The right way to Watch and {Photograph} the Complete Lunar Eclipse on November 8

Aloha and welcome. You have to be right here as a result of like most individuals, you waited till the final minute to do one thing. Or possibly you’re simply genuinely curious and had no thought there’s a whole lunar eclipse arising. No matter it’s, welcome, and thanks for being right here.

This information goes to be a crash course on planning and viewing/taking pictures the entire lunar eclipse within the early morning hours of November eighth. The moon will begin to enter Earth’s shadow at 3:02 a.m. Japanese Daylight Time (12:02 a.m. PST). Will probably be the final whole lunar eclipse till March 14, 2025. Let’s bounce proper into it!

What’s a “Complete” Lunar Eclipse

First, let’s outline what a lunar eclipse is. When the Earth is positioned between the Solar and the Moon, the “shadow” of the Earth tasks upon the Moon. The outer shadow is called the penumbra and the inside shadow is called the umbra. This alignment can fluctuate ever so barely because the Earth is way bigger than the Moon, so three kinds of lunar eclipses can happen:

  • Penumbral: That is the place the Earth’s penumbra basically “dims” the Moon.
  • Partial: That is the place the umbra begins to really eclipse the Moon.
  • Complete: That is the place the umbra fully engulfs the Moon, inflicting the “Blood Moon” that is the one you need and the one we’re going to get on Nov 7-8. Complete eclipses incorporate the penumbral and partial phases as properly.
A diagram of a lunar eclipse. Original illustration by FSogumo and licensed below CC BY-SA 3.0.

Now that you recognize that, let’s get to the planning.

Eclipse Visibility in Your Area

A complete lunar eclipse composite from the January 2019 Eclipse. It is a “Blood Moon.”

Since you could be studying this in Tokyo or possibly at a bagel store in New Jersey, you will need to understand that the situation of the Moon will probably be totally different relying on the place you’re positioned. The easiest way to determine the place the eclipse will probably be is the helpful dandy nifty map on

Click on on the map and enter your location within the prime proper. Then, click on on the situation you typed during which will convey you to the subsequent display screen under.
Okay nice, if you find yourself on this display screen, you’re doing nice.

Let me clarify what you’re looking at right here. All of the occasions on the left are native to the situation you typed in. Every timestamp represents a part of the eclipse. As mentioned above, there are just a few. On the best, there are some necessary astronomical attributes to concentrate to.

The route would be the location within the sky the Moon will probably be chilling in — the levels characterize north, south, east, and west. In astronomy, this is called the azimuth. When you pull up the compass app in your telephone you may match the diploma markings on time and date to the cardinal level they correspond to. The altitude will probably be how excessive the Moon is above, and in addition under, the horizon.

So in my instance, the Blood Moon will happen at 5:16 native time due 279º west. Because the eclipse continues, the Moon will truly begin setting low on the horizon.


Right here we go: probably the most irritating factor ever on this planet of astronomy. Since this text is being printed so last-minute, you may wager that the climate sources will probably be fairly correct for eclipse day. My suggestions for climate sources are your area’s federally funded entities. For me, that may be the National Weather Service. It nonetheless wouldn’t harm to cross-check your climate with a further supply similar to Astrospheric. Sort in your location and see what you will have.

NWS says it’s clear for me!
Astrospheric is saying clear can also be a superb chance!

Keep watch over the climate and have a backup plan if it adjustments!

If all you wish to do is view the eclipse, you’re all set. This subsequent portion will probably be devoted to these with these shiny digital camera thingies.

Capturing the Complete Lunar Eclipse

Photographers, you want just a few issues you’re almost definitely already acquainted with to make some magic.

  • Your digital camera and no matter lens you will have (it may be vast or it may be telephoto — it simply will depend on what sort of shot you need)
  • A very good sturdy tripod
  • A distant set off or your digital camera’s built-in self-timer perform
  • Non-obligatory: a star tracker

And that’s primarily it, now let’s speak about how one can plan this shot utilizing the instruments mentioned above in addition to an app like Planit Pro or PhotoPills.


