Books by Philip S. Harrington

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Astronomy For All Ages


The Deep Sky: An Introduction


Eclipse!


The Space Shuttle


Star Ware, 4th edition


Star Watch


Touring the Universe Through Binoculars

 

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2003 November 8-9

 


The November 8-9, 2003 total lunar eclipse was a spectacular sight for those lucky enough to have clear skies.  The montage here was created from a series of shots taken with an Olympus D360L digital camera through my 4-inch f/10 Vixen refractor, and then combined using Photoshop. My wife Wendy and I had set up at Custer Institute on eastern Long Island, where more than 100 people came to see the eclipse.

As I speculated in Eclipse!, the Moon's slim passage into the umbra resulted in a brighter than usual total phase. On the five-point Danjon scale, I placed it at L=3 mid-eclipse, signified by a very bright, almost white southern edge to the totally eclipsed Moon. Indeed, it had to be one of the brightest lunar eclipses I have seen in the past 35 years of stargazing.

All in all, a wonderful event that proved to be a great opportunity to excite young and old alike about the beauty of a total lunar eclipse. It was just such an eclipse in April 1968 that started my love of astronomy. I can only hope that, given the near perfect conditions that we had here in the northeastern US, this eclipse may have also struck a spark in a future stargazer.