Thursday May 15/16, 2003 this week, the full moon will rise in total eclipse. Unlike a total eclipse of the Sun, the Moon doesn't completely disappear from view, but turns an intriguing shade of red and orange due to particles in the Earth's atmosphere. Because the moon will rise (around 8pm) in eclipse, you won't get to see it go from white to orange and back, but you can still catch the 'orange and back' stage. The phase when the moon appears darkest (because the shadow of the Earth falls right on the Moon) will end around 9pm when the moon will start to return to its beautiful full moon glory.
See: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/12may_lunareclipse.htm?list787402 for a cute story, a fun animation about the view as seen from the moon (it is a solar eclipse if you were there...) and more information about this particular lunar eclipse.
While you are contemplating astronomy things, don't miss out on an opportunity to put your name in space. Now through Jan. 2004, you and all your friends and relatives can send your names to a comet aboard the Deep Space Impact mission. This spacecraft is destined to collide with a comet in 2005. This collision will help us learn more about the comet and about the formation of the solar system. It will also be darn cool! The link you need is http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/
Sky watchers in North America and South America are favored. Except for Alaska and some remote areas in Canada, the eclipse will be visible from all parts of those two continents. In Europe and Africa, the early stages of the eclipse will be visible for just a while before dawn on May 16th.
The eclipse will not be visible from Australia or most of Asia. Or from the Moon, but that's only because there's no one there to see it ... not yet.
Source: Zodiac Webster: [email protected] - Dept. of Physics - California State University, San Bernardino
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