March 2, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse Saturday

Saturday is the Night of the Coppery Moon or Night of the Crimson Moon or, if the National Weather Service is right (and we know how that goes), Night of the Mostly Cloudy Moon.

The point is, when the full moon rises over the Atlantic Ocean at 6:19 p.m. Saturday, it will be in total eclipse, an astronomical event that requires only the unaided eye and the soul of a romantic to enjoy. A fifth-floor, east-facing condo balcony wouldn't hurt either.

South Florida won't quite get its fair share of eclipse-viewing this time, since the sun doesn't set until 3 minutes after the moon rises, making the moon hard to find in the bright sky.

"We won't see much of anything until 6:45 or 7," when the sky darkens enough to see the last few minutes of totality, said Jack Horkheimer, PBS television's Star Gazer and director of the planetarium at the Miami Museum of Science.

Although entirely covered by the Earth's shadow, the moon will have an orange to deep red hue, the result of some of the sun's rays bending around the Earth — through the atmosphere — and bouncing off the moon anyway.

"Think of it as the light of all the sunsets on Earth happening simultaneously and reflected on the moon," Horkheimer said.

Beginning at 6:58 p.m., when totality ends, and lasting until 8:12 p.m., the Earth's shadow will slowly retreat across the face of the moon. "That's the fun part. The moon is slowly revealed until it is full, brilliant and dazzling," he said.

Article is courtesy of Tim O'Mellia - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Anonymous said...

thanks for giving credit where credit is due (even if it was burnout style)...sheesh
posted by soldatoj57