A lunar eclipse time-lapse

A total lunar eclipse was visible from large parts of the world on 27-28 September 2015: a supermoon lunar eclipse, no less, since it occurred while the Moon was in the part of its elliptical orbit that takes it closest to Earth. Norbert Heinz, aka HomoFaciens, made a time-lapse film of the event using his Raspberry Pi and camera module together with a 100-300mm zoom lens.

lunar eclipse 2015 recorded with a Raspberry Pi camera module

Table of Contents: 00:16 Connecting the camera to a zoom lens 02:20 First shot of the full moon 03:06 Entering the umbra 06:36 Leaving the umbra 08:14 Plane before moon The project page: http://www.homofaciens.de/technics-miscellaneous-lunar-eclipse-2015_en_navion.htm

Norbert’s narration takes you through how he prepared his set-up, which required a bit of modification to the camera board, and discusses its limitations. As we’ve come to expect with his projects, you can also watch a German-language version.

The video shows the eerie, inky shadow of Earth creeping across the face of the Moon, and towards the end of his recording, Norbert captured some very pleasing shots of a passenger jet crossing the field of view. He didn’t succeed in picking the correct combination of values for light sensitivity, aperature and exposure time to record the Moon’s surface in the Earth’s umbra, so the video doesn’t show the reddish glow of the blood moon (he intends to upgrade his kit before the next time he tries this, in 2018). However, f varas-genestier captured some lovely images of a 2014 lunar eclipse with his low-cost Pi + Pi camera build, so it certainly can be done. [Edited to add: François Varas tells us that these Moon photographs weren’t in fact taken during an eclipse. We’re sorry; we were led astray by the way they were referenced elsewhere on the web. They’re still lovely photos, though, François!]

Meanwhile, forum member “mntmst” had a completely different project for the lunar eclipse. They describe a very interesting experiment they undertook with their children to investigate changes in the moonlight during the eclipse, using a Raspberry Pi, seven solar panels, an ADC and an original Gertboard. The information and images they’ve shared, and their results, are well worth a look.

If you’d like to try out a lunar photography set-up similar to Norbert’s, you’ll find useful information in his project pages, available in both English and German. But if you’re new to the camera module, a good place to start is with the time-lapse set-up worksheet in our Resources section. These projects are a great way to achieve really appealing results with a simple set-up, and their variations are limited only by your imagination.