Astronomy Cafe – Sep 26, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

  • Sky Brightness Survey – David Lee
    • Most data sheets have been received from the volunteers
    • Readings taken in the region last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
    • Marjie & Susan – a great experience
    • Possibly another round of data collection will be needed next month to catch missing readings
    • Lauri & Brenda – very interesting to measure the areas, app delivered higher (better) readings than the SQM, Island View Beach is very dark but some urban glow
    • John McDonald – different smart phones would probably deliver different readings from the app due to different camera configurations
    • Dave Payne – Possibly calibrate the app to the SQMs
    • Les Welch – the nature of the lighting determines the light pollution level
    • Bill Weir – SQM at Mt. Kobau was 21.8, yet it was very poor seeing due to smoke and other sky obscuration
  • Astrophotos – Brock Johnson
  • Visual Observing – Bill Weir
    • Jupiter & Saturn – great detail visible last night just before midnight
  • Astrophotography SIG – Dave Payne
    • Meeting this Wednesday
    • SIG members will be showing their work regularly at Astronomy Cafe
  • Samantha Jewett, Education and Outreach Coordinator, RASC National
    • Planning stage for 2022-23 in-reach and outreach
    • In-reach
      • Visits to Centres by Samantha and Phil
      • Attend major star parties
      • Robotic Telescope Project
        • 2022 data release on Oct 1st
        • New projects and volunteers
        • Citizen science research group
    • Outreach
      • Tour the Night Sky – Zoom nights for members
      • NOVA – material to centres by end of October – David Lee & Lauri Roche are already hosts
      • High school groups
        • robotic telescope operating and data available
        • astrophotography as well as data acquisition
      • Insider’s Guide to the Galaxy hosted by Chris Vaughan
        • Zoom & Youtube
      • Creating Resources 
        • Beginners
        • Short-form on social media
        • Families & under 12 activities
        • Shared with centres
      • Public Events
        • Solar sidewalk outside National office
        • Trade shows
        • Star parties
        • Solar Eclipses in 2023 and 2024
          • Eclipse glasses
          • Education materials for centres
      • Education & Public Outreach
      • World Asterisms Project by Charles Ennis
      • Astronomy software training by Blake Nancarrow
      • GA 2023 
        • Early May online
        • Separate from the AGM
    • 2023 RASC Calendars available for order on Oct 1st – contact Lauri
    • Send local event information to national to publicize
    • Observers Handbook
      • Coming directly from publisher this year
      • Members should review your address – go to rasc.ca and click on “Log in”
  • Young astronomers – Lauri Roche
    • School Astronomy Clubs  at Oak Bay (forming), Mt. Doug (forming), Vic High (in place
  • NASA’s DART small spacecraft crashed into small asteroid Dimorphos today – Bill Weir
  • Fall Fairfield Fair – Reg Dunkley
    • 400 people came by our table
    • Observing the Sun through the Solar scope was popular
    • Thanks to the volunteers
  • Donating telescopes – Bill Weir & Samantha Jewett
    • Pearson College is receiving a vintage Questar telescope donation from an estate
    • Telescopes can also be donated to National’s Dorner Telescope Museum
  • Nanaimo’s Day of Reconciliation – Janeane
    • Nanaimo Astronomy will be there this Friday

Astronomy Cafe – Sep 19, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Concert Sep 25 at Farquar UVic – Jim Hesser
    • Aurora Triptych is a multimedia blend of music, photography, and visual storytelling that follows the Northern Lights on a far-ranging journey from the Sun to Earth’s upper atmosphere.”
    • Tania Miller: Science & Symphony
    • September 25 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
  • Sky Brightness Survey – David Lee (email)
    • Interested in QGIS mapping data work – Les Welch & Jim Cliffe
    • Guidance from our meteorologist Reg Dunkley as to what day(s) are best to take readings, since it’s important that good, clear weather conditions are present
    • SQM (original, widefield), SQM-L (current, narrow FOV) – Unihedron meters
    • Find areas that we should concentrate on due to impending development or other sky quality issues
    • Duel readings with app and Unihedron meter
    • Ideal dates for taking SQM readings: Sep 23-27 & Oct 23-27 
    • Methodology
      • Record 4 raw readings, pointing in each of 4 quadrants above your head, pointing straight up
      • Throw away the first reading at each site (so take a total of 5 readings)
      • Readings – fill in form
        • SQM
        • Temperature 
        • Location – ID #, Latitude, Longitude
        • Verbose location – “corner of Wallace Drive and West Saanich Road”
        • Date and Time
        • Weather conditions and comments
      • Readings can be done using electronic or audio means, but must be in final readable form before sending to David on the forms provided
      • Sky Brightness Survey Data Entry Chart – MS Word & PDF
      • Sky Brightness Survey Data Fields – definitions
      • Taking readings at new locations is fine, but make it clear it’s new
  • Astronomy Cafe on Monday September 26th
    • Samatha Jewett will be speaking to us about RASC National
    • Possibly lunch or dinner with Samantha before the meeting –  contact Lauri Roche (email)
    • Jim Cliffe will be the Astro Cafe host
  • Chris Gainor
    • ISS Pass at 8:52PM this evening 
    • Skynews is going to be late due to paper supply issues

