Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – March 25, 2024

In the early morning of March 25, 2024 there was a penumbral lunar eclipse. At 3:12 AM EDT around 95% of the Moon was in Earth’s penumbral shadow. I captured images of the Moon from just after the start of the eclipse to just after maximum.

What is a penumbral lunar eclipse? In a penumbral lunar eclipse the full moon will move into the outer part of the Earth’s shadow, the penumbra. As the penumbral lunar eclipse occurs, the moon will dim slightly. In a total lunar eclipse, the moon becomes reddish, completely entering the Earth’s shadow.

I captured light from the Moon with my ZWO ASI294MC Pro through my SVBONY SV503 102ED Scope with a 0.8x focal reducer sitting on my SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro. Remotely controlling all the gear using KStars/Ekos via an INDI Server running on Raspberry Pi. No guiding. Since the exposures are so short I am not cooling the camera, nor I am using any dark frames. I did use the hot pixel removal in SharpCap.

I set up in early in the evening on Sunday afternoon. Checked focus and polar alignment, then took a couple test shot of the Moon. Ekos Autofocus set the EAF steps at 10153 and plate solving is calculating the focal length at 569.4 mm (F/5.6). After getting things set up I set my alarm for 12:45 AM and took a nap. At 12:45 AM all was ready to go and I started capturing the Moon. It was cool, in the low-40s, a little hazy, and very bright with the light from the Full Moon.

I captured 10 images every 5 minutes starting at 1:20 AM EDT and ending at 3:30 AM EDT. I used the Planetary Imaging Pre-Processor (PIPP) to create an AVI from the individual FITS files, then converted the AVI to MP4 using VLC. I created this timelapse video from 280 images:

Here are captures every 20 minutes over the course of the eclipse. These captures are 0.000032 seconds at 121 gain, 30 offset, bin 2×2.

Lunar Eclipse – 03/25/2024 – 01:20 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse 03/25/2024 01:20 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse – 03/25/2024 – 01:40 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse 03/25/2024 01:40 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse – 03/25/2024 – 02:00 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse 03/25/2024 02:00 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse – 03/25/2024 – 02:20 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse 03/25/2024 02:20 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse – 03/25/2024 – 02:40 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse 03/25/2024 02:40 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse – 03/25/2024 – 03:00 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse 03/25/2024 03:00 AM EDT
Lunar Eclipse – 03/25/2024 – 03:12 AM EDT – Max 95% of the Moon is in the Earth’s penumbral shadow.
Lunar Eclipse 03/25/2024 03:12 AM EDT Penumbral Max
Overall pretty cool. I have a lot more data from the night. I captured 10 x 0.000032 exposures every 5 minutes from 01:00 AM EDT till 03:30 AM EDT.
The April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse is only 2 weeks away!

A CloudyNights’ forum member, CHnuschti, created this animated gif from my captures at 1:20 AM EDT and at 3:12 AM EDT to help highlight the differences between the beginning of the lunar eclipse and peak.
Lunar Eclipse Animated
The forum post, Sunday Night’s/Monday Morning’s Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, has some more images and discussions.

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