Monday, December 20, 2010

Phases of the December 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse

It's coming in only 2.5 hours! I finally arrived in Tucson, Arizona roughly 46 hours after I got on the road yesterday (I spent most of the first 16 hours crawling in 4WD on snowy Sierra Nevada roads to get my kids home, then all the way down to Bishop before the snow and chain controls ended).

Looks like it'll be partly cloudy here with thin, hazy clouds, but compared to California it'll be nice to be able to shoot at all.

A few quick notes on timing, lenses (field of view required to get a timelapse), and so on:


Dec 20/21...................Time...........Moon.........Moon
Eclipse Phase.................PST.........Azimuth.....Altitude
Partial Eclipse Begins:....10:33pm...SE....122.5........70.2
Total Eclipse Begins:......11:41pm.........174.3........77.9
Greatest Eclipse:..........12:16am.........209.4........76.4
Total Eclipse Ends:........12:53am...SW....233.7........71.4
Partial Eclipse Ends:.......2:01am....W....255.7........59.1
Penumbral Eclipse Ends:.....5:04am.........282.5........23.3

Best Sunrise Light Starts...6:28am.........292.8........7.6
Sunrise.....................6:58am.........296.7........2.4
Moonset.....................7:13am...NW....298.8........0


Notes:

Partial Eclipse, Field of View:.10:30-2am..133.2.......20 degrees
Use 16mm lens to follow, +8, -12 degree shallow arc moon path.

Total Eclipse Field of View:.11:41-12:53am..59.4.......-6.5
Use at least 20mm lens to follow flat-ish downward arc to moon's path.

Moonset in best pre-sunrise light:........6:28 - 6:58am........3.9........-5.2 200mm, downward diagonal
Sunrise to moonset (daylight):........6:58 - 7:13am........1.9........-2.4 600mm, small downward diagonal

The cameras I'll be shooting with simultaneously:

Canon 5D mark II:
24mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 - Night landscapes with full moon in penumbral dim state
21mm (16-35 lens) - Entire total eclipse (sequence for still shots, timelapse video or phase composite photo)

70-200mm - Moonset in best pre-sunrise light
70-200mm - Sunrise to moonset, "golden hour" daylight

Canon 40D:
70-200mm + 2X - Telephoto shots of moon in various eclipse phases
16mm = 105 deg. - Entire visible eclipse (sequence for still shots, timelapse video or phase composite photo)

The lens equivalents noted are the minimum needed, and since I'll want to have the option to crop to a 16:9 HD video aspect ratio for a timelapse video, I'll actually shoot the wide shots wider to allow for a generous margin of error.