Viewing Sunday Night’s Lunar Eclipse

By: Tim Studebaker

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WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Tucked away in the woods on the CCRI Warwick campus sits an observatory.  It’s open on Thursday nights for the public to check out the night sky, and they had planned to open this Sunday night as well, for the last total lunar eclipse this decade.  But, the weather forecast for Sunday has put a stop to that.

CCRI Physics Professor Dr. Jack Owens says, “Unfortunately, this year, mother nature is not cooperating.”

Whether we can see it or not, the eclipse is going to happen as Earth casts its shadow on the moon.  The partial phase begins at 10:34 Sunday night with totality from 11:41pm to 12:43am. The partial phase ends at 1:50am.

Owens says, “The eclipse itself takes place pretty slowly.”

On social media you may see extra words in posts about the eclipse, like “blood,” “super,” and “wolf.”

Blood moon refers to the moon’s red color during an eclipse.

Owens says, “The atmosphere scatters the blue light and allows the red light to go through.”

Super moons happen when the moon is closest to the earth in its orbit.

Owens says, “The moon has an orbit that is not perfectly circular.”

And what about “wolf?”

Owens says, “The native Americans gave the full moons of the different months names.  The one in January got the name of the ‘wolf’ moon.”

All three coincide this Sunday night.

You can find more information about the upcoming eclipse, as well as a link to view a live stream from a cloud-free region here: http://ahs1.ccri.edu/observatory/LunarEclipse.php

If you miss it, the next total lunar eclipse is in May of 2021.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019