Canadians coast to coast will have the chance to view (and photograph) a lunar eclipse early Tuesday
Monday, April 14, 2014, 8:33 AM -
If you can stay awake long enough, Canadians from coast to coast will have the chance to view a lunar eclipse this week.
The year's first eclipse will begin just before 2 am ET on Tuesday and will offer ideal viewing for observers throughout the Western Hemisphere.
According to Night Sky Guy Andrew Fazekas, North America hasn't seen a total lunar eclipse since 2011.
"We've actually had this cosmic dry spell that we've been under that's lasted over two and a half years now,'' he said in a recent interview.
BEST VIEWING SPOTS IN CANADA?
"The sky conditions for much of the country will unfortunately see a fair amount of cloud cover due a large frontal system draped across Ontario and Quebec and another one across Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan," says Weather Network meteorologist Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn. "However parts of Manitoba may be in a good position to catch much of this event as they are between the two systems."
Lecky Hepburn adds that it's not out of the question for other parts of the country to get a glimpse of the event if there are occasional breaks in the cloud cover.
"Just keep an eye on your local forecast," she adds.
In addition to the weather, Lecky Hepburn has a passion for photography.
"I have always had a passion to share with others the universe around them that is either unseen or often times taken for granted," she says on her website, Weather and Sky Photography.
TIPS FOR CAPTURING THE EVENT
Despite the cloud cover expected for this lunar eclipse, Lecky Hepburn says perfectly clear skies are not necessarily needed.
"Sometimes the most interesting eclipse pictures can include a little bit of cloud cover as long as the clouds are not completely obscuring the moon," she says. "The beauty of these types of events is that you can take pictures of this from a city or even a dark rural location. You just need to check to make sure that there are no physical obstructions blocking the view. Sometimes it is really fun to plan out a photograph so that there are terrestrial objects in the frame near the moon like mountains, water, buildings or landmarks."
You don't have to be a professional to take pictures of this event, even if you only have a point and shoot camera or cell phone.
"All that is needed is to put your camera in a night shooting mode or find a way to take a longer exposure of a few seconds or more," Lecky Hepburn adds. "Experiment as these exposures will change dramatically depending on how close the moon is to totality. A tripod or some kind of stand will be essential to keep your camera steady during the exposure."
OTHER INTERESTING DETAILS
This will be the first set of a series of four lunar eclipses that will be coming up in the next year and a half.
"They are truly a beautiful spectacle and it's one of the easiest astronomical events to observe pretty much from anywhere along it's path," says Lecky Hepburn.
Lunar eclipses are less rare than solar eclipses because of how close the moon is to earth. The shadow of the moon is much smaller than the shadow of the earth.
"What makes this upcoming lunar eclipse a little more interesting is the apparent closeness of the moon to the planet mars and bright blue star Spica," Lecky Hepburn says. "Imagine a beautiful triangle with the blood red moon, bright red planet and a bright blue star. It will be a really nice photographic opportunity."
The upcoming lunar eclipse dates are listed here.