[Ansteorra] Lunar Eclipse May 15th

Bob Kelley bkelley at accd.edu
Mon May 12 06:24:27 PDT 2003

Celestial Greetings to all Ansteorrans,

    This week, an astronomical event that our medieval ancestors
certainly wondered about, perhaps even feared, takes place in the sky -
a total eclipse of the Moon!  Here's the details.
    On Thursday night, May 15th, the Moon passes through the Earth's
shadow and is transformed into circle of celestial fire - a total lunar
eclipse!  May 15th's total lunar eclipse will be widely seen throughout
most of the Americas, Europe, and Africa.  Weather permitting, sky
watchers across Oklahoma and Texas will be treated to a wonderful view
of this celestial spectacle.

What will May 15th's Lunar Eclipse look like from Ansteorra?  (All times
Central Daylight Time)
     The full Moon rises above our east southeastern horizon at 8:08pm.
About an hour later at 9:03pm, the Moon begins to encounter the Earth's
dark shadow called the umbra.  Sky watchers will notice the left edge of
the Moon starting to turn a dusky gray in color.  As the eclipse
progresses, more and more of the Moon will be engulfed in shadow.  By
10:14pm, the Moon is completely inside the Earth's shadow and the total
lunar eclipse begins!

     Best viewing takes place between 10:14pm and 11:06pm, when the Moon
is completely inside the Earth's umbral shadow.  During this period
known as totality, the normally silver colored Moon is transformed into
an orb of orange or red.  The Moon will be totally eclipsed for
approximately 53 minutes.  The middle of the eclipse occurs at 10:40pm.

    At 11:06pm, the Moon starts to leave the Earth's darker shadow and
gradually, more and more of our lunar companion is revealed.  The most
noticeable portions of the eclipse come to an end just after midnight at
12:17am, when the Moon departs the Earth's central shadow.  Ansteorra is
treated to two lunar eclipses this year.  The next takes place on the
evening of Saturday, November 8, 2003.

    What equipment is required for observing a lunar eclipse?  Unlike
solar eclipses that require special filters, lunar eclipses are
perfectly safe to observe with your eyes, binoculars, or a low
powered telescope.  Just sit back and enjoy the show!

"Keep watching the skies!"
Sir Emrys Shaunnon
Astronomer Baronial of Bjornsborg

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