Monday, January 21, 2019

Lunar Eclipse, Saddleback Butte State Park CA, January 20, 2019

I was watching weather reports for the past week, looking at forecasts for everywhere from southern Utah and western Arizona, and all over southern California, trying to decide where I'd have the best chance of clear skies. By the last day before the eclipse, it became apparent that north and northwest of Los Angeles was the place to be. So I settled on Saddleback Butte State Park, which is a bit east of Lancaster.
I've hiked here before, and also observed from here before. It's not nearly as dark as places like the Mojave Preserve or even Joshua Tree, but it's closer, and it's warmer than places like Chuchupate or Mount Pinos, which are higher in altitude, but also had good sky forecasts for the 20th.
I wanted to get up there early enough to have time for a little hiking, but not so early that I'd have to spend too much time just sitting around, waiting for the eclipse. Turns out, I waited too long, and only had time to head a mile or so up the trail. Still got some nice post-sunset shots, though.
After returning back to the campsite ($20/night), I decided to eat dinner, a Jersey Mike's subway sandwich. My birthday was last month, so this was a good chance to use my free birthday sandwich coupon. :D
Took some full moon shots, and some partial phase shots, then planned to switch to my backup battery, as my camera's battery was in the red. Unfortunately, I discovered that my backup battery was completely dead. So I could not take as many shots as I had intended.
Still, fortunately, the battery did last long enough for me to get decent moon shots and backdrop shots. Couldn't fine tune the focus on the moon, though, so I had to shoot short exposures and high iso, which were not the best quality.
The second to last shot was just a few seconds long, so the moon is only slightly overexposed, and the moon still has a copper hue. Castor and Pollux and the constellation Gemini are above the moon. Procyon is the star to the bottom right of the frame.
The last one was about 15 seconds at iso 1600, to get more background stars, but that overexposes the moon severely. As a result, the moon is completely washed out. But the sky looked nice.


  1. Nice! Did you read about the meteor hitting the moon during the eclipse?

    1. Yeah, pretty cool. It happens with some frequency, and with so many cameras pointed at the moon, nice someone got it.