The Stunning Jerusalem Blood Moon

On September 28, 2015 by Oren and Cassie

Considering the fact that the next blood moon is nearly 20 years away and I have absolutely no patience for that sort of waiting, it seemed like a good idea to wake up painfully early to photograph the Jerusalem blood moon in all of its astronomical glory. It was absolutely worth it.

I set up with my coworkers on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem and in perfect position to photograph the moon as it arched its way over the holy sites. The timing wasn’t perfect here, because the moon would just about be setting as the blood moon hit full color, so there wasn’t much room for error between perfect picture and missed opportunity. We made the most of it.


I stepped out onto our balcony the night before the Jerusalem blood moon to get the settings right on my camera. I had no idea how much time I had to play with, so I wanted to make it count. I snapped a few pictures until I finally got my settings right. It surprised me quite a bit how bright the moon was and how fast I had to set my shutter speed to get good detail. Here’s my trial:

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Now the only thing left to do was to wake up at 3:30am and drive to the Mount of Olives. We arrived fairly early and quickly realized we were not the only ones to have this idea. At first it was only a few dozen tourists, but then it became a rather loud mass of hundreds of tourists, religious people, and astronomy enthusiasts crowding the area, angling for the best shot. A little bit after 4am, the lunar eclipse began, slowly at first, but it was stunning.

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As the last sliver of bright moon slipped into the earth’s shadow, the blood moon became visible over the Old City of Jerusalem. It was absolutely awesome to behold (and required me to completely change my camera settings since the brightness was way different than the full moon brightness).

With each passing minute, the moon become brighter and redder as it edged towards the haze and the horizon. As the first bits of light peaked through behind us, the entire sky turned a deep blue, adding to the entire experience.

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I stitched together all the shots I have of the Jerusalem blood moon to put together this panorama:


And finally, the stunning blood moon over the Old City of Jerusalem. This is what we’d been waiting for the entire night, or, more accurately, the entire morning.

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This picture made it all worth it. My coworker pulled out a little camping stove, boiled some water, and made us all tea. We swapped stories, compared photos, and started counting down until the next such blood moon. In 2033.

See you there!

And if these photos aren’t enough, check out more here!


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