The lunar eclipse will be visible in Missouri on Sunday
Amateur astronomers in Missouri and Illinois will watch the skies late Sunday evening for a glimpse of a late evening lunar eclipse.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth, Sun, and Moon align directly. The moon often appears reddish-orange as it moves slowly through Earth’s shadow, due to sunlight scattering through the upper parts of the atmosphere and refracting off the moon’s surface. Lunar eclipses occur regularly every year, but not all are visible in North America.
If the sky is clear, the eclipse will be visible around 9:30 p.m. and will peak about 90 minutes later.
During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth is sandwiched between the sun and the moon. As the sun shines on one side of Earth, it creates a “cone of darkness” on the moon, said Rich Heuermann of the Astronomical Society of Saint-Louis.
“What you’ll start to see is a dark slice at the edge of the moon, and that little slice will get bigger and bigger, until the moon is totally covered,” said Heuermann, a former deputy director of the McDonnell Planetarium in St. Louis. .
Although nicknamed the “blood moon” for its brilliant red hue, the moon’s color can vary depending on the composition of particles in Earth’s atmosphere.
The moon will be completely darkened for about an hour and a half, starting at 10:30 p.m. – a period known as totality. The eclipse will end just before 1 a.m. Monday.
“If you have a clear view to the south, just look out the back door and observe for a few minutes,” said Heuermann, also a retired member of the University of Washington’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “If you’re where the sky is dark, when the moon is in Earth’s shadow, the whole sky darkens and the stars come out brighter.”
Lunar eclipse viewing events on Sunday:
Jefferson College Observatory, 9873 Farm Road, Hillsboro, Missouri. The event starts at 9 p.m. and is open to the public. Members of the St. Louis Astronomical Society will provide telescopes. Event information available on the St. Louis Astronomical Society website.
Broemmelsiek Park Astronomy Site, 1593 Schwede Road, Challenge. The Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri will host a public lunar eclipse event, beginning at 9 p.m. The site offers 10 viewing stations in a remote section of the park with limited light pollution. More information and itineraries available here.
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