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Where to View the Lunar Eclipse

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Photo used with permission: Kris Flory of Dead Reckoning Astrophotography

On January 20, 2019, the night sky will bring us a great sight: the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse!

If you are wondering why it is being called this, here is a quick explanation:

Wolf Moon = The name of the first full moon in January.

Super Moon = The moon will be at its closest point to Earth in its rotation which will make it appear rather large.

Blood Moon = Because this will be a total lunar eclipse, the moon will appear red due to a combination of the Earth’s atmosphere and the sun shining on it.

This spectacular sight will make for great viewing. In the Wichita area, we are lucky to have two locations that are hosting Lunar Eclipse viewings-Lake Afton Public Observatory and the Cosmosphere.

Lake Afton Public Observatory Lunar Eclipse Viewing Party

The Lake Afton Public Observatory will be open on January 20 for a special viewing of the Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. Everyone is welcome to bundle up and enjoy the free viewing outside of the observatory. If the weather cooperates, they may even have some telescopes set up outside to help you get a better view. If you would like to go inside the observatory to look at the exhibits and look through the large telescope, the standard entry fee applies: $8 for adults, $6 for kids, $20 for a family. The observatory will be open from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. While the entire event will take several hours, the maximum eclipse will occur at about 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night, January 20. In case there are any weather related changes or cancellations, check the event Facebook page before you leave the house.

Cosmosphere Free Public Observation of the Lunar Eclipse

You can bring your lawn chairs, coats and blankets for a free Public Sky Observing Sunday. The free public viewing will start at 9:30 p.m. on the grassy lot south of the Cosmosphere.

The real showstopper happens in the evening sky with a total lunar eclipse on January 20. It’s been several years since North America has seen a total lunar eclipse so this will be a real treat to start the New Year. The full moon begins entering the outer, fainter part of Earth’s shadow, the penumbra, at about 8:36 pm in the eastern sky. While this is the beginning of the eclipse it’s difficult to notice a change in the Moon’s appearance due to the faintness of the shadow. An hour later, around 9:40 p.m., the Moon enters the umbra, the darker inner part of Earth’s shadow. This is when a distinct change in the Moon’s appearance begins as our natural satellite begins to darken.

During maximum eclipse, at 11:12 p.m., the Moon glows a reddish color as Earth’s atmosphere acts like a big lens, refracting sunlight onto the lunar surface. The Moon exits the umbral shadow around 12:40 a.m. and the penumbral shadow about 1:48 a.m., making the entire event over 5 hours. You can easily observe the lunar eclipse with just your eyes, but binoculars or a telescope will enhance the view.

The Cosmosphere will be using their giant, 16-inch diameter telescope. Feel free to bring your own telescopes as well! In case there are any weather related changes or cancellations, check the event Facebook page before you leave the house.

 

 

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