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The Almost Super, Blue, Blood Moon

The western United States experienced a total lunar eclipse this morning just before dawn. I set up at 4:30 AM on a vantage point at the northwestern edge of Reno, Nevada with my camera and my telescope. It wasn’t as awe-inspiring as the total solar eclipse in Oregon on 21 August of last year, but it was impressive.

Blood-red Moon

Eclipsed Moon over Reno, Nevada

Unfortunately, Reno has been plagued with near constant high clouds this winter and this morning was more of the same. It allowed a good view of the eclipse of the Moon with the naked eye, but all my telephoto images lacked the clarity that I would have liked.

Coyotes Have the Last Howl

The best moment for me occurred after totality ended. As the Moon came out of Earth’s shadow, multiple packs of coyotes began to howl. It was amazing and a little unnerving. One coyote had to be within 150 meters, just below me. It is obvious that Reno is surrounded by packs of coyotes taking advantage of the food sources in human communities…including cats and dogs. Below is a recording of one of the two howling events.

I have seen several lunar eclipses in my life and it is fascinating to watch the white-washed Moon suddenly change to deep brownish red just before totality. The Moon becomes three dimensional and looks like a ball hanging in the sky.

My God, it's surrounded by stars!

Blocking the Sun’s reflected light allows us to see the stars near the Moon (click on image to see larger version)

During this eclipse, I noticed more stars in my images than in past eclipses. The high clouds hid almost all the stars from the naked eye, but the telephoto lens was able to capture them.

Buh, bye Moon!

A last look at the partially eclipsed, Moon setting behind the hills

Not Quite Super

The media plugged this Moon for this eclipse as the ‘Super’ Moon. They can get away with that, but the Full Moon of 1 January was the 2018 Super Moon. It was closer to Earth when it reach the Full Moon phase at the beginning of the month. This Full Moon was also near apogee when it became a Full Moon, but not as close as the New Year’s Day Moon. It was close, but not quite; however, an “Almost Super Moon” doesn’t have the same zip as Super Blue Blood Moon.

It was entertaining to listen to reporters try and explain the terms when they had no clue what they were talking about. Makes me think that maybe I’m entertaining when people read my articles…but not for the reason I would hope.

If you like the coyotes howl, below is the second event that I recorded a few minutes after the first one. I didn’t have my camera focused on the Moon at first, so I added images over the sound at the beginning, but the end is the real time video of the post-totality Moon with the coyotes singing in the background.