Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Shadowy lunar show will greet stargazers

We ll be slipping into the shadows Saturday night.

Or more accurately, the moon will be.

At 6:32 p.m., the moon begins its shadowy journey to total eclipse when it enters the Earth s penumbra.

Penumbra is just a fancy name for the lightest part of the Earth s shadow. The darkest shadow, in the center, is the umbra. When that shadow falls over the moon, a total eclipse occurs. Totality Saturday begins at 8:06 p.m. and ends at 8:31 p.m. The moon will clear the Earth s shadow entirely at 10:04 p.m.

This is the second total lunar eclipse visible here this year.

“It s a total eclipse, but the geometry isn t as good as it was in May, so the moon won t be as dark as it was then, said Alex Mak, associate director for the Ritter Planetarium at the University of Toledo.

“The moon isn t going to be in the middle of Earth s [umbra], he said, but will travel through its outermost portions.

Eclipses occur when the sun, Earth, and moon line up. The sun shines on the Earth, which casts its million-mile long shadow in the opposite direction, all the way to the moon. When the moon is in the center of the lineup, a solar eclipse follows.

The eclipse won t blot out the moon entirely. Instead, expect the moon to take on a reddish glow.

“In May, it turned very dark red. This time around, it will probably be a lighter shade of red, Mr. Mak said.

The color comes from the Earth s atmosphere, which acts like a lens, bending the sun s light into the shadow. Dust in our atmosphere appears red.

Lunar eclipses are one of the few sky events that don t require rural darkness to enjoy. If the night is clear - and AccuWeather predicts partly cloudy skies Saturday - any viewing spot will do.

But for a closer look, UT s Brooks Observatory offers viewing from 6 to 10 p.m. Visitors can look through a telescope aimed at the moon, and a second one aimed at Mars. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children.

Click to comment

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?

Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet.

Copyright © 2018 Toledo Blade

To Top

Fetching stories…