Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar eclipse tonight

Don't miss it!    Wake the kids!    Set the VCRs!    This will be the last total lunar eclipse until the night of December 20–21, 2010!    As we know, a lunar eclipse occurs when the earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, casting its' shadow on the latter.

The lunar eclipse is easily and safely observed with the naked eye but much more interesting through binoculars or a telescope.    Ideally timed for continental U.S. viewing, the eclipse will begin at about 8:45 p.m. EST, with totality beginning about 10:00 p.m. EST and lasting 52 minutes.    It will occur very close to the planet Saturn and the slightly dimmer star Regulas in the constellation Leo.

All charts and photos courtesy Sky & Telescope where a complete explanation of the phenomenon and this eclipse in particular may be found.    For a more detailed explanation, read the NASA account here.    An interesting graphic representation may be seen at Shadow & Substance.


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