SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Night owls and early risers were treated to a show in the sky on Wednesday morning.
There was a super moon, when the moon is at its closest point to the earth at the same time it is a full moon. Along with the super moon, there has been a total lunar eclipse, when the sun and moon occupy precise positions on opposite sides of the earth.
A Sioux Falls-based astrophotographer sent KELOLAND News his photos of the eclipse. You can see Tony Wilber’s photos in a slideshow below.
It was Wilber’s first time taking pictures of an eclipse, but the date was stamped on his calendar for a few months. He and a friend drove west to Sioux Falls at 3:30 am and found a good flat spot.
“It was super cool,” Wilber said. “We slowly watched the shadow move for about two hours. It was pretty wild.
He used his camera, a tripod with a weight of 10 pounds to keep it stable, and a telescope.
“It’s a small telescope compared to what’s out there, but it’s good for lunar shots,” Wilber said.
According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, most of western South Dakota may have witnessed a total eclipse, while eastern South Dakota may have 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 marriage proposal leads to a new hobby
Wilber, a Washington High School graduate, said he’s always been interested in space. But has only recently embraced the hobby of astrophotography.
He said he stumbled upon astrophotography while coming up with ideas for proposals for his current wife. Wilber reached out to fellow South Dakota photographer Aaron Groen to help him make his perfect marriage proposal.
Groen took what Wilber called his “all-time favorite photo.” It’s Wilber on one knee who proposes to Tessa next to Lake Hanson, with the starlight in the background.
“I thought it would be really cool to propose under the stars,” said Wilber, who learned the basics of astrophotography from Groen. “From there, I deepened my research and did some research. I bought my first camera and my first lens and started doing it, through trial and error. We are fortunate to have dark skies in South Dakota so you don’t have to go too far for some cool photos.
With his first eclipse photos behind him, Wilber said he is looking to continue upgrading his equipment to take more photos in deep space. He said he was looking to buy a tracker that will allow longer exposures for his camera.
Wilber has more photos of astronomical objects in the South Dakota skies on his Instagram page at astro_tonywilber.