Lunar Eclipse Sequence

June 06, 2003


Provided and copyright by: Jimmy Herrera
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Jimmy Herrera

The above photo sequence shows last month's total lunar eclipse (May 15), taken over Monterrey, Mexico. This eclipse was well-positioned for residents of North and South America as well as for people who live in western Europe and Africa. Not only does the shape of the Moon change during the course of an eclipse, but the appearance of the darkened portion of the Moon may change as well since the Earth's umbral shadow is deeper (darker) in the center than at the edge. For this particular eclipse, the southern (bottom) edge of the Moon dipped much deeper into the Earth's shadow than did the northern (top) edge.

Lunar eclipses occur when the Moon is at Full phase. However, an eclipse does not occur at every Full Moon, because the Moon's orbit is tilted 7 degrees to Earth's, so most of the time the alignment of the Sun, Earth and Moon is not precise. The exact alignment required for total eclipses occurs at approximately 6-month intervals, and if you happened to miss last month's spectacle, the next total lunar eclipse occurs on November 9, 2003.

Photo Specifications: Olympus camera, OM-1 28mm lenses, ISO 100 film. The exposures were between 22:43 to 00:23 Central Daylight Time, every 10 minutes (f/11, f/8, f/5.6 and f/2.8).

Related Links: