An amateur Greater Victoria photographer caught the exact moment a comet slammed into last week’s ‘super blood wolf’ moon, causing a small flash visible from Earth. Conan Chee, a businessman and owner of a popular Facebook photography page, filmed the eclipse using a three-foot lens, from the back of his house.
“I sat on my deck for about two hours, everything was frosty. I set up the video and once the moon had moved from one corner to the other of the screen, I would shoot a few stills and then re-set my position. I got about 10 videos total.”
During one of these videos, Chee inadvertently captured the impact flash, which University of Huelva astrophysicist Jose Maria Madiedo believes was the first ever seen during a lunar eclipse.
“Later, I saw an article mentioning a lunar impact and thought 8.41pm our time? I should check my videos!” Conan remembers.
“The flash is so fast, its a quick stroke at 6 o’clock on the face of the moon.”
Conan took up photography a few years ago to relax and he quickly became prolific, taking photos almost every night and weekend. He has shot video and stills all over the Saanich Peninsula, with the fish market being a favourite backdrop. But the night sky is where Chee often finds his greatest inspiration - the Northern Lights, a clear Milky Way and especially blood moons.
“I’ve always had a fascination with them, I like how they’re all red and creepy.”
Many of the comments on Chee’s pictures of the blood moon have praised him for the creative perspective he lends his videos and photos, including his decision to make the stages of the eclipse into a labelled picture.
“I knew the moon was going to be really high and in totality at about 8:50 p.m., so I decided to do the stages of the moon in a diagram. Everyone else would film the whole moon and sky, composing a landscape. I wanted people to be able to see it from a different point of view.”
Chee has been buoyed by the positive reaction to his photos and videos, as his ultimate ambition is to be a professional photographer for National Geographic.
“As an event it was pretty amazing. The positive comments have helped, they give me that drive.”
– With files from the Canadian Press