Staying awake to snap partial lunar eclispe

PHILLIP SCOTT | Courtesy photoPhillip Scott took this photo in the Friday morning darkness of the partial lunar eclipse, using a camera mounted to a telescope at his home near Kiowa. 

Phillip Scott knows the value of patience.

That's why he got up in the middle of the night and stood in freezing temperatures so he could photograph a partial lunar eclipse visible in the Friday morning darkness.

"It was cold," Scott said. "I took the photo at 3:02 a.m."

Scott is a retired science and astronomy teacher, as well as a former McAlester Public Schools Teacher of the Year. He has his own OKSky observatory he built near Kiowa.

He didn't use it when shooting the partial lunar eclipse early Friday, though. He said he took the photo while standing outside with a camera mounted to a refractor telescope with an 80 millimeter lens set at F7.

"It's a two-second image," Scott said.

The partial lunar eclipse visible early Friday was the longest in centuries.

"This was the longest eclipse in 600 years," Scott said. "It was about three and a-half hours. They are normally about three hours."

Scott noted an eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the earth's shadow. He called this eclipse a partial lunar eclipse, because while 99% of the moon's surface was obscured by the earth's shadow, about 1% of the moon's surface remained visible around the rim.

During the eclipse, the moon appeared to be blood red from Scott's vantage point on earth.

"Our atmosphere tended to scatter the blue end of the spectrum," he said. "That left more of the red light to pass through the earth's atmosphere."

Scoot said it was worth getting up in the middle of the night and standing in the freezing cold off and on for about four hours to get the photograph he wanted. While it wasn't the most spectacular partial lunar eclipse he's ever seen, he still rates it highly.

"It was a nice one," said Scott.   

Contact James Beaty at


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