Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Look up for Aug. 28's moon eclipse

LAKE COUNTY If you lived 1,000 years or so ago, the morning of Aug. 28 would terrify you.

You would see the full moon being slowly eaten by some hideous, unseen creature a very bad omen indeed! Will the earth be next? What will happen to us?

Our scientific knowledge back then, or lack thereof, gave rise to many frightening explanations for what will be seen.

Today, we have a better understanding of what causes the celestial event that will occur on Tuesday morning. It's an eclipse of the moon, and in Lake County we'll have a marvelous view of it – providing you're able to stay up late, or get up early, depending on your schedule.

The eclipse will begin around 1:20 a.m. It will be at maximum at 3:30 a.m., and will end around 6 a.m.

A lunar eclipse happens when the earth is between the sun and the moon, and the Earth's shadow is cast on the moon.

The diagram below shows how this happens.


A diagram provided by www.mreclipse.com.


Lunar eclipses occur several times a year. They can only be seen from specific parts of the Earth – this month's eclipse won't be visible from Europe, for example.

The next eclipse we'll be able to see will happen on Feb. 21, 2008. After that one, we'll have to wait until December 2010.

So, this month's eclipse may not happen at a convenient time, but it's an event well worth setting your alarm for or staying up to watch.


John Zimmerman has been an amateur astronomer for 50 years. He is a member of the Taylor Observatory staff, where, among his many duties, he helps create planetarium shows.




An example of a lunar eclipse from earlier this year.

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