I would normally be posting photos from our long stay in Yellowstone NP, but that will follow a bit later. We have moved on to Capital Reef National Park in Utah, and it was here that I perched myself on some high ground and watched the recent lunar eclipse as the moon rose above a distant mountain range. Capital Reef NP has been designated as an international dark-sky area, and it was magical to be where I was with only a couple from California to keep me company and watch the celestial show unfold.
While the lunar eclipse was the headliner for the evening, the warm-up acts were pretty stunning as well. As the night came on in earnest, and the moon moved to a stage of total eclipse, an incredible display of stars appeared, with the Milky Way a band of sparkling light overhead. The Milky Way was the centerpiece, but the rest of the sky was filled with stars as well. As we scanned the dark night, we were treated to a number of shooting stars, one whose path was near the moon itself. The evening was so clear that we could even see the International Space Station moving across the sky. And when my new friends from California made their way back down the mountain, I was left alone to view the conclusion of the show. At around 2215, when the eclipse had finally run its course, I packed up my camera equipment, turned on my headlamp, and began the trek back down the mountain to my car. Toad was the only car remaining in the very remote parking area.
Below are a series of photos that capture the progression of the lunar eclipse throughout the evening. I was fortunate that it was a very clear night, with the moon only somewhat obstructed by a cloud bank as the eclipse approached totality. But the moon rose through this bank and the show continued in all its grandeur. I had wanted to put this slide show to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but I wasn’t sure about the whole copyright-infringement wrinkle, so I would suggest that if you have it on an MP3 player, that you cue it up, put on your headphones, and transport yourself to that mountain top with me.
Click on photos to open gallery in Flickr –