Astronomy Cafe – Sep 12, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Public Outreach at the Centre of the Universe (CU) – Lauri Roche
    • Saturday Star Parties
      • Thanks to all the RASC Victoria Centre members who volunteer
      • Tickets “sell out” quickly
      • Last event on Sep 24th
    • Cruise Tours this summer – successful and a source of income for FDAO
    • CU open during the day until the end of September
  • Saanich Fair – Lauri Roche
    • 2 nice days – solar viewing
    • 3rd day had some drizzle
    • Lots of interaction with the public about astronomy
    • 1,000 entries for the telescope prize – Melissa Long was the winner, and is thrilled with her new scope
  • Island Star Party – Dave Payne
    • Successful star party – 30 people on Friday, 45-50 people on Saturday
    • Speakers were fantastic
    • Quite a few campers
    • Some members of the public stopped by despite lack of advertising and promotion
    • Revenue exceeded expenses
    • Cowichan Valley Starfinders no longer have the volunteer numbers to sustain the event going forward
    • Cowichan Valley Regional District – arrangements for overnight camping appear to be
    • Discuss next steps with Victoria Centre Council 
    • August 16, 2023 is New Moon weekend for the event next year
  • Astronomy at Victoria High School – Clayton Uyeda
    • New astronomical observing deck being built as part of Victoria High School’s seismic upgrade
    • Astronomy 11 is now a course at Vic High
  • Tour of our new Zoom equipment for Astro Cafe – Chris Purse
    • New computer, microphone, webcam
    • 2 monitors
    • Sound is the biggest issue, and the new microphone seems to be excellent
    • Webcam has good coverage of the room’s occupants
    • New WIndows personal computer system is easy to setup, and is on rollers
  • Getting Started in Astronomy SIG – David Lee
    • Group met in person at Cattle Point a few times over the summer
    • Minima of Algol observed
  • Sky Brightness Survey – David Lee
    • Reviewed our mapping in 2010 (see maps at the bottom of our Night Lighting page)
    • Will repeat the survey this September and October
    • David to distribute SQMs to volunteers who don’t own one at the next Astro Cafe
    • Need more volunteers, so contact David very soon
  • RASC Board – Malhar Kendurkar
    • Malhar is imaging with the Plaskett Telescope
    • Virtual meeting of the RASC Board on Sep 14th
    • In-person meeting of the RASC Board will happen in October
      • The Robotic Telescope should be better used
  • VIctoria Centre Council meeting tomorrow – Dave Payne (VP)
  • Green Laser course offered by RASC – Lauri Roche

Saanich Fair 2022 Report

Posted by as Special Events

Welcome to Fall. I always think that as soon as the Saanich Fair is over that it really is the start on a new season.

Solar Scopes

First of all, I need to thank a LOT of people for all their help this past weekend. It takes time and people power to organize, prepare, load, unload, set up, put out telescopes, chat to hundreds of smiling people, answer questions, give away a telescope and then take down, load and unload all over again. But we did it.

A huge thank you to our load-up and set-up crew who helped on Friday afternoon: Dave E (who also donated our telescope) and Sam F who helps on Fridays and Saturday nights up at the CU for the Friends of the DAO.

On Saturday Ken M came early along with Alex Schmid to help set things up on the tables and put out the telescopes. Dave Robinson, Michael W, Lisa M, Cameron B, Deb Crawford from the RASC and Amy and Alyssa, Rachel and Ryan, Sam F, and Evan W from the FDAO were the busy volunteers that day. It was very warm and there were thousands of people at the fair. Terrific sunspots and a beautiful prominence on Ken’s H-Alpha telescope.

