilled when a brief period of thinning fog allowed for a beautiful lunar spectacle. I had positioned myself at the Montauk Lighthouse on the very eastern end of Long Island, New York. Alone with the lighthouse, the scene that unfolded was truly surreal as the light from the rotating beacon tried to penetrate the opaque fog created rotating beams of light. The moon periodically revealed its moody glow adding to the “mistical” scene accompanied by a symphony of waves crashing on the nearby rocks. My only companions were unknown critters that occasionally dashed across the grass field surrounding the lighthouse. It was something I will never forget.
Below are some selected images and video from this amazing night.
Back in Rapid City, South Dakota, my low-light surveillance cameras captured the lunar eclipse as the skies were clear. Below is a timelapse showing the eclipse’s moonlight transition which started shortly after moonrise.
In the early morning hours of November 19th, 2021, the fully illuminated moon passed through the Earth’s shadow. The moon did not pass entirely into the shadow reaching 97% percent coverage at max eclipse. Hence, this was a partial lunar eclipse. The fact that the moon was near apogee, the farthest distance from Earth in its elliptical orbit, meant that the moon was at its smallest as viewed from Earth. This also meant that the time it took to traverse the shadow was maximized.
At moonrise, high clouds blocked the moon, and it appeared the after midnight eclipse could be obscured. However, clouds cleared for the most part during the 12:19 – 03:47 am eclipse timeframe. I used a Paramount MYT telescope mount with a Nikon Z6 camera and Sigma 600mm lens to record the event. I also used a 1.4x teleconverter so the focal length was 840mm. I chose to only record UHD video and occasionally ventured outside in the subfreezing air to look at the spectacle with my own eyes. It was an amazing sight with Orion not far away.
Below is a timelapse video from the video recording. I also made a timelapse of my four low-light surveillance cameras to show how the light dimmed during the eclipse. The third video is the complete real-time recording which I have placed in my “Simply Being There” playlist. If you want to just watch the event as it took place, you can sit back an do so.
I am grateful that the clouds cleared out, and that I was able to see this wonderful wonderful event. Enjoy
Earlier this year, I joined the Global Meteor Network (GMN) in making scientific meteor observations using low light camera systems. I purchased two GMN camera systems and now manage these cameras which are located in Rapid City and Chamberlain, South Dakota. The cameras have overlapping fields of view which allows for orbit calculations for simultaneous captures of the same meteor. A dedicated website provides the latest overnight observations from all the cameras located around the world.
Last week, the Perseid meteor shower peaked, and South Dakota experienced clear skies for most of the nights in which Perseid meteor activity was clear visible. Based on radar and camera observations, there was an unexpected outburst from the Perseids between 0700-0900 UTC on August 14th. This was after the traditionally observed peak. Skies were clear in western South Dakota and the GMN cameras, along with my low light surveillance cameras at my observatory in Rapid City recorded this outburst.
I have posted highlights from the outburst on YouTube as well as the timelapse recordings from the GMN cameras.