Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Moonwalkers-December Eclipse Edition

This past Saturday was our monthly moonwalkers outing. For this month it was a special 5:00am adventure. Generally moonwalkers occurs in the evening beginning with a meal and moving on to the walk itself. This month it just happened that there was to be a lunar eclipse in the wee-hours of 4:00am-6:00am. With that in mind we decided as a group to move moonwalkers to the morning at 5:00am.

My mom is here from Minnesota so she was especially excited to have the opportunity to not only go on a moonwalkers outing but to witness the lunar eclipse. For me this was going to be a busy day as moonwalkers was an early outing ad immediately after that was Drop and Shop a youth fundraiser event which went from 9:00am-4:00pm. It was going to be a long day.

I awoke at 4:00am, ran around the house to round up everything I would need for the day and then dressed to the weather fully equipped with multiple layers, wool socks, and my favorite cuddl duds. We walked up the hill to the car and could already see the moon in the beginning stages of the eclipse.

I snap a few pictures before realizing that I will need my tripod to get a real good shot. Lucky for me the tripod takes only a few seconds to set up. As quickly as I set up, I had it put away as I did not want to be late to meet with the rest of the moonwalkers group.
Even with the tripod the 8 second exposure has movement from when I press the button...I must invest in a remote

As we arrived at the Wacker’s (the house of meeting for this month), there were telescopes and cameras already set up. I too want to get some shots so I set my camera up and experimented with the aperture, and exposure to find that 8 seconds seems to be the right length. My mom wanders over to Mike Husband as he has brought with one of his telescopes to see up close what is going on thousands of miles away.

Eclipse, and the guide wire

The dogs are all on standby eagerly awaiting the hike to begin, with tails all wagging. This month’s canine friends include Bonnie, Noofy, Juno, Chena, Sig, and Ike. As intriguing as the moon is we decided to start down the trail as it was cold just to stand around.

The moon is now 100% black, Mike explains how only we on North America can see this now. We actually will catch the total Eclipse two times because of our latitude. The dogs have no trouble with the dark but we just follow the red blinking lights of the dogs collars. It is now about 6:00am pitch dark, and it’s is as if we are the only 15 people on the planet. No light, no noise just us and the world God created I can faintly make out the bark on the Birch trees off the trail maybe 15 feet away, but not really it is more of a sense of density of the trees verses the night air than actual sight.
99% covered, the lines are the guide wires

The ground below my feet is very uneven, as last week we had thaw and it refroze complete with ruts and imprints underneath. We stopped to set up tripods again. I once again set up my camera on the tripod as Mike sets up his telescope.
catching a glimpse of the moon
Heading back, telescopes and all

The moon is still 80-90% covered so the dark is predominate. I took close to seventy pictures and joked that I could make a flip book. We opt to return back to the Wackers.

Inside we had a great breakfast. We chat about next month’s moon walk. Mike can figure out where exactly the moon will be, at what time, and what degree in the sky to ensure we see the moon at our next location as the mountains sometimes get in the way. Then he calculates where we can walk so that a Mountain is not in the way of the moons light. He is so precise to ensure that we have a perfect walk.

The morning was just lovely, but as fast as I consume my breakfast I urge mom to finish as we must get to church for a huge day of Drop & Shop

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