11

Apr

2014

The Cambridge Astronomy Saga: Eclipse

 

If you’re hanging out in the Western Hemisphere around 1am early Tuesday, April 15th, look up! There will be a total lunar eclipse next week, which means that the Earth will pass between the Sun and the Moon in such a way that the Earth’s shadow gradually covers the Moon. But that doesn’t mean total darkness—some light is still refracted around the Earth by our atmosphere, and the longest-wavelength light (red and orange) will fall on the Moon to create a beautiful lunar sequence like in the picture below.

Lunar Eclipse

 

Jay Pasachoff, author of The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium, gave us this info on when to keep your eyes peeled for the eclipse: “The opening partial phase of the eclipse begins about 2 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, with the total eclipse lasting from about 3:07 am to 4:25 am EDT. The closing partial phase of the eclipse ends at 5:33 am EDT, and will be visible from most of the U.S. and Canada but not from the East Coast. In Pacific Daylight Time, the eclipse is 11 pm partial/12:07-1:25 am totality/-2:33 end.”

He also passed along this video, a field guide on how to view next week’s eclipse.

Don’t forget to watch the sky on Tuesday morning, and send us your pictures! For more information about lunar eclipses, check out chapter 4.2 of Jay M. Pasachoff and Alex Filippenko’s The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium.

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