Today was my first time looking at the lunar eclipse with binoculars. The entire event was very amazing and breathtaking. Viewing the Moon along the terminator line (the line between the bright and the dark side) always reveals the most details, since the shadows along the line highlight the craters. This eclipse was a chance to have the entire Moon be revealed in tremendous detail, as the terminator line moved across the Moon in the space of an hour.
As the eclipse progressed, the dark parts of the Moon turned red. This is due to Rayleigh scattering, as the only light reaching the parts of the Moon in the Earth’s shadow was going through the Earth’s atmosphere. The particles in the atmosphere scatter shorter wavelengths (which is why the sky is blue), so the only light that is able to reach through the atmosphere, and then the Moon, is redder. Since the full Moon is extremely bright to see through binoculars, the dimmer red light gave a really nice chance to see the entire face of the Moon for a few minutes without having to squint through the eyepiece.
I tried capturing pictures through the binoculars, but they didn’t turn out extremely well. It was mostly because I was just holding up my iPhone’s camera to the eyepiece with my hand, which was shaking the view. I also noticed that the camera was having trouble adjusting its exposure since there was such a huge difference between the dark and bright areas of the Moon. Near totality, when most of the Moon was dark, I was able to capture some details. The best pictures are included above.
One thought that entered my mind when I was sharing the pictures on Twitter was the realization of how many people across the world must be watching the same thing. The Moon and the sky are subjects which can truly break down all barriers set up between cultures.