Monday, August 27, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

If you are up late tonight, keep an eye on the moon - a total lunar eclipse begins at 2:52 am (you may be able to see some shadow before then) and will peak at 3:37 am. The NASA web site has all the details. From the NASA information:
Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to watch. Protective filters are not necessary and neither is a telescope. A lunar eclipse can be observed with nothing more than the naked eye. However, a pair of binoculars will magnify the view and make the red coloration brighter and easier to see. A standard pair of 7x35 or 7x50 binoculars is sufficient.

During totality, the summer and fall constellations will be well placed for viewing. The Moon will be in southern Aquarius and crosses the descending node of its orbit during the eclipse. The great square of Pegasus will be to the west of the Moon while Taurus and Orion are rising to the east.

Although total eclipses of the Moon are of minor scientific value, they are remarkably beautiful events which do not require expensive equipment. They help to cultivate interest in science and astronomy in children and to provide a unique learning opportunity for families, students and teachers. To the nature lover and naturalist, the lunar eclipse can be appreciated and celebrated as an event which vividly illustrates our place among the planets in the solar system. The three dimensional reality of our universe comes alive in a graceful celestial ballet as the Moon swings through the Earth's shadow. Hope for clear skies, dress warmly and enjoy the show!

Tonight is forecast to be mostly clear, so it should be a lovely sight.




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