SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Night owls and early birds alike were treated to a spectacle in the sky Wednesday morning.
There was a supermoon, when the moon is at its closest point to earth at the same time it is a full moon. Alongside the supermoon, there was a total lunar eclipse, when the sun and moon occupy precise positions on opposite sides of the earth.
One Sioux Falls-based astrophotographer sent KELOLAND News his photos of the eclipse. You can see Tony Wilber’s photos in a slideshow below.
This was Wilber’s first time taking photos of an eclipse, but the date was marked on his calendar for a few months. He and a friend drove west of Sioux Falls at 3:30 a.m. and found a good flat spot.
“It was super cool,” Wilber said. “We slowly just watched the shadow move across for about two hours. It was pretty wild.”
He used his camera, a tripod with a 10-pound weight to hold it steady and a telescope.
“It’s a small telescope relative to what’s out there but it’s good for moon shots,” Wilber said.
According to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, most of western South Dakota was able to witness a total eclipse, while eastern South Dakota witnessed a partial eclipse.
At the end of the eclipse, Wilber said the sun was rising on one side of the horizon, while the moon was setting on the other.
A wedding proposal leads to a new hobby
Wilber, a Washington High School grad, said he’s always been interested in space. But has only recently embraced the hobby of astrophotography.
He said he came upon astrophotography while coming up with proposal ideas for his now wife. Wilber reached out to another South Dakota photographer — Aaron Groen — to help execute his perfect wedding proposal.
Groen snapped what Wilber called his “favorite photo ever.” It’s Wilber one one knee proposing to Tessa next to Lake Hanson, with the glow of the stars in the background.
“I thought it would be really cool to propose under the stars,” said Wilber, who was taught the basics of astrophotography by Groen. “From there I looked into more and did some research. I bought my first camera and lens and started doing it, trial and error. We’re blessed with dark skies out in South Dakota so you don’t have to go too far for some cool shots.”
With his first eclipse photos behind him, Wilber said he’s looking to continue to upgrade his equipment to take more deep space photos. He said he’s looking to buy a tracker that will allow for longer exposures from his camera.
Wilber has more photos of astronomical objects in the South Dakota sky on his Instagram page at astro_tonywilber.