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How to Photograph a Total Lunar Eclipse (A Moon Photo Guide)

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2008

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

Photographers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2003

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

The moon's vivid, reddish-orange color during totality is caused by sunlight that is refracted (bent) by our atmosphere around the edge of Earth and cast into the planet's shadow. This view of the Nov. 8, 2003, total lunar eclipse was captured by Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre with an 8-inch f/10 Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and a Nikon Coolpix 990 digital point-and-shoot camera. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Afocal Projection

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

Imelda Joson demonstrates how the afocal projection technique is done using an iPhone 6 and the Swarovski spotting scope that she uses for bird-watching. This is the exact setup used to capture the accompanying photo of the first-quarter moon. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2003 2

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

Even when the moon was coming out of eclipse on Nov. 8, 2003, the portion that remained immersed in the umbra was still glowing deep red as seen in this exposure. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2004

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

This is how the partial phase of the eclipse appears as the umbra glides across the lunar disk. Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre obtained this snapshot of the umbra covering about half of the moon's surface on Oct. 28, 2004, using an 8-inch f/10 Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and a Nikon Coolpix 990 digital point-and-shoot camera. The exposure time was 1/500 second at ISO 400. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2004 2

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

Here’s another view of the Oct. 28, 2004, eclipse as totality was about to begin. Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre used the same setup as in the previous photo, but they increased the exposure time to 1 second to reveal the moon's deep ruddy color. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2004 3

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

The moon at mid-eclipse on Oct. 28, 2004. The exposure time was 4 seconds at ISO 400. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2004 4

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

The moon is seen here about halfway into exiting Earth's umbral shadow on Oct. 28, 2004. Due to the moon's increasing brightness, the exposure time was cut down to 1/500 second to avoid overexposing the moon. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

First-Quarter Moon 2015

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

Today's new generation of smartphone cameras are capable of taking stunning photos of the moon. Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre captured this view of the first-quarter moon on July 24 of this year using an iPhone 6 (handheld) to shoot through the eyepiece of a tripod-mounted Swarovski 80-mm spotting scope at 60× magnification. The iPhone 6's iSight camera features a five-element, f/2.2 lens and an 8-megapixel sensor (with 1.5-micron picture elements). Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Waxing Gibbous Moon 2015

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

This portrait of the waxing gibbous moon on Wednesday (Sept. 23) — only four days before the total eclipse — was snapped by Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre from their driveway. They used the same iPhone 6 and Swarovski spotting scope combination as in the previous lunar image. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

Airplane Trail 1

Imelda B. Joson and Edwin L. Aguirre

If you live near a major airport, commercial jets passing overhead can sometimes lead to unintended photo bloopers. Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre were busy photographing the Feb. 20, 2008, total lunar eclipse when a plane approaching Boston's Logan Airport passed right in front of the moon, its navigation lights leaving bright trails during the 1-second-long exposure. Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: See our complete Blood Moon coverage.

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