Lunar Eclipse!!

eclipse

On the morning of April 15th the first eclipse of 2014 will occur, visible across the United States. At 12:54 am EDT the Full Moon, high in the southern sky, will enter the outer penumbra of the Earth’s shadow. The bright star Spica will appear just below the Moon, and the planet Mars will appear as a brilliant orange star above and to the right of the Moon. The ringed planet Saturn will appear as a bright yellowish star to the east.

 

The Moon will enter the dark umbra of Earth’s shadow at 1:58 am. Observers will note a dark shadow sweeping across the Moon’s face, and it will be fully within that shadow by 3:07 am, the beginning of totality. Depending on sky conditions the Moon may appear blood red in color, or it may disappear completely. Over the next eighty-seven minutes the moon will lie within the umbra shadow. At 4:25 am the Moon will move out of the umbra, and the partial eclipse phase will end by 5:33 am. By that time brilliant Venus will have risen in the east. It will take another hour for the Moon to emerge from the penumbral shadow.

 

This lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere in the continental United States. But if you wish to view the event with a telescope, and to see Mars and Saturn in the early morning skies, come to Valdosta State University’s main campus! If weather permits, telescopes will be set out on the sidewalk in front of Odum Library. This observing session, hosted by Drs. Leake and Rumstay of the VSU Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences, will begin at 2:00 am (at the start of the partial eclipse phase) and end at 4:30 am.

lunar eclipse