RASC Victoria booth

On Sunday the drizzle started early but it never really rained. We did have some drips in the tent that needed mending and we huddled under the tent and tarps trying to keep things from getting too damp. Alex, Ken M, David Lee, Marjie Welchframe, Jill Sinkwitch, Brock J, and Gae V “personned” the RASC tent and Evan (bicycling in all the way from Oak Bay in the rain!), Ben Dorman, and Zaina S kept the group happy for the FDAO. At 3:45, fifteen minutes before we cleaned up the sun came out. ☀️

And on Monday we did it all over again. The day was beautiful, not quite as hot, but manageable. Ken was back with his H-Alpha and Alex was there for the third day in a row. 👏👏 Joining them were Chris Gainor, Dorothy P, Maryl M, John P, and Brian B, with Ben Dorman, Caitlyn, Mark L, and Patricia G-S for the FDAO.

We had a draw for a great little telescope on Monday. It was won by a woman in Colwood named Melissa L and she was thrilled to get the phone call. We had well over 1200 entries into the draw and talked to many more over the weekend.

FDAO booth

At the end of Monday Ken M, Brian B and John P took everything down and packed up. Off to the CU to unload. David Lee met us there and we did all the work to put everything back in a quick 20 minutes.

Amazing volunteers. Thank you to all of you.

And I just wanted to say thanks specially to Sid Sidhu who kept in touch from the hospital and was in our thoughts all the time. The Saanich Fair is special to him and we missed him very much.

On to next year?
Lauri Roche

Saanich Fair 2022 photo album

2022 Island Star Party

Posted by as Special Events

The Cowichan Valley Starfinders Astronomy Club and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre invite everyone to the dark skies of South Cowichan for the 25th Annual Island Star Party!

Location: Bright Angel Park, 4528 Tigwell Rd, Duncan, BC, Canada

Starts Fri Aug 26, 2022, 4:00 pm
Ends Sun Aug 28, 2022, 10:00 am

Two Full Nights of Observing, Guest Speakers, Door Prizes, Telescope Mentoring, Walking Trails, Swimming.

  • Admission includes camping for two nights on the observing field in designated areas.
  • Motorhomes, travel trailers, campers, tents and vehicles welcome, however this is bare camping, with no services in the camping area.
  • Flush toilets, potable water, extra parking available a short walk from the observing field.
  • Not a camper? There are a good selection of accomodation a short drive away in Cowichan Bay, Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake, Cowichan Station, and Duncan. Reserve early, since the Cowichan Valley is a popular vacation destination.
  • Gates to the park are locked at 9PM, so park outside the gate if you are not staying overnight!

Full Weekend Admission: (Includes 1 year CVSF membership) – cash only please

  • Individual: $20.00
  • Family: $30.00 Adults up to 3 Children (17 years or younger)
  • Evening “Drop In” Free, but donations welcome
  • This event is open to the public. Membership in CVSF or RASC is not required.
2022 Island Star party – printable poster (16.8Mb pdf)

2022 Island Star party – printable invitations (2×2 layout, 98kb pdf)

President’s Message – June 2022

Posted by as President's Message

This week, the citizens of the Earth were given a wonderful present. The Gaia Data Release 3 was publicized at 9 UT, June 13. And yes I was awake at 2 in the morning to watch the event. The Gaia satellite has been mapping 2 billion (!!!) points of lights in the sky – stars, galaxies, quasars, and solar system objects. They are measuring positions, distances, motions, colours, and spectra. For an Astro Café talk I prepared about the Gaia Data Release 2, I displayed a plot of the number and angular precision of catalogued stars. From the Hipparchus’ catalog of 1000 stars in 150 BCE to the best Earth-based collections from last century, there was a continuous but slow improvement. But with space-based measurements over the last 20 years, the catalogs have improved by orders of magnitude! And Gaia should continue collecting data through to 2025 to continue this trend.

Gaia Data Release 3 - group photo
Gaia Data Release 3 – group photo

The branch of amateur astronomy pejoratively labeled “armchair astronomy” sounds very passive, but we delight in the personal journey to discovery, which the professional astronomers afford us by collecting and analysing these extreme data sets. One of my passions is following the trajectory of knowledge from the early astronomical observations to the present. For example, I love to learn how the first stellar spectra measured in the 19th century led to Annie Jump Cannon’s stellar classifications (Only Bad Astronomers Forget Generally Known Mnemonics), leading to the Hertzsprung-Russell colour-magnitude diagram, and further leading to amazing insights such as the age of stars. And now such analyses can be extended to hundreds of millions of stars with the public release of the Gaia data.

