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Stargazers Await Weekend Lunar Eclipse (with news about Leonids)
Yahoo News, AP ^ | Wed Nov 5, 8:40 PM ET | By RICK CALLAHAN

Posted on 11/06/2003 12:00:55 AM PST by Aracelis

Stargazers across North America will watch the full moon dim into a dark, ruddy orb Saturday night as the moon drifts through Earth's shadow in the latest celestial event this year to pull eyes skyward.

Astronomers who scrutinized Mars this summer during its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years were more recently awed by red and green aurora displays as far south as Florida thanks to big explosions on the sun.

And now more heavenly happenings are on the way.

Saturday's lunar eclipse will be followed by the Leonid meteor shower, a total solar eclipse over the southern hemisphere — and a chance for more auroras if the sun stays active. Another eruption Tuesday on the sun may rank among the most intense solar events ever recorded. But the explosion was aimed away from Earth, meaning it would have little impact here.

Still, the otherworldly event the public has the best chance of seeing is Saturday's total eclipse of the moon. At its peak, the moon will hang eerily in the night sky like a dark, reddish-orange coal.

Unlike unpredictable comets and meteors, the moon is a reliable show, said Stephen Maran, a spokesman for the American Astronomical Society.

"Nowadays people who've grown up in the city or suburbs have never seen the Milky Way, but even in the most light-polluted place I've ever been — downtown Los Angeles — you can see the moon," he said.

Weather cooperating, people in the eastern United States will witness the entire eclipse; it will already be under way when the moon rises around sunset in the West.

The eclipse reaches totality at 8:06 p.m. EST. That stage — when the moon, Earth and sun are lined up precisely and the moon passes through the darkest part of Earth's shadow — lasts just 24 minutes.

The eclipse can also be seen in South America, Europe and Africa. The last eclipse of the moon visible from North America was on May 15, but much of the United States was cloudy.

Unlike eclipses of the sun, which can damage viewers' unprotected eyes, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye or binoculars.

Total lunar eclipses come in many colors, from dark brown and red to bright orange, yellow and even gray, depending on how much dust and clouds are in the Earth's atmosphere at that time, Maran said.

In ancient times, the phenomenon was believed caused by some unseen monster bloodying the moon, an omen of disaster.

If clouds blot out Saturday's event, disappointed viewers won't have to wait long before the annual Leonid meteor shower arrives.

For North American viewers, the shooting star display peaks Nov. 19 with 100 or so meteors per hour, some of them fireballs, said Stuart Levy of the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society in central Illinois.

Levy's views of spectacular Leonid showers during the past few years were ruined by clouds, but he'll be trying again this month.

"I've missed the best, when people were seeing hundreds of meteors an hour. If I see 100 an hour this time around I'll be happy. It might be a really good show, with luck," he said.

Nov. 28 also will bring a total solar eclipse, although seeing it will require a bit of travel. It will be visible only in Antarctica.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: lunareclipse

1 posted on 11/06/2003 12:00:55 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: RadioAstronomer; VadeRetro; whattajoke; js1138; CobaltBlue; Barnacle; Doctor Stochastic; ...
Science ping!
2 posted on 11/06/2003 12:02:34 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: Piltdown_Woman
Cool, FREE astronomy-related software:

Celestia: Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit.

Sky Screen Saver: The Sky Screen Saver shows the sky above any location on Earth, including stars (from the Yale Bright Star Catalogue of more than 9000 stars to the 7th magnitude), the Moon in its correct phase and position in the sky, and the position of the Sun and all the planets in the sky. Outlines, boundaries, and names of constellations can be displayed, as well as names and Bayer/Flamsteed designations of stars brighter than a given threshold. A database of more than 500 deep-sky objects, including all the Messier objects and bright NGC objects can be plotted to a given magnitude. The ecliptic and celestial equator can be plotted, complete with co-ordinates.

