Lunar eclipse and my new camera

I got up early this morning to watch the lunar eclipse. In Denmark only partial eclipse was visible since the moon went down already at around 7:40 UTC where I live. Unfortunately, it was cloudy so I didn’t even see the partial eclipse. Too bad because it seems that my new Fuji HS10 camera with 30x optical zoom is quite well suited for taking photos of the moon without any telescope. I took this photo of the full moon yesterday evening while trying to find some proper settings for capturing the eclipse

Full Moon (cropped)

Not bad for a 500€ camera, is it? More photos here. I got the camera about a week and I didn’t have much time to get acquainted with it so I expect the pictures will improve as time goes.

The camera has some pretty neat high speed video recording modes which was one of the reasons I bought it.

The solar eclipse of July 11 – as seen by AO-51

On July 11, 2010, a total solar eclipse could be observed in the southern Pacific Ocean. During the eclipse, the AO-51 amateur radio satellite was entering daylight, coming in over South America.

When AO-51 enters daylight the solar arrays start charging the batteries. This can be observed in the telemetry as a sudden increase of the current from the solar arrays. This time; however, a sudden drop in the current was observed shortly after the current started to increase, see the graph below.

The time and place where this unexpected drop occurred suggested that the satellite might have experienced the solar eclipse that was about to happen over the southern Pacific. It was Masa san, JN1GKZ, who noticed this and reported it on the AMSAT BB where after Mark, N8MH sent out the telemetry graph shown above.

A quick simulation using the Celestia space simulator confirmed that this was indeed the case. The video below shows how it may have looked like from the satellite.

Watch on Youtube or download H.264 encoded .mov file (~100MB).

You can try it for yourself. Celestia is available as free download from – it’s a great space simulator for demonstration and educational purpose. You will have to add the data for the satellite. You can use my data to begin with, download from here:

Unpack the file to the “extras” folder of Celestia, start the program and find AO-51 (type ENTER, AO-51, ENTER, then press “g” to go to the satellite). Enjoy!