Wednesday's total lunar eclipse to be explained
- February 19, 2008
One of the premier astronomical events of the year-a total lunar eclipse-will take place this Wednesday evening, Feb. 20. Gary Weston, Cal State East Bay associate professor of physics, will discuss it and present an overview of the phenomenon and provide photos.
Weston's presentation will take place from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday in room 378 of the AE (Arts and Education) Building on the Hayward campus of Cal State East Bay. Following the presentation--weather permitting--the eclipse will be viewed outside via naked eye and telescope on the east side of the College of Science buildings.
"This full moon is a very special one, in that it will be completely within the Earth's shadow for about 50 minutes," Weston said about the eclipse, which will occur in totality from 7:01 to 7:51 p.m. Pacific time. "The complete progression of stages occurs over a period of five hours and 39 minutes starting at 4:37 p.m. (Pacific time), but the human eye probably can't notice anything unusual until the moon rises above the horizon a bit after sunset.
"We will go outside and start observing the sky just after the Moon rises above the East Bay hills about 6:45 p.m.," Weston said.
Although Weston noted that lunar eclipses occur more often and "aren't as spectacular as solar eclipses," he still thinks they are special because of the coincidental combination of Earth, Moon, and Sun diameters, relative separations, and particular orbits.
The university community and the general public are invited to Weston's presentation. Admission is free.