21.01.2019 – Total lunar eclipse

Observation report: Also the total lunar eclipse of the year 2019 was a really wonderful one, even for me it wasn’t that nice as I hoped because some days before I got sick by a flu. Therefore I was able to enjoy just some shorter time of the eclipse. At this point many thanks to my brother who took most of the pictures you can find below this report. The winter finally arrived also here in the west of Germany and the lunar eclipse started with weather conditions of -7 degrees and dry cold air. That was really important for the equipment because more moist air would have caused horrible icing for sure and would have been prevent to took these wonderful pictures. Even with this frosty air there was also frostwork on the outside of telescopes and cameras, but the lenses most of the time were free. The most positive effect of this weather conditions was of course that there wasn’t any chance some cloud could have been appeared. Due to the flu I just stayed outside some more minutes during the totality, of course dressed like an astronaut with really good winter clothes. Such weather conditions with a lunar eclipse I really never had before but I am really happy that all worked well and that this was another amazing lunar eclipse we can remember back now.

The first images were taken at about 4.42 am, about 9 minutes after the beginning of the partial eclipse. The umbra of the Earth was already clearly visible. It’s always just amazing, when all the phases of the moon which you see usually during a half month are happening in just about one hour until the totality starts. The partial eclipse continued and the moon waned more and more. While that already shortly after 5 am there was the red colour of the moon visible on pictures, which were made by longer exposure time. At 5.30 am it remained just a narrow part of the moon being lightened up directly by the sun because until the start of the totality there were just about 10 minutes left. Here the first wonderful images were possible with the ruddy moon the stars around. At 5.36 am there was just a very narrow part on the moon with direct sunlight and alongside these the beautiful and special color with a mix of purple and blue appeared. I was able to capture and observe it also during the last total lunar eclipses and have to say, that this moment is together with totality one of my favorite moments.  

Perfectly on time at 5.40 am, of course about these topics there are never any delays, the totality had started and the moon appeared without any direct sunlight in a breathtaking and just beautiful ruddy colour. It was easily visible, that todays lunar eclipse was a brighter one than the last one in summer 2018. With the unaided eye the moon was shining in a bright-ruddy colour between some visible stars, also really nice with the surrounding buildings and trees. With a height of little more than 20° above the horizon the height was very comfortable to observe and to enjoy. During the totality, which I followed also some time outside with my clothes I bought for my past travel to Northern Norway in winter, it was time to search for some good motives for the red moon. Because the observation did take place in the garden the possibilities weren’t that much, but I think we were able to find some good ones. Of course it’s also important, to take some time to just look up towards that wonderful moon and to enjoy it then. It’s always a very special moment to see that ruddy moon, together with the surroundings and the stars. Different to the last summer, it was also a little bit more easy to spot the dimmed moon through the telescope.

Already at about 6.25 am the upper right edge of the moon started to get a little brighter – a sign, that the totality will come to an end soon. This narrow area got more and more bright and while that, some more wonderful pictures were taken in combination with the ruddy colour. Punctually at about 6.43 am the first direct sunlight lightened up this upper right part of the moon again, also just a great moment to observe. The partial eclipse of course also was followed then while some more pictures were taken. Sometimes through the telescopes or simply with the cameras. At about 7.51 am the moon gone down  behind some houses, perfectly on time for the end of the partial eclipse.

The lesson is clear: It was a special and very beautiful total lunar eclipse !





General information about the total lunar eclipse of 21st January 2019


After that wonderful lunar eclipse on the 27th July 2018 finally now the next total lunar eclipse is already near because it will be on 21st January 2019. This time the observation conditions are better and it’s a lunar eclipse which is kind of easy to observe. The partial eclipse with start at an height of 34° above the horizon and will end at about 5°. Therefore the main phase of this total lunar eclipse is comfortably visible above the horizon. The total phase with the copper full moon at totality will start here at about 5.40 am when the moon will be about 24,5° above the horizon. The middle of totality will be reached at 6.12 am. With a brightness of -1,9 magnitude this lunar eclipse could be expected as a little brighter one with a nice copper colour due totality. At this point the moon will be still about 20° above the horizon and with this height it’s possible that some buildings may interrupt the observation from some places. The total phase of this eclipse will end here at 6.43 am where the moon is 15° above the horizon. Until 7.51 am we will be able to follow the partial phase until the moon is full again.

Tipp: This total lunar eclipse will happen at very comfortable height above the horizon. The height at the beginning of 34° and at the end 5° will be perfect to take some wonderful pictures of the cupper and partial moon together with building, trees or other objects of interest. 

Additional information:  The lunar eclipse is with a total length of 63 minutes a quiet normal total lunar eclipse. The total length of the partial eclipse will be 197 minutes. This time no other interesting objects like for example planets are nearby the moon.


Table with times for the total lunar eclipse for Bergheim at Germany, 21st January 2019:
04:33 Uhr:            Beginning of the partial eclipse   (height ~34°, WSW)
05:40 Uhr:            Beginning of the totality   (height ~24,5°, W)
06:12 Uhr:             Maximum totality, middle of the lunar eclipse   (height: ~ 19,7°, W)
06:43 Uhr:             Ending of the totality   (height: ~15°, WNW)
07:51 Uhr:             Ending of the partial eclipse   (height: ~5°, WNW)

Author: Frank Rinas