News

Slightly unusual lunar eclipse coming to Bay Area

The earth will get between the sun and the moon on Sunday evening Sept. 27, creating a total lunar eclipse for people living in North and South America, chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College said.

The eclipse will start at 7:11 PDT as the sun and moon are exactly opposite each other and the Earth shadows the moon, Astronomy chair Andrew Fraknoi said.

Fraknoi said a lunar eclipse, unlike a solar eclipse, can be seen without special equipment that prevents eye damage.

He said at 8:23 p.m. the eclipse will end, early enough for kids to get enough rest for school Monday.

He said the best time to start watching is about 6:50 p.m. when much of the moon will already be dark.

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But amateur stargazers will still be able to see the moon because Earth's atmosphere will refract sunlight onto the moon, he said. The moon will be a dull brown or reddish color, he said.

The exact color and darkness of the moon will depend on what's in the Earth's atmosphere, such as volcanic ash, pollution and clouds, Fraknoi said.

He said this eclipse will be a bit unusual. It will happen an hour after the moon reaches its closest point in its orbit around the Earth, making the moon appear slightly largest than usual, he said.

The effect is commonly called a supermoon, he said.

Fraknoi said parents and older siblings can teach younger ones a once-disputed fact during the eclipse. "Watch the Earth's shadow as it covers the moon," he says to ask younger members.

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"What's the shape of the shadow?"

The shadow is round is the answer, indicating to people more than 2,000 years ago that Earth is round, he said.

— Bay City News Service

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Slightly unusual lunar eclipse coming to Bay Area

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 8:08 am

The earth will get between the sun and the moon on Sunday evening Sept. 27, creating a total lunar eclipse for people living in North and South America, chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College said.

The eclipse will start at 7:11 PDT as the sun and moon are exactly opposite each other and the Earth shadows the moon, Astronomy chair Andrew Fraknoi said.

Fraknoi said a lunar eclipse, unlike a solar eclipse, can be seen without special equipment that prevents eye damage.

He said at 8:23 p.m. the eclipse will end, early enough for kids to get enough rest for school Monday.

He said the best time to start watching is about 6:50 p.m. when much of the moon will already be dark.

But amateur stargazers will still be able to see the moon because Earth's atmosphere will refract sunlight onto the moon, he said. The moon will be a dull brown or reddish color, he said.

The exact color and darkness of the moon will depend on what's in the Earth's atmosphere, such as volcanic ash, pollution and clouds, Fraknoi said.

He said this eclipse will be a bit unusual. It will happen an hour after the moon reaches its closest point in its orbit around the Earth, making the moon appear slightly largest than usual, he said.

The effect is commonly called a supermoon, he said.

Fraknoi said parents and older siblings can teach younger ones a once-disputed fact during the eclipse. "Watch the Earth's shadow as it covers the moon," he says to ask younger members.

"What's the shape of the shadow?"

The shadow is round is the answer, indicating to people more than 2,000 years ago that Earth is round, he said.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Can't Wait
Community Center
on Sep 24, 2015 at 5:48 pm
Can't Wait, Community Center
on Sep 24, 2015 at 5:48 pm

This is great-- not too late for the kids to see before they go to bed!


Question
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm
Question, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Will Foothill be having a viewing event? Where is the best place to go and put down a tripod to get a great view of the moon? Perhaps with a little landscape to frame but not obscure it?


David
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2015 at 10:46 pm
David, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Swing up to the Byrne Preserve/Westwind Barn in Los Altos Hills on Altamont Rd. The moon will rise over the horse pasture.


Question
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2015 at 11:53 pm
Question, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2015 at 11:53 pm

@David,
Thanks! Is it open to the public?


David
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm
David, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Go to Foothill College, parking lot 4, for the Peninsula Astronomical Society's special star party. Astronomers will be there to answer questions and maybe setting up telescopes.


Chris Zaharias
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Sep 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm
Chris Zaharias, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm

We and 1000 people went to the Baylands and saw nothing. Upon returning home to PA, there is was. D'oh!


What?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2015 at 12:27 am
What?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2015 at 12:27 am

Chris, what did you see when you returned home? Any part of the eclipse? We were out at the Baylands too but couldn't see anything from home through the trees when we returned. What a disappointment!


Chris Zaharias
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 8:17 am
Chris Zaharias, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2015 at 8:17 am

We saw the last 15 minutes of the total lunar eclipse, which in our case was not obstructed by trees (fortunately). My astronomical street cred took a major hit with my wife and kids, though, from which I'll be recovering for decades #:^)

Still, it was great to see so many people out at the Baylands, even if for nought.


Question
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2015 at 9:30 am
Question, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2015 at 9:30 am

We ended up watching from the deck of a friend's house at Stanford. The moon was not visible through the cloudcover until the end of the total eclipse but we expected cloud cover to obscure moonrise and much of the total eclipse time. The cloud cover predictions wrere pretty accurate. We considered going to Santa Rosa but family needs nixed that. Once the moon came through the cloud cover, though, it was pretty lovely. Got some great photos with lots of detail, (500mm lens with a good camera on a tripod, almost like having a telescope). Took lots of receding eclipse photos and will see if I can stitch together the eclipse side with the photis showing detail of the white side. Havent tried that before, but took as many back to back as I could just in case. The moon was moving fast. The first picture I took after we spotted it looks like it's being sliced by clouds. Any hopes of getting the moon on moonrise with the mountains were dashed. Even if there was no cloudcover, it was still pretty light out.


confused
Barron Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 11:04 am
confused, Barron Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 11:04 am

Why was this event scheduled for such a busy sunday night? The traffic which is already horrible was made so much worse because of this eclipse. One really wonders about peoples priorities that they would want to view this. I suggest re-evaluating the time and date of the next one to better fit in with peoples busy schedules, road construction, etc.


Sir Arthur Eddington
another community
on Sep 28, 2015 at 11:30 am
Sir Arthur Eddington, another community
on Sep 28, 2015 at 11:30 am

"I suggest re-evaluating the time and date of the next one to better fit in with peoples busy schedules, road construction, etc."

I endeavored to move heaven and earth toward that end with a critical solar eclipse in order to test Dr. Einstein's peculiar theory of gravity, but it proved necessary to travel to Africa for the occasion nonetheless. Would you kindly keep me informed of your efforts?


Chris Zaharias
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm
Chris Zaharias, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Sir, only Jim Carey can pull that off:

Web Link (1m15s in)


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