Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, October 06, 2014

Here's hoping for good weather

Total Lunar Eclipse on Wednesday: The Complete Skywatcher's Guide

Total Lunar Eclipse On Wednesday Will Be a Rare 'Selenelion'
Observers of Wednesday morning's total lunar eclipse might be able to catch sight of an extremely rare cosmic sight.

On Oct. 8, Interested skywatchers should attempt to see the total eclipse of the moon and the rising sun simultaneously. The little-used name for this effect is called a "selenelion," a phenomenon that celestial geometry says cannot happen.

And indeed, during a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky. In a perfect alignment like this (called a "syzygy"), such an observation would seem impossible. But thanks to Earth's atmosphere, the images of both the sun and moon are apparently lifted above the horizon by atmospheric refraction. This allows people on Earth to see the sun for several extra minutes before it actually has risen and the moon for several extra minutes after it has actually set.
I live on the western area of the Eastern Time Zone, so there's a chance I could actually see the moon in eclipse as the sun rises. I'll definitely plan on getting up and ready earlier than usual so I can enjoy it, if possible. :)

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