What causes this weird line in this super blue blood moon photo?

Feb 7, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

What causes this weird line in this super blue blood moon photo?

Feb 7, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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The photos of Super Blue Blood Moon have been all over the internet in the past couple of days. Destin Sandlin from Smarter Every Day took some shots too, and he captured a phenomenon that got him utterly confused.

Destin and his friend Trevor Mahlmann shot the moon aligned with Saturn 5 rocket in Alabama, USA. As the tip of the rocket and the moon got aligned, a dark line appeared, and it stayed in line with the rocket’s tip all along. Destin has a great knowledge of both astronomy and photography, but this phenomenon got him so confused that he turned to the community for help. Can you tell what this line is?

YouTube video

First of all, I’m amazed by the amount of preparation and calculations Destin and Trevor invested into these shots. They did the math and used a drone to figure out how high they need to be in order to see the moon and the rocket. Destin even called the people from the US Space and Rocket Center to ask them to turn on the rocket lights, so that the rocket is illuminated enough in the shots. Finally, Destin rented a 60-foot boom lift for him and Trevor to get them up high so they can shoot. That’s what I call devotion.

It’s good to know that all this effort paid off and they got some splendid shots. However, as soon as the moon aligned with the tip of the rocket, the black line appeared in the shots. Despite Destin’s knowledge of astronomy, photography and various optical phenomena, this one got him pretty puzzled. He and Trevor noticed it while shooting, and Destin writes that it happened on all three cameras they used:

It happened on all 3 cameras, but only from one of our 2 shooting locations. We were approximately 2.2 miles away.

Destin adds that he was shooting with a 300mm lens on a Canon 70D and a 100mm lens on a Panasonic GH5.  Trevor shot with a Canon7D MkII and also spotted the phenomenon through his viewfinder and later in his images.

Eager to find out what this strange line was, Destin has turned to YouTube, seeking help from the community. Some of the comments suggest that there may be a problem with the optics or sensors, or that the line may be a result of the refraction caused by the rocket’s tip. In addition to serious answers, there are also some hilarious ones. A couple of YouTube and Reddit users joke that it’s a shadow from the Earth, referring to the theory that the Earth is flat.

Personally, I don’t have the slightest idea what this line could be, but it’s definitely a perplexing question. Do you have any guesses? Share them in the comments below.

[WHAT IS THIS LINE? (on my Super Blue Blood Moon Photo) – Smarter Every Day 188 via PetaPixel, Reddit]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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21 responses to “What causes this weird line in this super blue blood moon photo?”

  1. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    Pretty weird. I know it’s an optical illusion of some sort but what is it, is beyond me.

  2. Stephen Masiello Avatar
    Stephen Masiello

    contrail?

  3. Rusty Moore Avatar
    Rusty Moore

    Yep, contrail.

  4. Uniblab Avatar
    Uniblab

    Contrail. And I think your writer meant to say diffraction, not refraction.

  5. Dave Bottoms Avatar
    Dave Bottoms

    Zipper? Like, for when they need to add more cheese to it?

  6. Bogdan Dobre Avatar
    Bogdan Dobre

    Anchoring line? I think such a large vertical object would need some form of anchoring lest it’d be toppled by wind shear.

    1. Keegan Wilson Avatar
      Keegan Wilson

      If you watched the video, Duston from smarter everyday notes that there was no lines or teethers (the man is a mechanical engineer and would be smart enough to realize if it was as simple as that.) He goes on to say that these lines are not something physical, but something optically happening with either light or the camera’s sensor.

  7. Ray Smith Avatar
    Ray Smith

    I already tweeted Destin with my calculations that it was a contrail from an aircraft

  8. Nicholas Wittwer Avatar
    Nicholas Wittwer

    Earth’s shadow

  9. Florent Gross Avatar
    Florent Gross

    Maybe a scar

  10. Claudiu Marginean Avatar
    Claudiu Marginean

    santa claus

  11. Gary Calvé Avatar
    Gary Calvé

    A Glitch in the matrix lol ?

  12. Luigi Ginosa Avatar
    Luigi Ginosa

    It’s Blu-r

  13. JiriVejrazka Avatar
    JiriVejrazka

    Some aerodynamic effect, e.g. a shockwave (if launcher high enough to have the speed? Just the angles are weird for a shockwave.

  14. Gael Gahewir Avatar
    Gael Gahewir

    Guys. A photo of a cable is often a cable. See bogdan answer and my comment for an illustration.

  15. Abner Yanes Avatar
    Abner Yanes

    I know this is late but I think there was a lunar eclipse in rehoboth beach Delaware on July 4, 2020 and my family and I saw the line on the moon too. It was about 1/4 of the way on the bottom of the moon. After a few minutes it disappeared

  16. Ola Zay Avatar
    Ola Zay

    This is something on the moon. I’ve been looking to talk about this for years. I’ve seen this only once in my lifetime and it happened with my naked eyes no electronics what so ever just binoculars and my eyes. The line moves up and down the moon like a wave. It’s actually called a lunar wave. There is no explanation for it and all of you people thinking it’s a con trail or anything else are dead wrong. I’m probably gonna get silenced for this. I think that there are a lot of things we don’t know about the moon and and what’s in the sky because we’ve only been able to grasp what’s we’ve been told.