Total Lunar Eclipse, May 15-16, 2022
By Chris Predom
I am writing this while still fresh in my memory. The night started at 9:30 pm as I saw the moon rise over the neighbor’s house across the street, by 10:30 it was entirely overcast at 11:06 pm Rich Asarisi texted me that clouds were breaking up at his home and wanted to know if I could see the moon. I told him I could not and that it clouded up here before event was to start, but I was watching it on a Youtube link from Highpoint Scientific and I was going to peak outside once in a while. When I did look outside the moon was slightly more than halfway covered. Grabbed my eyepieces and coulter 8 inch f4.5 dob and set up in front yard. Started with my 17mm plossel which the moon just fits the entire field of view and watched the shadow creep as I also scanned outward from the moon looking for the upcoming disappearing occultations, I knew would be coming up. One of which was a double star. I switched to my 12.5 ortho and watched the last portion of the shadow swallow the bright portion of the moon, taking quick naked eye views of the moon as it progressed. The portion in the shadow had a red hue to it with the maria portion very dark with no red hue at all. When the last of the bright portion was gone I switched to my Tuthill 35mm plossel, which has a nice low power wide field of view , I could fit two moons in the view easily with room to spare. With the moon centered I observe the overall red hue of the moon and the surrounding star field. After a quick naked eye view I switched back to the 12.5 mm eyepiece to catch the first reappearance occultation, but I had just missed it. There it was at the edge of the moon, did a quick glance on where the double star would be disappearing, then back to other side to wait for the other reappearance occultations. While waiting, clouds once again came in and covered up the moon, A quick view to the West did not look promising.
Went back to the Youtube stream just in time to see that star disappear, but on the Youtube video did not notice a step disappearance as one might expect with a close double. Back outside with telescope I was able to see the moon thru the clouds off and on. Sometimes I had some good views other times I could just make out the circular outline
of the moon, Other times I could not see it at all and had to walk telescope a little in direction moon would travel, I was surprised that when after 20 minutes of nothing when I glanced up and saw a hint of the moon, I was actually pointing just above it. I played hide and seek like this for rest of the eclipse, Losing the moon for long periods
in the clouds until I saw a small bright sliver of white, The beginning of the end. Next view was a little more than halfway over. The only way I could tell that was by watching the clouds coming over the moon. The areas still in shadow I could see no detail at all but as soon as that same portion of cloud moved over the lit portion I could see detail.
Later on it thinned enough for me to get a quick naked eye view. Finally had to call it an end at 1:53a.m. As the clouds really thickened up again. Overall I was very happy to see what I did of this event, this is not my first time observing thru clouds, I have observed the moon and some planets thru clouds. It is just a matter of getting quick naked eye glances with enough time to point your focused telescope at that area and once in telescope view, when the object is hidden by clouds again, knowing how to creep your scope in the direction the object is moving, hoping to get a thin or clear opening for quick views. Try it sometime, start with the moon, the skies can not be totally overcast. It must have pockets of thinner clouds or clear openings in order for this to work. You will be surprised when in the telescope you see the moon, but naked eye you can not, The detail will not be the same as a clear sky but you will be able to make