Skip to comments.Lunar eclipse to occur Wednesday night - Last lunar eclipse in years (until 2010)
Posted on 02/20/2008 3:36:23 PM PST by NormsRevenge
LOS ANGELES - The last total lunar eclipse until 2010 occurs Wednesday night, with cameo appearances by Saturn and the bright star Regulus on either side of the veiled full moon.
Skywatchers viewing through a telescope will have the added treat of seeing Saturn's handsome rings.
Weather permitting, the total eclipse can be seen from North and South America. People in Europe and Africa will be able to see it high in the sky before dawn on Thursday.
As the moonlight dims it won't go totally dark Saturn and Regulus will pop out and sandwich the moon. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo.
Jack Horkheimer, host of the PBS show "Star Gazer," called the event "the moon, the lord of the rings and heart of the lion eclipse."
Wednesday's event will be the last total lunar eclipse until Dec. 20, 2010. Last year there were two.
The weather could be a spoiler for many in the United States. Cloudy skies are expected for most of the Western states with a chance of snow from the heartland to the East Coast, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.
"It looks like it's going to be a hard one to spot," Seto said.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes into Earth's shadow and is blocked from the sun's rays that normally illuminate it. During an eclipse, the sun, Earth and moon line up, leaving a darkened moon visible to observers on the night side of the planet.
The moon doesn't go black because indirect sunlight still reaches it after passing through the Earth's atmosphere. Since the atmosphere filters out blue light, the indirect light that reaches the moon transforms it into a reddish or orange tinge, depending on how much dust and cloud cover are in the atmosphere at the time.
Wednesday's total eclipse phase will last nearly an hour. Earth's shadow is expected to blot out the moon beginning around 7 p.m. on the West Coast and 10 p.m. on the East Coast. West Coast skygazers will miss the start of the eclipse because it occurs before the moon rises.
Unlike solar eclipses which require protective eyewear, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye.
Later this year, in August, there will be a total solar eclipse and a partial lunar eclipse.
NASA’s lunar eclipse page: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/lunar.html
The moon is engulfed in the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse on in this Oct. 27, 2004, file photo as viewed from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The last total lunar eclipse until 2010 occurs Wednesday night, Feb. 20, 2008, with cameo appearances by Saturn and the bright star Regulus on either side of the veiled full moon. (AP Photo/Doug Murray, File)
What a beautiful photo. So disappointed, clear skies have given way to clouds here in NJ.
The total lunar eclipse probably will be over by the time the moon shows up here. Too bad, we finally have a clear sky.
DOH! Anyone here been moonblinded?
Yup...cuz its too COLD HERE!! to even go outside and look
Dang! was hoping for Leonard Nimoy and Bill Shatner
Otherwise, it can be "fatiguing" with a mostly full Moon.
Dang it, we are completely socked in.
Go to http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/LEmono/TLE2008Feb21/TLE2008Feb21.html and scroll down. Has a geo chart with lines marking out the stage of the eclipse at Moon rise, in your case.
snowing in DC right now :(
My mentor in astronomy always said the best viewing is on a cold crisp night.
When I asked him how cold, the answer was "Colder than a brass toilet seat in the Yukon".
A great big coppery O in the sky, flanked by a star of kingship and a planet with a freakin’ halo. It’s a sign, people!
Me too. The moon is an awesome thing to explore with a 'scope, but without a filter you'll lose your night vision for a while and your eye will get quite tired.
(pic of my 10" on my FR home page, btw)
Perhaps, but I would like to see it anyway!
Same here, I’ll just wait for the pictures...
It’s 7:35 pm here in southern Wisconsin. We have a crystal clear night (down to FIFTEEN BELOW tonight!) so I’ve got the binocs at the ready.
Just the slightest shadow is on the left side of the Moon right now. It’s so cool! :)
There’s a ‘copter circling around out here...must be some Moon Gazing Yuppies come out to the country for some “dark,” LOL!
Years? two/three years? 2020, sure..2010? feh.. ;-)