January 2019 total lunar eclipse

This eclipse is best seen by the inhabitants of the western hemisphere, where there will be a deep night. But over Europe morning twilight will already begin at that time and it will be possible to observe how the moon sits behind the horizon during eclipse. It is a negative that we will skip the final phase of the eclipse.


Eclipse during moonset.
September 28, 2015
17mm (crop), f/11, 1/100s, ISO 200

But it is good that the Moon will look much more spectacular close to the horizon, it will be possible to make unique photos.


Eclipse during moonset.
September 28, 2015
200mm (crop), f/4, 1/100s, ISO 250

At this time, the Moon will be very close to Earth and will be 14% larger than at the most distant point of its orbit. This called Super Moon. But this is just a loud name, everything will look as usual and you will not feel a significant difference. But the Eclipse of the Super Moon is a rare event, and this is another reason to wake up early in the morning on January 21 and look at the sky.

The timing of eclipse (UTC) and best exposures for every phase:

2:36 UT – beginning of penumbral phase ( f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100)

3:33 UT – beginning of partial phase ( f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100)

4:41 UT – beginning of total phase ( f/2.8, 4s, ISO 1250)

5:13 UT – greatest eclipse ( f/2.8, 5s, ISO 1600)

5:43 UT – end of total phase

Duration of total phase is 62 minutes. Do not forget to specify when the Moon will set in your locality, because this time will be very different depending on the longitude.

The main thing is clear sky, of course. In the winter months, unfortunately, this happens rarely. In addition, you can try to track the forecasts for the day before the event, to find out where the clouds are likely to go there. So I did in September 2015 and successfully photographed my first lunar eclipse.

If this eclipse is observed from Eastern Europe, the full phase will already be on the illuminated twilight sky and it will not be possible to see and photograph the Milky Way and other deep sky objects as well as it was at deep night.


Schematic telephoto landscape view of total lunar eclipse of January 21, 2019 on 50°N in Europe

The moon will be located in the constellation of Cancer. The Beehive cluster (M44) and the two brightest stars of Gemini (Castor and Pollux) will be close by.


Schematic wide angle landscape view of total lunar eclipse of January 21, 2019 on 50°N in Europe

To the north, low above the horizon, there will be a bright star Capella, and in the west, a little higher, there will be a constellation of Leo. On the opposite side of the sky, where morning twilght will burn, Venus and Jupiter will rise together. This does not apply to the eclipse, but you should not overlook this view if there is a good weather. And the conjunction of these planets will be in a day, January 22.

The next total lunar eclipse from Europe will be visible only in September 2025, so do not miss your chance!

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