Lunar Eclipse vs. Fast Clouds

On the morning of May 26 a totally eclipsed supermoon was predicted to set behind the Hieroglyphic Mountains due west of my location. I was planning to do a time-lapse of that event. I also wanted to get a time-lapse of the uneclipsed supermoon rising in the east earlier that evening. This video shows my results. Speedup factor = 8X.

Obviously, the entire evening was a bust. Heavy clouds moved in and covered most of Arizona. Astronomers statewide were frustrated at missing this cosmic display. I got up early anyway just in case the clouds cleared, but the clouds were even worse. Unlike the uneclipsed Moon rising, the much dimmer eclipsed Moon setting could not be seen through the clouds.

But I did get this cool shot of the clouds moving in. The moonglow nicely silhouettes a stand of saguaro in the foreground. And as the clouds drift north, they develop interesting wave-like undulations not as easily discernible in real-time. These are gravity waves — a result of the moving air encountering mountains as it climbs into the foothills. Alas, as often happens during astrophotography, an airplane cuts across the scene near the 20 second mark.

For the photographers: Canon 20D, 200 mm Zuiko lens, f/32, full auto, intervalometer set for 1 second.

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