Total Lunar Eclipse over Huckleberry Mountain


"An eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth's shadow. The shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer shadow or penumbra is a zone where Earth blocks some (but not all) of the Sun's rays. In contrast, the inner shadow or umbra is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon."NASA

The moon, in its various stages, is a powerful part of the night sky. And the rare occurrence of a total lunar eclipse is a special sight to behold. Unfortunately for many people living in cities or towns of any size, the electrical lights in those towns have overpowered the night sky and sadly lessened the impact of observing a lunar eclipse.

lunar eclipse, Glacier National Park © Shawn Coggins

The horizontal series of the total lunar eclipse starts at 6:55 pm and ends at 10:13 pm. The larger images start at 6:53 pm and end at 10:13 pm. There are nine images of the total lunar eclipse as it progresses through the night sky over Glacier National Park in northwest Montana.

This location one quarter mile east mile of the intersection of the North Fork Road with Camus Road, on the snow covered Camus Road, provided me with an excellent dark sky. This spot in Glacier National Park is at the junction of two mountain valleys. You can get a better idea of the isolation of this location by selecting the Terrain Button when looking at this Google Map. The first part of the eclipse was taken about one hundred yards east of the North Fork River on the snow covered Camus Road. The second part was taken one hundred yards west of the North Fork River. (I was getting cold and the moon was well above the horizon)

The lunar eclipse is available as individual prints or a progression of the eclipse. Huckleberry Mountain was on my wish list as a possible hike this summer it had been near the bottom of my wish list, now it is on the top, well it took me four years before I got up to Huckleberry Lookout. The winter of 2015 will need to put together a page for that hike. Ended up hiking to Huckleberry Lookout the day after the floods on the GTSR closed the highway during the summer of 2012. Print orders have started to come in so it will be next week until I can tweak these images. A canvas print of the eclipse series will be on display at The Walking Man Gallery in Whitefish, Montana. This display started on May 1, 2008 as part of Whitefish, Montana's First Thursday art walk.

This is how the moon appeared the day before the lunar eclipse, from the North Fork Road just above the intersection with the Camas Road.

All lunar eclipse photographs were taken with a Canon 20D digital SLR camera equipped with a 100 ~ 400mm telescopic zoom lens with a 2X converter attached, plus a heavy tripod equipped with a ball head. This gear was carried in my backpack while slogging through the crusty, knee deep snow covering Camas Road. The next total eclipse is December 21, 2010.

"The umbra is the part of Earth’s shadow where the Sun is blocked completely. So why does the eclipsed Moon glow deep orange or red, rather than being blacked out? The answer is amazing. The red light you'll see on the Moon comes from all the sunrises and sunsets that are occurring around Earth at the time. Our atmosphere scatters and refracts (bends) the sunlight that grazes the rim of our globe, sending some of it into Earth’s shadow."
Sky and Telescope

eclipse series

The last time I was able to shoot an entire total lunar eclipse was in October of 2004 with about 45 minutes of warning. Literally moments after returning from camping for two weeks in Yellowstone I learned of the total lunar eclipse that was set to occur that night. For this eclipse I was able to check on the location of the moon rising over Glacier National Park the day prior to the eclipse.

wildflower book cover

Available on iBooks

slow hiker's guide™ Glacier National Park Wildflowers

Link to Whitefish Pilot article on my wildflower guide.