Observing Log for 2006-09-07
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2006-09-07


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-09-07 15:30 UT
To: 2006-09-07 15:35 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 19.3C ...
Dew Point: 8.3C ...
Humidity: 49% ...
Wind Speed: 4.9mph ...
Wind Dir: North East ...
Pressure: 1022.5hPa ...
Notes:

Quite a breezy and cloudy afternoon but during an extended gap I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2006-09-07 15:30 UT
To: 2006-09-07 15:35 UT

I could see three active areas (actually, I thought it was just two but later checked showed it to be three — two being rather close to each other). Active area 907 had two faint spots and, close by, active area 909 had three faint spots.

The spot in active area 908 (which is the return of active area 904) still looked pretty large, a penumbra was still visible. Also, the umbra appear to have a slight "tail" coming off one side of it.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2006-09-07 18:56 UT
To: 2006-09-07 19:44 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 15.8C ...
Dew Point: 7.8C ...
Humidity: 59% ...
Wind Speed: 3.8mph ...
Wind Dir: North East ...
Pressure: 1025.1hPa ...
Notes:

A nice clear evening so a perfect chance to observe this evening's partial lunar eclipse. Given that the Moon wouldn't be visible from my garden so soon after it had risen I headed out to the east side of the village to get a clear eastern horizon.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

From: 2006-09-07 18:56 UT
To: 2006-09-07 19:44 UT

I got to my observing spot at just before 18:56 UT which meant that I managed to catch a view of the maximum phase. At this point I estimated that the Moon was around 1 above the horizon. The Moon had a nice visible "chunk" missing due to the umbra of the Earth's shadow. The umbra seemed very dark when compared to the rest of the surface of the Moon.

After a short while just viewing the eclipse I used a small digital camera to try and capture some shots. This was never going to work out that well as I hand-holding the camera and it's just a little "snapshot" device. Using full optical and digital zoom I did manage to get one image that more or less gives the impression of what the Moon looked like at the time (I finished taking these around 19:02 UT).

Partial Lunar Eclipse

Around 19:07 UT I used the 10x50 binoculars to have a better look, it was a very impressive view. The umbra still looked very dark when compared to the rest of the Moon and the features within the umbra were difficult, but not impossible, to make out. The rest of the Moon appeared to have a reddish colour although I assumed at the time that this was down to it still being quite low on the horizon.

By 19:22 UT I estimated that the Moon was about 2 above the horizon. In the 10x50 it was obvious that the area covered by the umbra, when compared to the previous view, was smaller.

Around 19:28 UT I finished taking a few more pictures. Again, they didn't turn out very well but one of them gives a reasonable hint of the phase of the eclipse around this time:

Partial Lunar Eclipse

I then had another look with the 10x50s and noticed that the earlier reddish colour had pretty much gone so I think this confirms that it was down to the Moon's distance above the horizon.

By 19:36 UT the eclipse wasn't that obvious to the naked eye any more and it was difficult to see in the 10x50s. If I hadn't known that an eclipse was still happening I probably wouldn't have noticed anything unusual.

At 19:41 UT I couldn't see anything of it with the naked eye any more and, even with the 10x50s, there was just a vague hint of a shadow visible.

At 19:44 UT I couldn't see anything in the 10x50s either so I packed up and headed home.


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Dave Pearson <davep@davep.org>
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