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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Flandrau hosts festivities for Sunday’s supermoon eclipse

    PH2(AW/NAC) Scott Taylor
    041027-N-9500T-001 Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. (Oct. 27, 2004) – The moon turns red and orange during a total lunar eclipse. With the Earth passing between the sun and the moon, the only light hitting the full moon was from the home planet’s sunrises and sunsets, resulting in the orange and red hue. The next total lunar eclipse won’t be till March 2007. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Scott Taylor (RELEASED)

    The UA Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium kicked off its first ever Moon Week last Friday. This Sunday marks its dramatic conclusion: Lunar Eclipse Night.

    A supermoon lunar eclipse will darken the sky on Sunday and be visible to everyone in the Tucson area. During this time, the moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth and appear visibly red as it refracts blue wavelengths of light into the Earth’s atmosphere, leaving the red ones behind. 

    The lunar eclipse will have already started by the time the moon rises over the horizon at 6:10 p.m. and will be in full effect by the time the moon makes it way up into the sky at 7:12 p.m. It is estimated to reach its full peak around 7:47 p.m. before ending around 9:27 p.m.

    The eclipse will be even more special because the moon will be at its closest point to the Earth in its orbit, meaning it will be considered a supermoon and will appear larger and brighter in the sky.

    During the Lunar Eclipse Night, which runs from 5-10 p.m., attendees can expect to watch the eclipsed moon rise over the horizon using telescopes set up by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and UA Astronomy Club on the lawn, and also from video feeds that will broadcast live from UA’s Mount Lemmon SkyCenter. For $5 per individual admission, attendees will have access to the entire science center and planetarium, which will contain additional moon-themed information in honor of Moon Week, as well as access to all additional activities and presentations.

    From 5-6:30 p.m., the doors to the theater will open, where live footage of the eclipse from the SkyCenter will broadcast. After this, talks will be given every other hour on subjects related to the moon by planetary science experts. There will be a variety of things to do in between talks, including watching the documentary “Desert Moon,” which talks about the involvement of UA scientists in the space race, as well as an “edible crater” activity, in which honey and peanut butter will be used to demonstrate how craters are formed on the moon.

    The purpose of the event, according to Flandrau Director Michael Magee, “[Is] to get people out to look up at the wonders of the sky, one of the most visible of which is the moon.” 

    The event is open to people of all ages, and groups of friends and families are more than welcome to set up blankets on the lawn to enjoy the lunar eclipse and informative talks. “Trust me, there are a lot of facts to know about the moon,” Magee said.

    Flandrau is located on the UA campus, on the northeast corner of Cherry Avenue and University Boulevard. It is one block from the Second Street and Cherry Avenue SunLink Tucson Modern Streetcar stop and has several bike racks nearby for those who will bike to the event. More information can be found at or by phone at 520-621-4516. Free parking will be available, and guests are encouraged to park in the Cherry Avenue Parking Garage.

    Follow Cheyne White on Twitter.

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