The Gaia mission is akin to a gothic cathedral. It is a huge edifice, erected with major societal investment that was accomplished by many, many ordinary people who each do their small part. This edifice is a public good which inspires, and makes us bigger and better human beings.

Look Up,
Randy Enkin, President
(email)

Astronomy Cafe – May 30, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Telescopes – David Lee on behalf of Sid Sidhu
    • There are telescopes for loan to RASC VIctoria Centre members
    • Members who have spare eyepieces, please contact Sid, since we need more selection for loaners
  • Kitt Peak – David Lee
    • PixInsight workshop review
    • Kitt Peak is reopening, offering remote telescope images
    • OGS 12.5″ telescope, Paramount ME and 294MC OSC imaging camera – available for rent approximately US300/night for exclusive use
    • McMath Pierce Solar Telescope – now a public outreach facility, supporting Noirlab feeds
  • Brave New World – New Scientist – Ken Atkinson
    • TESS images – citizen science opportunities
    • zooinverse.org – see planet hunters
  • Astronomy Public Outreach – Randy Enkin
    • Island Star Party – last weekend in August at Bright Angel Park in southern Cowichan Valley – will be co-sponsored by Cowichan Valley Starfinders, RASC Victoria
    • Saanich Fair astronomy outreach – need volunteers
  • Meteor Storm Tonight – May 30, 2022 – Randy Enkin
    • Debris from Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3, a Jupiter family comet
    • No observations after 1930, until 1979 again
    • Period: 6.5 years
    • In 1995 brightened 400x – Hubble Space Telescope imaged the pieces of the comet
    • In 2006 Spitzer Space Telescope imaged
    • 2022 apparition could be spectacular
    • How about observing this apparition? Cloud cover may be a factor.
  • Star Parties at the DAO/CU – Lauri Roche
    • June 4 – next star party
      • Need some volunteers with telescopes
      • Speaker: White Dwarfs – Simon Blouin
    • Last Star Party – thanks to Dave Payne and David Lee for working on the Celestrons, Sherry Buttnor operated the 16″, solar telescopes were operating early in the evening.
    • Centre of the Universe displays – many are disabled due to old age. Needs a refresh, but requires funding. Skilled volunteers would be very welcome.
  • RASC General Assembly – June 24, 2022 – Lauri Roche
    • Tickets are now available – $20 for members for 4 days
    • Lots of interesting speaker, workshops, social events, and AGM business meeting
    • For those of us who live in the Pacific Time Zone – runs between 9AM and 4PM
    • Some sessions will be recorded, to be viewed later
  • Last Astronomy Cafe 
    • Thanks to the volunteers who have hosted Astronomy Cafe
    • Need volunteers when Astro Cafe restarts in the Fall
    • Hybrid format is working – in-person and Zoom
    • Sep 12th – first Astro Cafe meeting
    • Alex Schmid laptop (from UVic), external speakers and microphone
  • Galactic Poster – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman 

