Sept. 27th – Join Us For the “Blood Moon” at River Ridge Observatory


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Fortunately, you can view this event from just about anywhere in the area with a clear sky.  No instrument is necessary, though binoculars or a small scope can add to the experience if you have them.

A “Blood Moon” occurs during a total lunar eclipse, which occurs when the earth passes between the sun and the moon such that the earth blocks direct sunlight from reaching the lunar surface.  This can only occur when the moon is full as this is when the moon is directly opposite the sun relative to the earth.  It does not happen every full moon because the moon is usually either above or below the earth’s shadow.  Only when the moon and earth are in alignment with the sun vertically, so to speak, as well as horizontally, does an eclipse take place.  These are fairly rare events at a given location.  Excitingly this “blood moon” is lined up well for central Arkansas to witness the entire event during the evening hours!

The eclipse proper will begin at approximately 8:07 PM at which time a darkening of the moon at the edge will begin.  As this progresses it will start to look like an invisible Pac Man is taking bigger and bigger bites out of the lunar disc, until totality is reached at approximately 9:47 PM.  At this point the moon will be a dark red, as no direct sun light will be reaching its surface, only what is refracted through earth’s atmosphere.  The night sky will be almost as dark as a moonless night, making deep sky observing possible during totality from a dark sky location.  Totality will not end until 11:27 PM.

For more on lunar eclipses go here: http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/LEprimer.html

 


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