Earth's Shadow: Time-Lapse Video of the Total Lunar Eclipse of 12/10/11
I woke up at 4:00 am this morning in order to take some video of the last total lunar eclipse visible from North America till 2014. The eclipse was beautiful. It was amazing to watch the shadow of our planet creep slowly across our nearest neighbor. Once the shadow was blocking out most of the light from the sun, the moon was significantly dimmer and the color had changed to a reddish orange. This color is caused by the same effect that makes our sunrises and sunsets so colorful. The light from the sun is made up of an entire spectrum of frequencies, some of which excite molecules in our eyes that allow us to see color. When the light travels through our atmosphere the blue high energy light is scattered more than the red low energy light.
The video I took documenting the event turned out fairly well. It has not been color-corrected or image-stabilized. I used a tripod, but it was windy. The steady motion of the moon is due to the Earth's speedy rotation. Every 4 or 5 minutes I had to readjust the camera otherwise the moon would be out of frame. I edited this motion out of the video.
At 1:50 in the video, I readjusted the exposure so that the shadowed part of the moon could be seen. At this point, you can also start to see a star that is below the Moon. By watching this star slowly pass the Moon in the video you can see that the Moon is in orbit around the Earth. It takes the Moon about 28 days to go once around the Earth, and as a result the Moon's position is about 40 minutes behind the position it had the previous night. I think it's amazing how you can see this effect in just a few minutes. The entire video was filmed over about 2 hours. It has been sped up so that it only takes about 4 minutes to watch.