20 Feb 2008 Total Lunar Eclipse
Courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEmono/TLE2008Feb21/TLE2008Feb21.html)
What: Total Lunar Eclipse observing
Where: at the UMD Observatory
When: 20 Feb 2008, 9-11pm WEATHER-PERMITTING!
There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse visible in the region on the evening of 20 Feb. This is on our regular Open House night!!
- Do I have to come to the Observatory to see the eclipse?
No!! Lunar Eclipses occur at full moon, so if you can see the full moon, you'll be able to see the eclipse. You don't need any special filters like for a solar eclipse. You don't need a telescope. Just your eyes and maybe a pair of binoculars. The eclipse is a slow process -- we are watching the moon move through the Earth's shadow. So if you have an open area in your yard or near your home, or even a window with a view, that might be better.
- I want to come for the Open House and see the Lunar Eclipse. What do I do?
The regular Open House program starts at 8pm, so you want to arrive shortly before 8 (say between 7:40 and 7:55pm!). Please do not arrive any earlier as we have other activities going on and do not have space. Try to carpool. At about 7:50, we'll open the lecture hall to guests and we'll start the presentation on time at 8pm. Following the lecture, guests will have an opportunity to tour the telescopes and observe through them at various other objects. At about 8:45pm, you'll start to see the eclipse.
- I only want to come for the eclipse. What do I do?
If you only want to see the eclipse, watch the moon the night before. If you can easily see it from your home, consider watching the eclipse from home. If you really want to come to the observatory, then... plan on arriving no earlier than 8:30pm. Try to carpool. Our parking lot will likely be very full already, so you may want to HEAD DIRECTLY to the overflow lot across the street at Systems Administration. There is a grassy area on the east side of the lecture hall. That is a good spot to lounge and watch the eclipse. We will have some smaller scopes set up there. At about 9pm, we will transition some of the telescopes in the observatory from observing other targets to watching the eclipse.
- Can I bring...??
As many of you know, we don't have much of space at the Observatory! But yes, if you would like to bring your telescope, you may set it up in the grassy area. Be prepared to let others view through your telescope! You may also bring lawn chairs and blankets, food and non-alcoholic beverages. You can also bring your camera(s). Please no smoking or pets!!
- Do I need reservations?
Individuals/families do not need reservations for the Open House program or the eclipse viewing. However, for the Open House, we do have a seating limit of 75. For the eclipse viewing, we will limit the number of people who can enter the observatory at any given time. But there is unlimited (well almost unlimited) space in the grassy area.
- I'm a student at GW attending for extra credit and I'm supposed to come tonight...
Yes, you are! But you are part of the group session. Talk to your classmates and try to carpool as much as possible. We will have a presentation for your group at 7pm so you want to arrive shortly before 7. Following the presentation you'll get to observe some stuff. You'll need to stay past 8:45pm though to see any of the eclipse.
- I'm a student somewhere else and I'm supposed to come tonight...
Have your teacher contact me to let me know what part of the program they expect for you to attend. If you are attending the Open House, you MUST show up on time (shortly before 8pm) to get credit.
- Who do we call to find out if the program is canceled?
No one! The presentation at 8pm (the regular Open House program) will happen even if it is cloudy or raining. The Eclipse Viewing however is dependent on the weather. If it's raining, it's canceled. If it's cloudy, well, then it depends on how cloudy it is! So you'll have to use some judgement on your part. I will try to leave a message on my answering machine (301-405-6555) if we do cancel the eclipse viewing part. NOTE: If we have internet by then (cross your fingers!), we will try to log into a webcast of the eclipse so that we can watch even if it is raining!