Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Moonlight Snowshoeing - Featherstonehaugh State Forest

I'd been hoping for the past month that my moonlight snowshoe trip for this month would fall on a clear night on February 20th, the night of the lunar eclipse. Earlier in the week, and even as late as this morning. the forecast had been for 60% cloudiness until well after midnight, so I had called the one interested party and cancelled. By 5pm, the sky was clear, and I scrambled to try and pull the trip back together. One additional person had expressed interest, and was available on short notice, so off we went.

As we started walking, just before 9pm, the first hints of a shadow were beginning to appear, but the woods were exceptionally bright with the full moon and snow. And the stars were incredible out there away from the city lights. We walked for almost an hour, stopping occasionally to look through binoculars and take pictures, and reached a clearing just before 10pm, where we stood and watched totality begin. The 15 minutes back to the car from there were in much darker woods, and we actually needed a light to guide our way. The temperature had also dropped to 10F, so we were glad to reach the car and get the heat blasting. Spectacular night.

When I got home, I dragged out the telescope and tried (and failed) to capture the end of totality. In fact, I got no usable pictures at all from the entire night. The Albany Area Amateur Astronomers got a pretty good shot at their event at the Schenectady Museum.

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