Last update: February 16th, 2000
Total Lunar Eclipse in Germany, January 21st, 2000
The total lunar eclipse could be observed in almost all Europe, if the skies
were clear. This, however, proved to be a very problematic condition that night.
Actually, all the day and half the night before the eclipse it was raining cats
and dogs in the Duesseldorf area and all over Germany. The chance of a clear
sky in the early morning hours during the eclipse from 4:30 to 7:00 was
extrelemy low, may be 10%. After discussion with the colleagues it became
clear that there would be no real chance to wake up anybody at that time
with that little chance of a useful observation. Therefore the director of
the FIBUS institute himself took the heavy burden and set his clock to 4:00
in the morning. Yawning he got up at that time and couldn't believe his eyes:
The sky was clearing up and very small holes of sky were already visible.
Within a few minutes the camera was set up and the big event could start.
During total eclipse the sky was almost completely clear and the image of
the dark orange moon was surprising and exciting. Too bad that before the
end of the eclipse the clouds appeared again and the reappearing of the moon
could not be observed. Anyway, lots of interesting pictures were taken.
As the camera equipment of the FIBUS institute is not designed for eclipse
observation, i.e. there are no very long lenses, a 135mm lens was used
with two (!) 2x converters, giving a 540 mm tele-lens. Degradation was
extremely bad by this technique. Some tests showed that the resulting lens
resolution was less than 1000 lines. Therefore all images are slightly blurred.
Another problem was the film sensitivity: Only 100 ASA film was used.
Especially during eclipse the light reflected from the moon was that little
that the minimum shutter time was 3 seconds. At this shutter time the earth
would turn quite a lot and the moon would move quite a bit to make the
images even more blurred. Well, next time we'll improve our equipment!
Moon images during partial coverage by the earth shadow. Last image
(lower right) for total eclipse and 3 seconds shutter time.
Additional information can be found on these NASA pages
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FIBUS Research Institute, Dr. Reinert H. G. Mueller;