Astronomy Cafe – May 16, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Special General Meeting for RASC Victoria Centre – Randy Enkin
    • Have a quorum of over 25 Victoria Centre members in attendance
    • Changes to ensure our bylaws are consistent with the national bylaws and BC Society’s Act requirements
    • Call for volunteers to work on more revisions to Victoria Centre bylaws over the next few months
  • Need volunteers for Astronomy Cafe – contact Randy Enkin
    • Zoom host – recording and posting the video transcripts online
    • Meeting host – tracks and runs the meetings
  • Star parties at Observatory Hill – Lauri Roche
    • May 21, Jun 4, 18 – hybrid party in-person and online on Zoom & Youtube
      • May 21 – Early Discoveries made by the Plaskett Telescope – Jim Nemec
    • Every Saturday night after the July 1st break for the summer
    • Volunteers needed: telescopes in the parking lot, RASC welcome table, Plaskett dome tour hosts, 16″ telescope operators, other roles – contact Lauri
    • Electronically-Assisted Astronomy – start planning to use at the Star Parties in future – contact Dave Lee
  • Nanaimo Astronomy – Janeane MacGillivray
    • Astronomy From Kitt Peak – David Lee presenting at upcoming meeting
    • RASC Victoria members are welcome – send an email
  • Total Lunar Eclipse reports from members – May 15/16, 2022
    • Cloudy photos from Saanich after being skunked at Cattle Point – David Lee
    • HDR smartphone photos through eyepiece, join observations from Cosmic Generation group – Nathan Hellmen-Mestleman
    • Lunar Crater transits & mare cookies – Randy Enkin
    • Cloudy photos from Sidney – Chris Gainor
    • Observed from Brentwood Bay while raining – Lauri Roche
    • Just a glimpse from Taylor Beach in Metchosin, but spotted ISS – Bill Weir
  • Plaskett Images – Dan Posey
    • Composite image of the images over last few years 
    • Whirlpool Galaxy, Whale Galaxy, Deer Link Group NGC 7331, Fireworks Galaxy NGC 6946, M100, M63 Blackeye, NGC 3718 Arp galaxy, Hickson 44
    • Plaskett nights are for enjoyment and a reward for RASC Victoria members and volunteers
    • Review of techniques to process Plaskett image data into nice images
  • Skynews magazine – Bruce Lane
    • Review of upcoming articles
    • Please send Total Lunar Eclipse observing reports to Bruce (Editor)
  • Black Holes – Randy Enkin
    • M87 Black Hole – April 22, 2019 – Event Horizon Telescope
    • Sagittarius A* Supermassive Black Hole – May 16, 2022 – BBC Science Focus article
    • Galactic nucleus observed by Karl Jansky in 1931 – published in Nature, 173, 985-987, 1954
    • Angular resolution problem solved by the Event Horizon Telescope
    • Motion analysis of objects and energy near the Event Horizon of a black hole
    • Lauri Roche’s “black hole” birthday gift

Total Lunar Eclipse – May 15/16, 2022

Posted by as Observing Highlights

On Sunday, May 15th, 2022, we will be able to view a total eclipse of the Moon (weather permitting) from Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The Moon will be in full eclipse after rising from the southeastern horizon, remaining fully eclipsed for about an hour before transitioning into a partial phase as it climbs in altitude and moves to the south. The Lunar Eclipse will end just before midnight.

Enlarge this video to view details for the Lunar Eclipse timing and phases. Depiction of this particular Lunar Eclipse is as viewed from Victoria – generated by Starry Night Pro Plus 8 and captured using Snagit 2022.

This is a perfect opportunity to visually observe this beautiful celestial event, and possibly capture some photographs from a location with an unobstructed view to the east and south.

Total Eclipse Begins8:29PM
Moon Rises8:42PM – probably visible 10-15 mins later
Greatest Eclipse9:12PM
Total Eclipse Ends9:54PM
Partial Eclipse Ends11:51PM
Above Eclipse times are for Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) for the west coast of North America, and are calculated from UT as presented in the Observers Handbook 2022, pages 127-131.
Lunar Eclipse diagram – NASA

What’s Happening

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon. During a lunar eclipse the Moon’s position traverses the Earth’s shadow. The Moon’s first contact with the Earth’s shadow is at the outer band of the shadow called the penumbra. The light falling on the Moon is progressively blocked until at the moment of total eclipse the Moon is completely in the darkest central area of the Earth’s shadow called the umbra. At the point of total eclipse the process starts to reverse itself until the Moon is totally out of the Earth’s shadow.


Glossary

  • limb – the outer edge of the Moon
  • penumbra – the outer band of the Earth’s shadow
  • umbra – the darker central area of the Earth’s shadow
  • partial eclipse – the Moon is positioned within the penumbra
  • total eclipse – the Moon is positioned totally within the umbra

Observing Tips

What do you need?

Everything from your eyes, binoculars and telescope are suitable. Bear in mind this is a long process, so dress warmly and bring a chair if you want to be comfortable.

Find yourself a location that has a clear horizon view to the east and south especially if you wish to view the early fully-eclipsed stage. Observing from a hill will help you spot the rising Moon earlier than if you observe from lower elevations or sea level.

Keep a log of what you see and note the time. Pay attention to how much of the light on the moon is obscured and if there are any colouration changes. During the total eclipse the Moon will take on a deep orange-red colour. The colour of the Moon is a function of contaminants in the atmosphere and varies from year to year.

