Or the full lunar eclipse.
Just a few nights ago, I prepared all my gear, threw it in the car and headed towards Germany to a dark sky location nearly 300 kilometers away.
I knew which region to go to, near Hellenthal in the beautiful Eifel, but I still had to find a suitable spot to set up. I wanted to be high up so I could follow the moon a little longer while it disappeared behind the horizon, and of course I needed a completely clear view of the West, which is where it would set just after completing the eclipse.
I found my spot. Just following my gut and driving my front wheel drive car onto quite steep snow covered dirt trails. It took me almost 10 minutes to get the car parked in reverse and clear the road I was on… it just kept slip-sliding away. I’ll prepared maybe?
By 1:00 AM I was all set up. Canon EOS 5D Mark II with the Samyang 14mm ED wide angle lens on a tripod, framed to catch the moon during the entire event and some beautiful landscape serving as a backdrop.
And then, right next to it, my scope setup. Skywatcher 200mm with a 1000mm focal length on a Skywatcher EQ6R Pro mount. Motorized focuser, and a full spectrum modded Canon EOS 600D with coma corrector. Ready.
It was cold. At the time of shooting the first photo, Astro Photography Tool on the laptop registered 6 degrees Celsius below zero from the USB dongle on the laptop. By early morning temperatures had dropped to 12 below zero. Luckily, there was no wind at all and humidity was really low, so the cold temperatures were survivable. Besides, I could warm my hands and feet in the car every now and then.
The eclipse itself was an amazing event to experience. Everything around went really dark, while just minutes earlier I had been in a moonlit winter wonderland where the snow sparkled like I was in the middle of a sea of diamonds.
I honestly expected the Blood Moon to be brighter. It wasn’t. It was quite dark. Still gorgeous, but different from what I had expected. The skies around it were clear as glass and it had been a long time since I was able to see so many starts. And I don’t think I have been able to observe the Milky Way as clear as that night, ever before.
Next one is up for 2028. At least up here. I leave you with the images.