3 posted on 11/06/2003 12:05:46 AM PST by martin_fierro (_____oooo_(____)_oooo_____)
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To: martin_fierro
Wonderful links...thanks!
4 posted on 11/06/2003 12:07:23 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: martin_fierro
I've used Home Planet from the same site for years. Though I really have to update the satellite elements real soon.
There is either too much information to list here, else, I'm too lazy to copy it all.
Me thinks it's the later!

Home Planet

5 posted on 11/06/2003 12:18:24 AM PST by FormerlyAnotherLurker
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To: martin_fierro
Thanks for the links.

LVD
6 posted on 11/06/2003 12:20:55 AM PST by Las Vegas Dave
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To: FormerlyAnotherLurker
Another great link, thanks!
7 posted on 11/06/2003 12:36:54 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: Piltdown_Woman
I was lucky enough to catch the last solar eclipse out in the San Jacinto mountains of Southern California back in May. Unfortunately (we were hiking), we camped at a spot where the eastern sky was blocked by a mountain, so I didn't catch the moon rise until it was starting to come OUT of eclipse. But no matter. It was sublime to see it with no light pollution with a perfectly clear sky. I didn't bother trying to photograph it -- I was hiking light and had no zoom lens. Besides, for things like that, someone ALWAYS gets a better shot of it than you ever could.

Reminds me, on the day before I started my thru-hike, in late April, I was camped at Lake Morena campground near Campo, no tent, just laying in my sleeping bag looking up at the sky, and I saw the biggest fireball I've ever seen. I imagine things like that are no big deal for wilderness folks, but for me it was stunning. Everyone else at the campground was already asleep, so it felt like a private show. Too bad my wife and I had to drop out with injuries near Wrightwood. Did log 200 miles, though. And I've never seen so many kinds of cacti before, in full bloom no less!

8 posted on 11/06/2003 1:06:51 AM PST by TrappedInLiberalHell (The program "Free Republic" has grown beyond your control. You cannot stop it. But I can.)
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To: TrappedInLiberalHell
I'm very jealous. Although, a number of years back, in northern Illinois we saw a spectacular aurora. Stopped by the side of the road in the heart of the Illinois cornbelt and watched red shimmering curtains for about an hour. Sigh! This time around, Denver has been shrouded in fog and clouds.
9 posted on 11/06/2003 1:11:56 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: Piltdown_Woman
I've never seen an aurora, so you're one up on me there. I did see my first Leonids in November 2001, though, back in Connecticut. And the following summer I caught the Perseids, which were less frequent but still cool, and much more comfortable to watch (it was near-freezing in November at 5 in the morning). I've yet to see a full solar eclipse, though the 2000 Christmas Day eclipse was visible, although it was only a partial one.

I miss camping out in the desert. There were nights so quiet out there, it was like nothing I've ever experienced. Then in the morning, many times, a hummingbird would come buzz our tent, as if to say "Get up, you lazy bums!" I will say that, even in May, it could get COLD in the desert. Not quite freezing, but close. And then during the day it could get up to 90-95 degrees. Early May, mind you, even at elevations of 5000 feet! We never did make it to the Sierra Nevada mountains, though. Maybe someday.

10 posted on 11/06/2003 1:21:53 AM PST by TrappedInLiberalHell (The program "Free Republic" has grown beyond your control. You cannot stop it. But I can.)
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To: kayak
Astronomy ping.
11 posted on 11/06/2003 4:43:57 AM PST by Molly Pitcher (Is Reality Optional?)
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To: Piltdown_Woman
Thanks for the heads up!
12 posted on 11/06/2003 5:21:31 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Molly Pitcher
Thanks .... :-)
13 posted on 11/06/2003 6:02:49 AM PST by kayak (The Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy is truly Vast! [JohnHuang2])
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To: Las Vegas Dave
The screen saver is neat (even neater on a 21" monitor), but check out Celestia. BREATHTAKING!
14 posted on 11/06/2003 6:25:48 AM PST by martin_fierro (_____oooo_(____)_oooo_____)
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To: Piltdown_Woman
This is going to be a tough, going to a block shoot or seeing the lunar eclipse. I'll try to do both.
15 posted on 11/06/2003 6:28:40 AM PST by stevio
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To: TrappedInLiberalHell
You must come to my area, the High Sierra, where the mountains rise to over 14,000' from the high desert floor.
16 posted on 11/06/2003 6:42:09 AM PST by Inyo-Mono
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To: martin_fierro
Thanks for the links and bump to remind myself of the eclipse this weekend
17 posted on 11/06/2003 6:45:52 AM PST by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: Piltdown_Woman
Thanks. Maybe we’ll have clear skies for this one.

