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April 8, 2014 > Lunar eclipse viewing party

Lunar eclipse viewing party

Submitted By Autumn King

On the evening of Monday, April 14, a 3.5 hour lunar eclipse is the feature of a special viewing party at Chabot Space & Science Center. Beginning a little before 11 p.m. (PDT), the eclipse will end around 2:33 a.m. Tuesday, April 15.

Chabot is hosting special open viewing hours for this astronomical black-out. Staff astronomers and observatory specialists will be on hand for Q&A, informal presentations, and general conversation. Hot chocolate and treats will be sold and visitors are encouraged to bundle up, bring warm blankets and comfy seats or sleeping bags, and enjoy the view from the top of the hill.

The penumbra, the moment our Moon enters EarthÕs outer shadow, begins at 9:53 p.m. Visually, there will not be too much to see at that point as the shadowÕs effect on the MoonÕs appearance will be minimal. However, according to staff astronomer Conrad Jung, Òabout 30 to 45-minutes later, when the Moon is deeper into the penumbra, one might notice that the left side - the eastern side- of the Moon is darker relative to the opposite side.Ó

The shadow will become increasingly visible as the night progresses. The umbra phase, when the Moon starts to enter EarthÕs inner shadow, begins at about 10:58 p.m. At that point, with the help of a telescope, one can see a dramatically darker feature of the EarthÕs umbra. ItÕs at this point that the partial phases of the eclipse will begin.

Just after midnight, at 12:06 a.m., Tuesday, April 15 the eclipse will reach totality. By that time, the Moon will be completely immersed in EarthÕs inner shadow. Viewing will be quite easy with the naked eye. Over the next 80 minutes, the Moon will emerge from totality.

As long as the skies are clear, Chabot Space & Science Center is an excellent location to view this kind of astronomical phenomenon. Later in the year, the Center will highlight two additional eclipses: lunar on October 8, and solar on October 23.

The deck will open at 9 p.m. for a special presentation about the eclipse. For more information on purchasing tickets, call the box office at (510) 336-7373.

Total Lunar Eclipse
Monday, Apr 14
9 p.m. Ð 3 a.m. (eclipse peak at 12:45 a.m.)
Chabot Space & Science Center
10000 Skyline Blvd, Oakland
(510) 336-7373
Tickets: $12 general/members, children 1 and under free (Does not include admission to the Center - Center closes at 5 p.m.)

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