I packed up only one extra eyepiece –the great antique scope has a wonderful low-power ocular that presents the entire lunar disk– and bundled myself up. It was a c-o-l-d night!
As the eclipse was getting underway a freshly-cleared sky began to cloud up. A thin layer of cloudiness obscured all detail from the Moon just as Earth's shadow was taking a good chunk out. And a little snow fell through the dome slit! Gad! Just as I was beginning to give up hope, however, the sky quickly cleared and we had good seeing for the rest of the night!
The view of the Moon through the 9-inch refractor was typically spectacular. Even the full Moon looks great through that scope with its fist-sized eyepiece. During the partial phase of the eclipse, however, there was a time when the lunar limb was relatively bright, the central portion of the disk was bluish, and the dark shadowed region took on a reddish hue. Quite beautiful. During totality the Moon took on a pale coppery color; it was not a particularly colorful eclipse. Impressive and beautiful, nonetheless.
In all more than 44 visitors came into the observatory — there were probably more but people were coming in to look through the telescope and going out to enjoy the sky with their own eyes … they were getting into the event!
The last visitors left at around 11 PM and I was finally free to try some photos. A little too late, however, to get the shot I wanted… looking at the Moon along the telescope and through the dome. The Moon had already brightened to the point that I couldn't balance the exposure. It's a nice photo anyway and I'll use it for some things, it's just not the picture I had imagined. It was getting late and my feet and hands were getting cold –it was 18 degrees F. in the dome– so I closed up and went home.
A very good night of eclipse watching.