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ONU Astronomy Club to Host Viewing of Total Lunar Eclipse

Feb 6, 2008
The Ohio Northern University Astronomy Club and physics department will host a viewing of the total lunar eclipse on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 8:45 to 10:30 p.m. in the parking lot next to Wander Field. Several telescopes will be set up for optimal viewing. Some of these telescopes also will be trained on Saturn, which will be less than 4 degrees away from the moon at the time.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is completely shadowed and no direct light can reach it from the Sun. During this phenomenon, the Earth's atmosphere refracts and filters light at the same time, thereby illuminating the darkened moon and producing a dramatically colorful appearance. A total lunar eclipse can be viewed without any optical aid or protection; telescopes, however, allow spectators to observe lunar features as the shadow slowly passes. The most recent total lunar eclipse occurred on Aug. 28, 2007, when the sun, Earth and moon were in total alignment.

On Feb. 20, the dark shadow of the Earth will begin to cover the moon at approximately 8:43 p.m. and completely obscure it from 10:01 to 10:51 p.m. The eclipse will be visible in most of North America, as well as South America, Western Europe and Africa.

This event is free and open to the public. Astronomy Club members will be on hand to answer questions.