Hello, all, and before going to bed I'll give a
quick report on the total lunar eclipse, which I
observed with 7X50 binoculars from a location in
my apartment observatory a few feet from my 20cm
Dob, which unfortunately had a window of viewing
not quite high enough to include the declination
of the Moon.

However, the viewing with binoculars was great.
I started observing around 0152 PDT or so, just
as the event was beginning. I might have guessed
that it would take a few minutes for the start of
the partial eclipse to become evident, but it was
already very clear that a bit of the Moon on the
northwest side was "missing."

My first impression was that the partially eclipsed
area looked very dark, but later on as totality
approached my overall impression became more

By around 0258 PDT, totality seemed to be in effect,
with a curious impression of a somewhat lighter
crescent-like area near the south pole. In a few
minutes, this comparatively lighter area became more
subtle or muted.

My technique for observing the eclipse was a curious
one: I either sat or reclined on my bed, looking to
the west near the top of the window. With binoculars,
viewing through either a closed or open window is
satisfactory, and I tried both, with the latter serving
to get a bit of cool and fresh air into the room.

In the time leading up to and during totality, I took
breaks from lunar observing with naked eyes and binoculars
to do some binocular stargazing in the area of Piscis
Austrinus and especially Sculptor.

My special interest is in reallly getting well acquainted
with the asterisms of Sculptor in the region near NGC 253,
the beautiful galaxy also known as the Silver Coin Galaxy,
my top DSO priority -- and also the visually neighboring
globular cluster NGC 288. Learning to navigate confidently
in this territory with binoculars should help when searching
for NGC 253 (and also 288) with a finder or wide-angle
eyepiece under somewhat more complicated conditions -- for
example, coping with light trespass that can be largely
avoided viewing with binoculars from below the window sill.

I also saw what are very likely Alpha and Sigma Sculptoris
to the south of NGC 253.

Getting back to the main attraction, the eclipse, I was
fascinated to see how, during totality, the "lighter"
rim of the Moon moved from near the south pole to the
southest, west, and eventually the northwest (the area
where the partial eclipse had started). As 0400 PDT drew
near and then passed, I saw the northwest area continue
quite bright, and looked for the third contact -- the
end of totality.

It seem to come around 0423 PDT, and within a minute or
so was very clear. I watched for a few more minutes,
and then decided to grab a snack, post a quick report
to s.a.a., and get to bed.

While having the declination of the Moon a bit too high
to fit my Dob's line of sight through the observatory
window might seem a disappointment, the binocular view
was beautiful -- just as for the 1997 and 2003 eclipses
which I watched from outside.

And then there is a certain special charm of being able
to observe this kind of astronomical event from the
interior precincts of one's own abode.

Most appreciatively,

Margo Schulter
Lat. 38.566 Long. -121.430