On another note, the coincidences of these eclipses have significance to Islamic terrorists as well:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1014397/posts

Stay safe.
18 posted on 11/06/2003 7:11:27 AM PST by Barnacle (A Human Shield against the onslaught of Leftist tripe.)
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To: Piltdown_Woman
I love Leonid watching! Unfortunately around here it is frequently heartbreaking - not due to light pollution, but clouds. We usually go to Sky Meadows State Park, and if you park and walk eventually you get to where you can't see headlights coming and going. Last time, though, there was a confrontation with the Park Police, who somehow were not in the loop. At least we had already been watching for hours before we had to leave.

This year, if the weather is promising, we may go further away from "The Sprawl" into the mountains in West Virginia. Some pretty dark skies around there. And get written permission to be there.

Perseid watching is usually far more of a disappointment.
19 posted on 11/06/2003 8:11:03 AM PST by CobaltBlue
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To: Piltdown_Woman
"Confrontation" due to my mama, who has an attitude problem with authority figures throwing around their weight for no good reason. I usually go for the "catch more flies with honey" attitude, but if mama gets to them first, forget it.
20 posted on 11/06/2003 8:13:27 AM PST by CobaltBlue
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To: Barnacle; kayak
Barnacle could you please add me to your aurora ping list?? Thanks!

We may be able to see the eclipse Sat night with only partial cloud cover. Here's hoping!!

21 posted on 11/06/2003 9:31:21 AM PST by Molly Pitcher (Is Reality Optional?)
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To: Barnacle
From your link, Barnacle:

From: daleel_almojahid
Date: Sun Oct 5, 2003 6:25pm
Subject: Ramadaan is coming .... alot of things are coming with it.
Ramadaan is coming soon,
hope we will see the strength of god when the moon and the sun eclips twice in the month of Ramadaan. alaaah akbaar.

Coupled with warnings about New York and LA, this deserves at least some consideration.

22 posted on 11/06/2003 9:36:14 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: Molly Pitcher
Barnacle could you please add me to your aurora ping list??

Soytenly!

23 posted on 11/06/2003 10:35:07 AM PST by Barnacle (Navigating the treacherous waters of a liberal culture)
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To: Piltdown_Woman
Leonids Ping - Tonite - best viewing ~ 2:30 am Eastern.
24 posted on 11/18/2003 8:33:08 PM PST by berkeleybeej
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To: CobaltBlue
Leonids reminder - tonite
25 posted on 11/18/2003 8:36:35 PM PST by berkeleybeej
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To: berkeleybeej
Here in Northern Virginia, we are socked in with clouds 360 degrees. Sucks, but that's the way it is.
26 posted on 11/18/2003 8:52:10 PM PST by CobaltBlue
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To: TrappedInLiberalHell
I've seen a few aurora's here in Hunterdon County, NJ....pink ones...very eerie.....Check out www.spaceweather.com
The aurora pic's are fantastic....It'll make you want to
travel to Alaska, The Yukon and the Laurentides Wildlife
Reserve in Quebec.....
27 posted on 11/18/2003 8:57:23 PM PST by geege
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To: CobaltBlue
Arghh - you'll probably end up with the storms we had yesterday. Oh well.
28 posted on 11/18/2003 9:01:19 PM PST by berkeleybeej
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To: berkeleybeej
Thanks for the update!
29 posted on 11/18/2003 11:32:00 PM PST by Aracelis
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