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See 2019'S Only Full Lunar Eclipse through Telescopes

See 2019'S Only Full Lunar Eclipse through Telescopes

Planetarium, CUAS to provide free, closer views of Jan. 20 event

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Residents can enjoy free telescopic viewing of next month's total lunar eclipse, the only such eclipse visible for the area in 2019.  

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will join the CU Astronomical Society in making telescopes available to the public for the Sunday, Jan. 20 eclipse starting at 9 p.m., weather-permitting.  

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Full Moon passes through Earth's shadow. Given the Moon's orbit is five degrees off Earth's orbital plan, most Full Moons miss Earth's shadow. The darkest part of Earth's shadow will encroach upon the Moon at 9:34 p.m. CST. The Moon will be completely in shadow by 10:41 p.m. and will remain there for about an hour. The Moon will begin to emerge from the shadow at 11:44 p.m., leaving a Full Moon in the sky again by 12:51 a.m. Monday.   

At mid-eclipse (11:12 p.m.), the Moon may take on a reddish hue, often referred to as a "blood Moon". The sight has nothing to do with blood, however. It occurs because sunlight, bending through Earth's atmosphere, often hits the Moon; the atmosphere then scatters some of the blue part of the spectrum (what brings our blue skies), leaving this reddish light.  

Of course, dark skies are not needed to see a lunar eclipse, and unlike their solar counterparts, they are very safe to watch. 

Please note that this lunar viewing is not a planetarium show; it will be held outside. CUAS members will be outside the planetarium beginning at 9 p.m. observing the eclipse. The planetarium offers ample parking and a lobby where residents can warm up. Participants should park in the M1 parking lot and dress warmly!

Call the planetarium at 217/351-2567 for updates to the viewing if the weather seems uncertain.  

[Image sourcenasa.gov]

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