Mon, 27 Aug 2007

Lunar Eclipse

In a matter of a few hours, areas bordering the Pacific Ocean will experience a partial-to-total eclipse of the Moon.

Tonight around 1:50am (PST) the moon will begin to enter the shadow of the Earth. Since the Moon is nearly entirely lit by illumination from the Sun (not entirely, as light reflecting from Earth also illuminates the Moon), the moon will slowly and gradually begin to dim.

By 2:50am, the Moon will have entirely entered the shadow cast by the Earth, resulting in a total lunar eclipse. At this point, no direct sunlight will be able to reach the moon. Rather, light that strikes the moon will be coming in diffused by the atmosphere of the Earth, resulting in a orange/red glow of the moon.

The nice thing about observing the moon is that any amateur astronomer can enjoy it without any complicated equipment. You don't need any filters, or glasses, telescopes, nor do you need to go to a really dark area of town without light pollution.

Instead, you can simply walk right outside your house, and look right up at the moon. Of course, if you have binoculars or a telescope, or a nice zoom lens and a high megapixel camera, you'll be able to see it up close, or even take some decent photographs.

Set your alarm as not all lunar eclipses are visible from the Western United States, and the next total eclipse isn't until February 21st.

Khan Klatt

Khan Klatt's photo