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Resources for the Oct 8 2014 lunar eclipse October 7, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
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This is a straight-up list of resources for the eclipse on Oct 8, 2014.

Information on observing the eclipse:







Live feeds (so you can watch if the Moon isn’t out or it’s cloudy)







Oct 8 Lunar eclipse October 1, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro.
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Between the department move, classes starting, and Kensington Astronomy at the Beach, I’ve been a bit too busy for the urban observing posts. I’ve started October though, so hopefully I’ll have that up soon.  In the meantime, here’s a bit about the lunar eclipse on Oct 8.

The wonderful thing about lunar eclipses is that you can see it from anyplace where it’s night and clear during the eclipse. The interesting part of the eclipse will be 9:15 – 12:34 UT on October 8.

For Michigan, it will be visible just before dawn in the west-south-west. The noticeable part of the eclipse begins at 5:15 EDT. You’ll want to get out there early, because totality begins at 6:27, and the Moon will be dim enough that you may have trouble finding the Moon in the pre-dawn light. Mid eclipse is 6:55, and sunrise will be around 7:40. The Moon sets 7 minutes latter. To finds times for your location, check out  http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2014-october-8

A deeply eclipsed Moon is very difficult to see in the purple twilight.

Deepest eclipse occurs at 6:55 AM on October 8, when the Moon is about 8º above due west.

Usually, you don’t need anything be clear skies and darkness to see an eclipse. Dawn eclipses are a bit tricky though since the Moon disappears into the dawn light. A telescope that can track the Moon can be very helpful to keep the Moon in sight. If you don’t have that, a pair of binoculars can also help.

If you do have a telescope, swing it over to the eastern limb of the Moon. At 6 AM, Uranus will be just a bit north of due east and about 1º (or 2 Moon diameters) away. By 7AM it’s only half a degree and due east, but the sky will be starting to brighten (H/T Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar – I didn’t notice this conjunction!)

A partially eclipsed Moon and Uranus in a starry sky.

Uranus is about 1º off the eastern limb of the Moon at 6 AM. By 7 AM, it is only half a degree away but to the SE.

For more information on the eclipse, check out one of these:


April 2014 Annular solar Eclipse April 27, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
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In general, the Moon and the Sun have about the same angular size (ie they both cover the same amount of sky.) However, the Moon is very close, and its orbit is elliptical orbit, so its size changes slightly, glowing a tiny bit larger when it is close, and a tiny bit smaller when farther away. Most of the time, that change in size isn’t really noticeable. No so with eclipses.

The image was lightly colorized to emphasize the location of the shadow, but it gives a perspective of the size of the Moon's shadow on the Earth.

The image was lightly colorized to emphasize the location of the shadow, but it gives a perspective of the size of the Moon’s shadow on the Earth.

An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is at it’s farthest from Earth, so it looks smaller, and its shadow on the Earth is smaller. It can’t completely block out the entire disk of the Sun. People standing in the shadow see an “annulus” or ring around the Sun. This is the type of eclipse that will happen on April 29, 2014.

"ring of fire" solar eclipse by Kevin Baird.

“ring of fire” solar eclipse by Kevin Baird.

Maps of eclipse visibility are available on the NASA eclipse site, http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2014.html#SE2014Apr29A. You’ll notice this eclipse also is best viewed from Australia or Antarctica. Instead of a quick trip to a possibly hostile environment (it’s almost winter there now), how about watching on one of these sites:


Lunar eclipse April 2014 April 14, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
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If you’re in SE Michigan the chances of seeing the lunar eclipse are slim. Even if it does clear up, temperatures in the upper 20s aren’t very conducive to sitting outside for several hours watching it. But don’t despair, it is the 21st century after all, and while we may not have flying cars, we do have live streaming on the internet!

First up, a quick overview of the eclipse for observers in the eastern time zone: The eclipse begins just before 2 AM. By 2:30 it should be fairly interesting. The total eclipse begins at 3:07 AM and ends at 4:25 AM. The moon completely exits the umbra, ending the partial eclipse, at 5:33 AM.

If it is cloudy where you are, here are some resources to watch online:

Slooh.com http://events.slooh.com/stadium/total-lunar-eclipse-arizona-april-15-2014

Griffith Observatory TV http://new.livestream.com/GriffithObservatoryTV

Virtual Telescope’s WebTV http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/

The Coca-Cola space science Center and Columbus State University http://www.ccssc.org/webcast.html

Those are the ones I know about. A Google search might turn up more, especially if there’re any hangouts.