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.
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.


L13: Gassendi & Mare Humorum

A rather quick sketch of Mare Humorum and a number of prominent craters, including Mersenius and Gassendi. The seeing for once was perfect, but after having finished several other sketches the same evening my endurance failed me.

Sketch made on 4 October 2014 using a SkyWatcher 10″ and a TeleVue Nagler zoom 3-6 mm.

Below is an earlier sketch focusing on the Gassendi crater. This was my first try at a close up sketch of one of the larger craters. At the time seeing was perfect, but light clouds kept interfering.

Sketch made on 10 February 2014 using a SkyWatcher 10″ and Baader Genuine Orthos 5 & 9 mm. North towards the bottom.

L20: Posidonius

This very impressive crater on the north-eastern shores of Mare Serenitatis was captured on a night of average seeing. Still quite a lot of detail was visible. Part of a secondary inner ring could be traced on the east and west side, and the small crater (Posidonius A) near the center was very prominent. The rilles crisscrossing the crater floor couldn’t be resolved.

Sketch made on 25 January 2015 (d5) using a SkyWatcher 10″ and a TeleVue zoom 3-6 mm.

L1: The Moon

So far my only try at the moon as such. This sketch was made during my first year as an amateur, and I remember capitulating to the overwhelming wealth of features to draw.

Sketch made 4 July 2009 using a SkyWatcher 10″ and a Baader Hyperion 24 mm eyepiece. North is down.

L11: Aristarchos, L17: Schröter’s Valley & L22: Aristarchos Plateau

This is one of my favorite regions on the moon, and it is also where I started out doing moon observations. I have done several sketches of the region, but so far no detailed studies of Aristarchos. The former is rich in detail and very bright, especially compared to neighboring Herodotos. Schröter’s Valley is a sinuous rille, that is believed to have been one of the major lava sources of Oceanus Procellarum. To the right is the moon’s thinnest mountain chain, Montes Agricola.

Sketch made on 13 March 2014 with a SkyWatcher 10″ and a TeleVue Nagler zoom 3-6 mm (mostly at the 6 mm setting).

L5: Copernicus

Arguably the most impressive craters on the near side of the moon. The level of detail is very difficult to capture for a lunar newbie like myself. This is my first try, and I will for sure give it another go further down the road.

Sketch made on 6 July 2015 using a SkyWatcher 10″ and a TeleVue Nagler zoom 3-6 mm.

L93: Dionysius dark rays

Dionysius was formed at the border between the darker mare and the brighter basin ejecta. The jumble of bright and dark rays seen around the crater was created at the impact, and is a mix of the different materials. At the eyepiece the rays were quite obvious, but difficult to capture in the sketch. To the east (left) a beautiful pair of low rim craters, Sabine and Ritter.

Sketch made on 26 April 2015 using a SkyWatcher 10″ and a TeleVue zoom 3-6 (mostly at 6 mm).