Lunar eclipse 27 July 2018

Observing conditions during yesterday’s lunar eclipse were excellent here in Gothenburg. Clear blue skies, still 24 degrees C at midnight this extraordinary hot Swedish summer. I decided to observe the eclipse from a hillside in Slottsskogen, the city’s largest park. And I was not alone. Apparently the heads-up for the eclipse had reached many Swedes, and it turned into a social event with people crowding all the park sites with a good view to the southeast.

My observation site on one a hillside facing east. The moon doesn’t show yet but looms in the haze just above the spire at the center of the image.

The moon rose at 21:40 (CEST). Around ten o’clock people around me started to get anxious and I had to reassure them that they hadn’t missed the event, and that they just needed to be patient. As luck had it ISS happened to pass by, which drew some cheers from the crowd and probably stopped some from turning back home.

And then there it was. Occupied pointing it out to everyone I didn’t check the exact time, but around half eleven a very faint dark moon had appeared a couple of degrees above the southeastern horizon. And it soon got better. At eleven the reddish hue of the blood moon was obvious.

Quick sketch made naked eye at 23:00 CEST. Mars is still just under the horizon. The spire can also be seen in the image above and crowns the tower of  Gothenburg Natural History Museum. Behind it is the tower of the Annedal Church (the clock shows 10 in the sketch, but that is due to sloppy sketching).

I had planned to make some sketches with my 7×45 binos, but it was difficult to focus with people moving about, asking questions, borrowing the binos and so on. Below are some of the resulting, quite rough sketches.

Two sketches of the blood moon made when the moon was about to leave earth’s shadow. While sketching the first one it was still very difficult to distinguish any features on the lunar surface, but 20 minutes later the outline of some of the maria could be discerned. The very bright arc marking the beginning of the end was impossible to capture on paper, and was later added in Gimp. Sketches made with 7×50 binos, handheld.
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As the eclipse ran it’s course, a very bright Mars joined the show. Some light clouds added to the effect. Sketches made with 7×50 binos, handheld.

All in all this was a memorable evening. The weather was perfect, the moon at it best, and on top of that a cheerful crowd, many of them experiencing a lunar eclipse for the first time.

 

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