A good observing project for this long-lasting eclipse will be to observe the craters on the Moon as the eclipse progresses. Craters will be immersed and emerge from the Earth’s shadow on the Moon at times specified in the Observers Handbook 2022, page 131.

2019 Total Lunar Eclipse from Victoria – composite photo by Joe Carr

Photographic Tips

Equipment

Any camera with the capability of setting shutter speeds and aperture settings manually will do fine. The ability to use interchangeable lenses will be an advantage for more detailed images of the Moon. For the darker parts of the eclipse, eg. totality you should use a tripod support for best results. If you have access to a telescope you can try capturing the event using prime focus techniques through the telescope optics.

Settings

Today’s digital cameras are very sensitive to light reflected by the Moon. Use ISO 400 to ISO 800 and a long telephoto lens or zoom setting. Smartphones and point-and-shoot digital cameras will not produce rewarding photos of the eclipsed Moon, but can be useful for taking panoramic shots of your surroundings which include the eclipsed Moon.

Technique for smartphone cameras

Smartphone cameras typically do not support manual settings, so using them to capture a lunar eclipse will be less rewarding than using more capable cameras. That said, smartphone cameras can be held up to a telescope eyepiece to capture an image of the Moon. Aligning the tiny lens to the eyepiece can be tricky, however there are platforms made to clamp onto an eyepiece barrel which will hold smartphones steady enough to take acceptable photos of the Moon, including the eclipsed Moon.

Technique for interchangeable lens cameras

The simplest eclipse pictures can be taken with manual settings on your camera and a normal lens, preferably supported by a tripod. For best results use a cable release to minimize vibration. Images taken in this fashion result in a small lunar image. This is why it is preferable to use a telephoto lens to photograph the Moon.

For a full frame camera try a 200mm lens or even better, a 500mm lens or higher. You may also use teleconverters to increase magnification, these typically come in 1.4x and 2x strengths. Their downside is they reduce the effective aperture of your optical system. A 1.4x teleconverter will decrease your effective exposure by 1 stop, a 2x teleconverter will decrease your effective exposure by 2 stops. Work out your effective aperture of your optical system ahead of time so you don’t have to think about it on the night of the eclipse.

Note for the smaller sub-full frame sensors of some digital cameras you gain an extra advantage as the focal length of the lens is effectively magnified by a factor. For example a Nikon DX body your 200mm lens would be effectively 300mm.

  • APS-C Nikon DX, Pentax : 1.5x
  • APS-C Canon EF-S : 1.6x
  • Four Thirds : 2x

Example:

 Focal Length ApertureEffective Focal Length
with 2x teleconvertor
Effective Aperture
with 2x teleconvertor
 180mm 2.8 360mm 5.6
 480mm 6.8 960mm 13.6

To achieve any higher magnification than what is stated above you will have to use a telescope at prime focus. For this your manual camera does need to have the capability of using interchangeable lenses. For prime focus you will use the telescope optics as your interchangeable lens. To attach your camera to your telescope you will need two things a T-adapter that fits your camera and a telescope camera adapter that fits your telescope.

The telescope camera adapter is designed to fit in the focusing tube of your telescope and is threaded to accept the T-adapter of your camera. With the magnification involved with telescopic optics it is likely that you will need to use a tracking mount. Preferably the mount should be able to track at lunar speed as opposed to sidereal but if the shutter speeds chosen are shorter than 1 or 2 minutes this is not critical.

Exposure times are the next consideration. The following exposure times are based on a medium ISO setting and an effective aperture that would be common with a long telephoto and teleconverter combination. Exposures may vary with your equipment based on ISO speed and effective aperture. The Danjon Lunar Eclipse Luminosity Scale has been included to provide better guesstimates for totality.

Exposure Times: based on ISO 400
Full Moon1/500 second at f/16
1st Contact1/250 second at f/16 see note 1.
2nd Contact1 second at f/16 see note 2.
Totality
*see table below
L = 4 : 4 seconds at f16  L = 3: 15 seconds at f16  L = 2: 1 minute at f16  L = 1: 4 minutes at f16
3rd Contact1 second at f/16 see note 2.
4th Contact1/250 second at f/16 see note 1.
* Danjon Lunar Eclipse Luminosity Scale
 L = 1dark eclipse; lunar surface details distinguishable only with difficultly
 L = 2deep red or rust coloured eclipse; central part of the umbra dark but outer rim relatively bright
 L = 3brick-red eclipse; usually with a brighter (frequently yellow) rim to the umbra
 L = 4very bright copper-red or orange eclipse, with a bluish, very bright umbral rim

Note 1. 1st and 4th contact times given for the partial phases are biased for the light part of the Moon. Remember you are dealing with vastly different exposures between the light and dark parts of the Moon during eclipse. The bias of about 1 stop minus avoids overexposure of the dominant bright area of the Moon.

