You don’t see a Super Blue Blood Moon very often over Tracy. In fact it has been about 152 years since the last time that happened.

A celestial trifecta, a supermoon, blue moon and blood moon hung in the western sky in the early morning hours of January 31.

A supermoon — when the moon reaches it’s closest distance to Earth during it’s orbit, a blue moon — the second full moon in a month and a blood moon — a total lunar eclipse that sends a red cast across the moon surface as it enters the Earth’s shadow all coincided sending stargazers, photographers and curious residents into the chilly early morning air.

The shadow touched the moon’s surface just before 4 a.m. sending a dark path across the moon’s disk. Later the shadow reflecting dirt and particles in the air cast a red hue across the moon as it reached totality just before 5 a.m. The moon would slip out of the Earth’s shadow after it set below the horizon.

My Canon Eos 5 D MK III with its full-frame sensor was the camera of choice. I used a 300mm f.4.0 telephoto, occasionally adding a 1.4 tele extender. As the moon reached totality in the lunar eclipse I removed the extender to gain the extra stop. The camera was mounted on my Induro tripod and ball head and triggered by a Canon wired remote shutter release. Eclipse pictures were taken in live view mode with critical focusing done in zoomed live view.

A light cloud haze cropped up in some of the early shadow pictures but as the moon sank toward the horizon it left the haze and gave a clear view of the red cast. in the dimmed moonlight stars could be seen behind the now red orb.

Apart from a lack of sleep to catch the eclipse it was a great time. The next total lunar eclipse that will be visible in North America will be January 19 2019. I’m marking my calendar for it now.