Thursday, September 18, 2014




Victoria resident captures photos of lunar eclipse

By Kathleen Duncan
April 15, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 14, 2014 at 11:15 p.m.

The moon appeared red during a  lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning.

Mike Hessong braved the cool morning temperatures Tuesday to take photos of the eclipse from his backyard in Castle Hills in Victoria.

A lunar eclipse is when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra, or shadow. Hessong and other Crossroads residents observed the moon entering the umbra around 12:58 a.m. The middle of the eclipse was at 2:45 a.m., and it was fully eclipsed by 3:25 a.m., according to the U.S. naval website.

Hessong used his Sony A77 camera with a 150-500 millimeter lens to capture his photos.

"When it got dark red, I changed my ISO to 800 and shutter speed to about a half second with a tripod. The first picture that looks more like a gray moon was at ISO 200," he said.

Changing the ISO changes the camera's sensitivity to light to aid a photographer in dark situations.



In one of his photos, he captured a white edge along the moon, which he said is a unique occurrence called Earthshine. Earthshine is when the sun sets on the side of Earth facing the moon, and the sunlight is reflected from Earth visibly on the moon.

The reddish color of the moon is a result of sunlight hitting the atmosphere. The blue light from the sun is mostly dispersed while the red light "passes through Earth's atmosphere without getting absorbed and scattered before the atmosphere bends it back out, projecting indirect, reddish light onto the moon," according to NASA.gov.

How red, orange or gold the moon appears depends on what is in the atmosphere. Dust, water and even temperatures on Earth can affect the color.

Hessong has shot a lot of moon photos, whether it's eclipsed or not. He said he enjoys it, though not all of the moon's phases capture his attention.

"I don't really care to take the full moon pictures; it doesn't have the texture that a half moon does. You can really see the craters and the depth of the mountains when you're on a partial moon," he said.

All of the discussion leading up to Tuesday morning's eclipse inspired him to go out and photograph it as best as he could.

"Because everyone was talking about this moon, I decided to go out and take some photos. I like doing moon photos and sunrises and sunsets. The moon takes a little bit of practice, but I started getting it down pretty regular. This was a really unique shot, so I thought I'd try to capture it," he said.

About 2:36 a.m., Hessong packed up his camera gear and headed inside.

"I could have kept taking photos, but I figured that was enough," he said, laughing. "I had to get up for work in the morning," he added.

For those interested in shooting their own moon photos, Hessong said he believes the tripod is key.

"The main thing is definitely use a tripod when you're shooting anything less than a 60th of a second," he said. "With digital now, it doesn't cost anything, so just go take lots of pictures."

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