Features

Super Blue Blood Moon 2018 and the tech you need to capture it

January 31 brings a lunar trifecta: Everything you need to know!

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A once in lifetime event is happening on January 31st.

It’s a called the Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse — a total lunar eclipse (Blood Moon) happening on the second full moon of the month (Blue Moon), at the time when the moon is closest and looks largest (Super Moon). 

A total phase of darkness during this amazing lunar eclipse will be visible in Asia, Australia, North East Europe, Russia, parts of the US, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific, and will last up to 1 hour and 16 minutes.

The Philippines and Singapore will get a whopping 5 hours and 17 minutes from start to finish of this once in a lifetime lunar trifecta spectacle. India, on the other hand, will see only parts of the entire show since it begins before the moon peeks over the horizon. But this will not dramatically impact the fun as the phase of total darkness starts just about when the moon rises. This should make for particular outstanding effects.

But why is this event so rare? 

On their own, each of these cosmic events are rare. But for them to happen at the same time, let’s just say we’re super lucky!

Not even taking super moons into consideration, a lunar eclipse during a blue moon hasn’t happened for more than 150 years. After this month’s event, the next time you will get a chance to witness a Blue Blood Moon eclipse will be on Dec 31, 2028 and then on Jan 31, 2037 after that.

Let’s get all the terminology sorted out again.

Super full moon

When a full moon happens during a time the moon is closest the Earth, it is called a super full moon. A super full moon can look up to 14 percent bigger and up to 30 percent brighter.

The best time to look for a super moon is right after sunset when the moon tends to appear even larger to the human eye. This is partly what makes this month’s lunar eclipse so special as it happens in Asia right around that time.

Blood Moon

This isn’t an astronomical term at all, but it’s widely used these days. During an eclipse, the Earth blocks all direct sunlight which normally lights the moon’s surface. Indirect sunlight instead casts on the moon’s surface giving it a reddish yellow or orange glow, hence the nickname.

Blue moon

Ever heard about the term “once in a blue moon”? It means something is rare. Blue moons happen once every two to three years. A blue moon is the second full moon in a month with two full moons. 

How to document the experience

Now that we’ve gotten you all excited, how do you make sure you take great photos and videos of this once in a lifetime event?

First thing’s first: A camera! Your best bet is if you own any good interchangeable lens camera and a super telephoto lens (the higher the number the better). The most widely available super telephoto lenses are usually available in 400mm, 500mm, and 600mm options. To get even further, secure a teleconverter lens. A 2x teleconverter will double your ability to get in closer. 

Normally when you’re shooting a photo of the night sky, you’ll want a long exposure, but not in this case as you’re photographing a ball of light. Shoot as you would during the day. Shoot at ISO 100 or 200, at a wide aperture (around f/11) and with a fast shutter speed (1/250 or 1/125).

Alternatively, if you prefer to shoot with your smartphone — you’re better off with a smartphone that has optical zoom. The iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus, iPhone X, and Galaxy Note 8 for example all have 2x optical zoom. But to get even closer, you’ll need a clip-on lens that can mimic what a super telephone lens can do for a DSLR. 

Moment makes plenty of solid lens clips for a variety of smartphone models including a Tele Lens. Aukey has a clip on lens that provides 10x optical zoom. And if you want to get real crazy,  there’s a company called Goliton that makes a clip-on that gets you to 80x.  When using your smartphone, you may want to manually control the exposure by focusing on the moon, then dragging down the exposure controls if it appears too bright.

Regardless of what gear to get, make sure you’re using a tripod for the steadiest shot possible. If you’e using a smartphone, get a JOBY GripTight GorillaPod Stand, or the Manfrotto Stand for Universal Cellphone. To further avoid camera shake, set the camera to time mode.

When can you see it?

In case you won’t get the chance to go out to see it or the sky will be covered by clouds, NASA will live stream the eclipse. NASA coverage will start at 6:30 p.m. on January 31, 2018 (Singapore Time).

If Mother Nature allows for clear skies, here are Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse time details for January 31.

Singapore and the Philippines:

Duration of Totality: 1 hour and 16 minutes

Eclipse Begins: 7:48 p.m.

Enters Totality: 8:51 p.m.

Reaches Maximum Totality: 9:29 p.m.

Exits Totality: 10:07 p.m.

Eclipse Ends: 11:11 p.m.

India (Mumbai):

Duration of Totality: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Moon rises at 6:27 p.m. (begins before moon is above horizon)

Reaches Maximum Totality: 6:59 p.m.

Exits Totality: 7:37 p.m.

Eclipse Ends: 8:41 p.m.

SEE ALSO: Flagship Smartphone Camera Shootout: Best of 2017

Features

Sony’s PlayStation is back, Xiaomi outs new Mi 8 variants: Weekend Rewind

Ending the week with nostalgic feels

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. The iconic PlayStation is back!

Let’s kick things off by taking a trip down memory lane. Almost 25 years after its debut, Sony is bringing back the iconic first-gen PlayStation and it will come as the PlayStation Classic.

