Pre-Penumbral Eclipse Moon over Denbighshire

I don’t drive, so in the car I am always a passenger. I am relieved of the driver’s distress of driving in pitch black; naturally, I quite enjoy riding on empty road in the darkness.

My friend and I went to Denbighshire in Wales, spending merely one night over in the lands of wizards. We ended up getting lost, and this photo was taken when we stopped, exhausted and concerned, on one such road. I have no idea how they are maintained or how people are expected to drive. Being an urban girl, I am perhaps a bit too used to having streetlights every 5 metres, so when there is none it does feel like a big deal.

Yet at the same time there is something beautiful about not having any streetlights around. These rural areas give us a perfect opportunity to experience the life in by-gone days. Cars have lights; horses don’t. Is there any wonder that so often do we read how 17-18th cc. travellers stayed and spent a night at the inn? They didn’t want to get lost, nor did they want to be robbed.

The beautiful thing about our trip and this particular photo is that they occurred just one day before the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. What I like personally is the fact that the tiny white spot you can see a few inches below the Moon is the Moon’s reflection in the pond or river. And the Moon itself is seen among the clouds, above some hills.

Via Wikipedia article I also landed on Fourmilab blog of John Walker who lives in Switzerland and who undertook a painstaking task of documenting this lunar eclipse on film. With the help of the Nikon camera and lens and some assistance from Adobe programs, John has brought to us the image of this miracle.

I did not do any contrast stretching or other adjustments to the luminosity transfer function. Within the limits of the camera and the software tools in the workflow, this is what the image plane sensor saw. And it saw the penumbral eclipse! Look at the lower left side of the image above, and you can see the effect of the Earth partially obscuring the Sun painted upon the Moon. Few people have ever perceived this visually—certainly I did not; the Moon’s disc was sufficiently blinding both before the eclipse and at its maximum that there was no clue such a subtle eclipse was underway. And yet a digital camera and a modicum of image processing can dig out from the raw pixels raining upon us from the sky what our eyes cannot see.


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