LETTER: College captures the lunar eclipse

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Dr Igor Zharkov of Ardingly College Observatory and five members of its Astronomy Club, former pupils now studying astrophysics and science subjects at university, observed and photographed the lunar eclipse throughout the night on Monday September 28.

The astronomers used a new 14” Meade telescope on a EQ8 Pro equatorial mount. The images were acquired with 2 Canon 500 and 700D DSLR cameras. One of them was attached to a 4” apochromatic refractor and the other one had a 200 mm telephoto lens.

Nikki Miller controlled two cameras so that images were taken at regular intervals and with proper exposure and sensitivity settings. Philip Binns and Henry Hinder monitored the Earth’s shadow on the surface of the moon through the main telescope. James Price and Dr Zharkov looked after the camera attached to the refractor during critical stage of the eclipse.

Images and other data obtained by the team will be used by younger members of the Astronomy Club to measure the size of the Earth’s shadow and some of the most interesting features of the lunar surface.

Dr Zharkov said: “The highlight of the night was the lunar eclipse full phase during which the myriads of stars suddenly re-appeared from behind the curtains of the moonlight and dazzled us with majestically beautiful patterns across the sky. The Milky Way looked stunning and to further celebrate the event several meteors whizzed across the darkened sky.”

Helen Madaras

Ardingly College, Haywards Heath

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