About the Lunar Eclipse and the Meteor Shower
Cedar Creek is located in the rolling hills of Missouri’s wine country. There are no city lights, just endless sky, which means that guests have an unobstructed view to watch the earth awaken and change throughout the day. Some of our favorite moments are watching the morning fog lift and the dew dissolve over a cup of hot coffee, quietly observing as one of nature’s storms roll in, and even relaxing at the end of day as the sun sets on the horizon. However, the most beautiful time at Cedar Creek is the night. First you will see the planets appear (they shine), followed by the Western Star, then millions of tiny stars (they twinkle) consume the sky. The amount of stars you see in an open country setting is more than double what you would see in the city on a clear night, and we don’t have the words to describe the feelings and emotions you will experience in that moment- it truly is breathtaking, magical and inspiring, and we urge you to come out and experience at night at Cedar Creek for yourself. Having said that, as we near the end of 2014 and prepare for 2015, Mother Nature has some amazing plans for the night. The most recent will be the Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8, and the Draconid meteor shower on October 8
The Total Lunar Eclipse on Oct 8 is the second in a tetrad, a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 – 2015.
Eclipses of the Moon happen when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned to form an almost or exact straight line. The technical term for this is syzygy, which comes from the Greek word for being paired together.
During a total lunar eclipse, the Sun, Earth and Moon form a straight line. The Earth blocks any direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The Sun is behind the Earth, so the Sun’s light casts the Earth’s shadow on the Moon. This shadow covers the entire Moon and causes a total lunar eclipse.
The Earth’s shadow can be divided into 3 parts:
- Penumbra – the outer part.
- Umbra – darker, central part.
- Antumbra – a partly shaded area beyond the umbra.
A series of 4 consecutive total lunar eclipses with no partial or penumbral lunar eclipses in between is called alunar tetrad.
The October 8, 2014 total lunar eclipse is the second total eclipse of the Moon in the 2014-2015 tetrad. The first one was on April 15, 2014. The last 2 total lunar eclipses in this tetrad will be on April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.
The 2014 Draconid meteor shower will also peak on October 8 and 9. The Draconid meteor shower, also sometimes known as the Giacobinids, is one of the two meteor showers to annually grace the skies in October. The Draconids owe their name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, and are created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner. The comet takes about 6.6 years to make a single revolution around the Sun.
Although the Draconids have been responsible for some of the most spectacular meteor showers in recorded history, most recently in 2011, most astronomers and sky gazers consider these to be one of the least interesting meteor showers in during the year.
The Orionids are the second meteor shower in October. It usually peaks around October 21.
HOW TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE MOON
Mobile Camera or DSLR?
The challenge is to capture the details of the Moon’s surface. With most mobile cameras, you can’t manually set the exposure, which controls the amount of light in the image. Most likely, you will only manage to capture the light from the Moon, and the Moon itself might come out looking like a blurry dot of light in the sky.
Zoom, Tripod and Timer
Most mobile cameras also don’t have a very powerful zoom. A zoom of 200mm and above is needed to make to Moon the focal point of the image and to capture the surface details.
A tripod or another stable surface where you can place your camera is useful to keep it still during slow shutter speeds.
A remote shutter or the timer on the camera prevents the camera from moving or shaking as you shoot the picture.
Shutter Speed & ISO
- The moon is bright, so use a low ISO-setting of 100 or 200.
- Underexpose rather that overexpose the moon. The moon is bright and an aperture of at least 11 is recommended, letting in less light.
- In low light situations the shutter speed may have to go down.
- Use the viewfinder. It makes it easier to see your composition and settings.
- A foreground subject, like for instance the moon over a city or landscape, might make the image more interesting.
- Allow yourself enough preparation time.
- Keep shooting! Play around with different exposures and apertures.
If you making a weekend getaway out of your visit to New Haven, Cedar Creek offers a variety of lodging options for groups large and small. Stay in our cozy rooms in Cedar Lodge, or rent a cottage house for the entire group. For more please contact us.