Note 2. 2nd and 3rd contact times given for the partial phases are biased for the dark part of the Moon. The bias of about 1 stop plus is a good strategy for negative film not quite so good for slides and digital capture given they don’t tolerate overexposure well.

The exposure times are only recommendations. Remember the cardinal rule about photography … bracket. Always try exposures plus and minus your chosen exposure. This gives you a better chance at getting usable results. Let’s all hope for clear weather. If you have any questions please send email to David Lee at davidflee7331@gmail.com.


David Lee – original text
Joe Carr – updated for 2022
Brenda Stuart – illustrations


More information:

Astronomy Cafe – May 9, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting video transcript

  • Astronomy Day thank you’s to volunteers – Lauri Roche & David Lee
    • The in-person interaction was an engaging experience 
    • The younger volunteers were a real delight
    • Sidewalk astronomy from the museum plaza, with very good weather
    • History of Astronomy Day at the Royal BC Museum – Sid Sidhu
    • UVic, Camosun, Victoria High School, Shawnigan Lake School was a good collaboration
    • Galileo Moments
      • Daytime at the RBCM: more than 800 – 231 outside, 654 inside
      • Evening on Observatory Hill: 29 volunteers and more than 100 members of the public
    • A lessons learned meeting with leads – David Lee
    • Publicity worked pretty well – Chris Gainor
    • Hubble history book will be available at Astronomy Cafe next week – Chris Gainor
    • Public lectures – about 40 attendees for each of 4 presentations – Randy Enkin
    • Video recording for lunar observing national feed – David Lee recorded Randy Enkin and Bill Weir
    • Attendance compared with previous Astronomy Days? 
      • Despite a shorter day at RBCM, attendance was very good
      • Previous attendance was between 1,700-2,000 at our bigger events
    • A high quality experience for attendees and children’s activities front-and-centre was a good idea – Jim Hesser
    • Met some interesting people who were very interested in astronomy – Dave Payne
    • Offered to help people to make use of their telescopes – Dave Robinson
    • Astronomy Day – event info and photo gallery
  • M33 Triangulum Galaxy image – Randy Enkin & John McDonald
    • HII star formation region
    • Compared with Barnard’s Loop shock wave (10º)
    • Bubble is the form the shock wave takes caused by multiple stars
    • M33 is a floculant galaxy – clumping of hydrogen material
    • What is a “typical” galaxy? – Dorothy Paul
    • April 2017 Skynews article (PDF) – Orion’s Aura – Orion Eridanis Super Bubble – Reg Dunkley
  • James Webb Space Telescope progress report – Chris Gainor’
    • Image sharpness check completed for all instruments
    • Instrument Modes Check Off – happening next
    • Images will likely start in June or July
    • Diffraction spikes in the images – causes?
    • Difference fields of view for each camera/sensor
  • Special General Meeting at May 16th Astronomy Cafe – Randy Enkin
    • Need a quorum of 25 Victoria Centre members in attendance
    • Changes to ensure our bylaws consistent with the national bylaws
    • Our Secretary Jill Sinkwich is finding several parts of Victoria Centre bylaws that will need to be changed
    • Proposed changes are already sent out to members
  • Need volunteers for Astronomy Cafe – Randy Enkin
    • Zoom host – recording and posting the video transcripts online
    • Meeting host – tracks and runs the meetings
  • Star parties at Observatory Hill – Lauri Roche
    • May 21, Jun 4, 18
    • Every Saturday night after the July 1st break for the summer
    • Volunteers needed: telescopes in the parking lot, RASC welcome table, Plaskett dome tour hosts, 16″ telescope operators, other roles
    • Electronically-Assisted Astronomy – start planning to use at the Star Parties in future – contact Dave Lee
  • National General Assembly – June 24-27 (online) – Lauri Roche
    • Speakers, co-current sessions, virtual field trips
    • AGM
    • Seeking submissions from members to give half hour talks about their passion – submit form by May 15th – contact Lauri