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Television comic Jon Culshaw photographs ‘blood moon’ lunar eclipse

Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society took shots near Hampstead Heath on Monday

24 January, 2019 — By Tom Foot

The images were stitched together by Hampstead Snappy Snaps

HEAVY cloud ruined stargazers’ chances of catching a clear view of the “blood moon” in the early hours of Monday morning.

But that didn’t stop Jon Culshaw taking these striking snaps of the lunar eclipse using just a mobile phone and a telescopic eye-piece.

The television comedian and impersonator was standing in total darkness near Hampstead Heath with Kevin McNulty, another Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Mr McNulty said “cloud is the curse of astronomy”, adding: “We were only using red lights to guide us around which do not remove the purple pigment that adapts the eyes. It is part of our ancient human hunting at night mechanism.

“Things were going OK with the cloud being a bit blotchy, so some nice gaps, but sadly with around 30 minutes to go before the Moon starts to go red-orange, the cloud turned into a carpet with no gaps and started descending as fog. We hung on in hope, but gave up around 6am.”

Unfortunately, fog obscured the moment the moon was completely obscured – and the final image in the sequence had to be provided by a fellow astronomer who was watching from the south coast.

Staff at Snappy Snaps in Hampstead stitched the photos together for the astronomers who are regulars at the Hampstead Observatory near White Stone Pond, but which is currently closed because of dry rot.

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