It’s basically a miniaturized version complete with a pair of original controller replicas. What’s even more exciting is that fans of the original PlayStation will be able to relive 20 legendary titles including Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3!

2. Razer Phone 2 gets a launch date

Razer officially confirms the arrival of its second gaming smartphone — the Razer Phone 2. It succeeds the Razer Phone that was launched last November and based on earlier leaks, it’ll be a familiar-looking product.

The phone should sport the same body as its predecessor including the display with buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Of course, the internals will have beefier specs as well. We’ll know the low down real soon during its special event at California this October 10.

3. Apple is on the lead!

While it may be true that Apple didn’t sell the most number of smartphones, they still earned more than their competitors. According to the latest data from Counterpoint Research, Apple had the biggest share of industry profits during the second quarter of 2018.

For comparison, Apple earned 62 percent of the second-quarter smartphone profits. Samsung, which is the top-selling smartphone vendor, is responsible for just 17 percent of smartphone profits in the quarter. Huawei takes the third spot with eight percent of the profits.

4. A complete but affordable smartwatch

Huami, Xiaomi’s sub-brand in China, has a smartwatch that offers tremendous bang for your buck. The company just unveiled the Amazfit Verge and it’s got everything you could ask for in a wearable without the high price tag.

The Amazfit Verge has a GPS, heart-rate sensor, and a full-circle AMOLED display. It’s also equipped with a microphone and loudspeaker that allow voice calls through the smartwatch.

5. Xiaomi outs Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite

On a related note, Xiaomi also held a quick event to announce a few things including two new Mi 8 variants — the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite.

In a nutshell, these are additions to the flagship Mi 8 family. The Mi 8 Pro is similar to the Mi 8 with the same specs like its Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and 128GB of expandable storage. Although, this model comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

As the name suggests, the Mi 8 Lite is a toned-down Mi 8 and comes with a midrange Snapdragon 660 chipset, dual rear cameras, and a 24-megapixel front camera. Both phones are initially available in China, but international availability is yet to be announced.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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Features

Singapore’s first iPhone XS buyer goes all out

He went for the 512GB storage!

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Whenever new iPhones launch, a familiar scene is people lining up in front of Apple Stores long before launch date. The same is true in Singapore where the iPhone XS and XS Max officially became available on Friday, September 21.

We visited the Apple Store in Orchard Road and caught up with the first person to cop the new iPhones. His name is Daniel and he went all out getting two units of gold iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage. Watch our interview with him.

The same situation is true elsewhere in the world. In countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and more, lines formed as those who pre-ordered got ready to claim the new iPhones.

This is the first time that the two sizes of iPhones feature the same specs. In years past, there was always a plus model that had more features other than just having a bigger form factor. In 2018, the only difference is the screen size — 5.8 inches for the iPhone XS and 6.5 inches for the iPhone XS Max. Both phones are equipped with the new A12 Bionic processor. Apple says it’s their smallest and most powerful chip to date. Both also sport dual cameras.

The Apple Watch Series 4 also launched today. It’s a significant update to Apple’s primary wearable featuring medical advantages other than the usual improvements. As always, it still is a lifestyle gadget and comes with an array of available looks.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!

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Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!

We have them early!

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It’s now mid-September and if you’ve been following technology news, you’d know that means one thing: new iPhones from Apple. And if you’ve been following GadgetMatch closely the last few years, you’d expect us to be brewing content by now.

This year, we got them early. What we are unboxing the 5.8-inch model, dubbed the iPhone XS and the bigger variant, the iPhone XS Max. There’s also a more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone XR coming later in October.

The box has not changed much — it’s still the same minimalist white box with the image of the phone you’re getting. Inside are a packet with manuals and stickers, USB-A charging brick, Lightning cable, and a pair of Lightning EarPods (not AirPods, they just look alike).

It’s worth noting that the bundled charger is the regular adapter and cable from yesteryears, even if the new iPhones already support fast charging. To get fast charging on the iPhone XS and XS Max, you need to spend an additional US$ 75 for a Lightning to USB-C Cable and a 29W USB-C adapter.

Since omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack, these new iPhones are also the first ones to not include a headphone jack to Lightning dongle — an extra US$ 9 purchase if you ever need one.

Unlike previous years where you need to get the bigger model to have the best features iPhones have to offer, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are essentially the same phones — the latter just has a bigger display and battery capacity.

The iPhone XS and XS Max also come in a new beautiful gold color, something similar to our favorite iPhone 8 and 8 Plus color from last year — a subtle, non-tacky shade of gold. A slightly darker gold but shiny stainless steel band also highlights the edges of the phones. Button and port placements have not changed, and the notch housing Apple’s TrueDepth Camera technology lives on.

We have more iPhone content coming in the next few days so make sure to stay tuned for that. Our unboxing video is also coming where we unboxed a new case color as well. Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t yet.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone XS cruises to top of AnTuTu benchmark ranking

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