After determining the place the eclipse is in your sky, you could wish to take into consideration the way you wish to shoot it earlier than you even drive out to the situation. In my situation, the eclipse is low on the horizon, so my purpose is to pair the Moon juxtaposed with a panorama characteristic. This implies taking pictures a bit of bit wider and attempting to seize a foreground multi functional shot. I can use Planit to determine this out, now watch this drive:

I typed in a location I feel may work for the eclipse which encompasses a foreground component. I scrolled over to the eclipses tab and had Planit give me all the data I have to know for this eclipse.
Then I popped into the VR mode and toyed round with focal lengths. As you may see right here, this shot appears first rate at 50mm, however take into accout the scale of the Moon. It’s not practically as huge as only a single close-up 500mm shot.
This additionally after all works for landscapes too. I don’t actually like buildings anyway. Right here is an instance of a mountain I wish to hike for it, shot at 85mm.

Subsequent onto the complete disc picture. That is the place utilizing a free software like Stellarium is nifty. You’ll be able to punch in your digital camera lens, sensor dimension, and so forth, and know precisely how massive the Moon will seem within the sky, coupled with all the opposite particulars above like altitude and azimuth.

Right here is an instance of my telescope setup with my astrocam in Stellarium. Word all the knowledge on the edges. Good things right here that can assist you plan.

Okay, nice, your shot is deliberate. Now how do you shoot it?


Okay nonetheless gotta go quick so let’s run via a guidelines of shoot this factor.

  1. Place your digital camera in your tripod.
  2. Level your digital camera on the Moon. I feel this one ought to be fairly straightforward to seek out.
  3. Begin with a fairly quick shutter velocity, say 1/250 of a second. Relying on many components, this can be too brilliant or too darkish, however it’s a good place to begin because the Moon strikes in a short time and we wish to freeze the movement.
  4. Begin by adjusting your aperture to its widest.
  5. Compensate with the ISO to attain a median publicity on the histogram.
  6. Shoot and see what you get. The Moon’s edges additionally present some chromatic aberration, so in the event you discover a big quantity then cease all the way down to a narrower aperture. Then, use the ISO to compensate.
  7. Shoot as many pictures as potential. Stacking is good right here for extra element.
  8. Range your shutter velocity sufficient so you may guarantee you will have captured sufficient particulars for post-processing in addition to compensation for below/overexposure.
  9. Panorama photographers could have to additionally shoot a further shot with a lengthy shutter velocity and low ISO to seize element within the foreground which could be masked in put up.

Now let’s do it with a tracker:

It is a extra superior method, so when you have no thought what that is, simply ignore it. Star trackers even have a Lunar mode, relying on the make. You’ll want to use this. Observe the identical steps as above, however this time align your tracker and:

  • You can probably drop your ISO down fairly low.
  • Your shutter speeds could fluctuate between 10 seconds to 1 minute relying in your focal size, and polar alignment accuracy.
  • Due to the tracker benefit, use probably the most splendid aperture to your lens. Many have a candy spot round f/8 or f/11 to attain most sharpness.
  • Shoot as many frames as potential so you may stack.
  • For panorama photographers, flip the tracker off and shoot one other shot to your foreground as will probably be blurry from the tracker publicity.

Holy smokes, is that it? Yeah, that’s it. An important factor right here is to get pleasure from your self. Lunar eclipses are a magical expertise and if you’re struggling together with your digital camera or getting pissed off, put it down. Watch and observe what the universe can do.

P.S. When you loved this text, remember to try my full information to astrophotography.

Concerning the creator: Daniel J. Stein is a passionate nightscape photographer working full-time in New Jersey in his household’s industrial plumbing contracting enterprise. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. You will discover extra of Stein’s work on his website and Instagram. This text was additionally printed here.