Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Speaking of the moon ...

Mark your calendars! There will be a full lunar eclipse on the night of February 20-21, 2008. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth blocks the Sun’s light from reaching the moon (or, to put it another way, when the moon is in the Earth’s shadow). Because some sunlight is reflected by the Earth’s atmosphere, the moon will still be visible during the lunar eclipse, but it can appear to be an eerie red during the hour or so of full eclipse, a phase known as totality. NASA has put together a detailed description of when and where to view the February 2008 lunar eclipse. For more background about lunar eclipses, I liked this page of Nick Strobel’s Astronomy Notes. Strobel has a nice diagram showing how the Earth, sun, and moon line up during lunar and solar eclipses, along with a cool clip of what to expect during the upcoming lunar eclipse (although his brief clip is considerably faster than the actual eclipse will be!). Keep in mind that while you should NEVER look directly at a solar eclipse because you can severely damage your eyes, seeing a lunar eclipse like this one is harmless (and fun!).

2 comments:

Shelly said...

Awesome! We will be on vacation down at the Jersey Shore so I will make sure my hubby and I take time out to see it!

jublke said...

That's great! I wish you a dark night with a clear sky. :-)