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The Lunar Eclipse on 3 March 2007

A group of UCL Physics and Astronomy Undergraduates gathered at UCLO to watch the lunar eclipse together. The weather held throughout and they could watch a spectacular event - "the best lunar eclipse since 1992", to quote UCLO Director Mike Dworetsky.

The students could observe the eclipse through the Fry refractor with a 2 inch eyepiece that gave a large full view of the moon. They also made use of the 10 inch LX-200 Meade telescope and binoculars.


Observers using the Fry Telescope made timings of the passage of the shadow across lunar features during the partial phases in order to compare with predictions and measure the size of the Earth's shadow accurately.

The shadow timings were very close to predicted times using Danjon's Rule for the atmospheric enlargement of the Earth's shadow, indicating that the shadow predictions for this eclipse were correct. However, the shadow size can vary unpredictably from one eclipse to the next, for reasons that are not completely understood.

According to our visual estimates, on the Danjon Scale of lunar eclipse brightness, the total phase started dark, at scale point 2, and gradually brightened to 3 towards the end of totality, with half the disk rated at 3.5.

Dr Francisco Diego took the following images from his back garden in South London with his digital SLR camera (Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT) on a Meade 8 telescope working at f/5, ISO 50. Partial phases are exposed at 1/250s, totality at 15s (click images for large views).





Bob Barber supplied images which were taken by his friend Paul Farrington MRCVS from a dark site in Berkshire, using a hand-held Nikon D50 with a 300 mm lens. The images were then combined by Thomas Schlichter using the GIMP Image Editor: