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If cloud hampered your last opportunity to watch the Moon disappear, you’re in luck. The Solar System is providing Kiwis with another spectacular view of a lunar eclipse, weather permitting of course.
This second eclipse for 2014 makes up part of a tetrad of lunar eclipses, the remaining two occurring in April and September 2015. It’s important to make the most of October’s eclipse because the April 2015 eclipse is very short (only a few minutes long ) and the September 2015 eclipse is not visible in New Zealand.
Total lunar eclipses have been labelled ‘Blood Moons’ for their reddish tint. This effect is actually caused by the air around us. While the Moon is in total shadow, some light from the Sun passes through the dusty atmosphere around Earth and is bent towards the Moon. Not all colours in the spectrum make it through the atmosphere but colours from the red end of the spectrum do. A similar effect can be observed at sunrise and sunset when we are treated to beautiful red, orange and pink sunsets.
This eclipse will be easier to find than the previous event, but you’ll have to stay up late to catch it. Maximum eclipse occurs at 11.55pm, when the Moon is high in the sky. Find yourself a clear, dark location and observe the wonderful phenomenon of the disappearing Moon.
Event Time in Auckland
Penumbral Eclipse begins 8 October 9.17pm
Partial Eclipse begins 8 October 10.18pm
Full Eclipse begins 8 October 11.27pm
Maximum Eclipse 8 October 11.55pm
Full Eclipse ends 9 October 12.22am
Partial Eclipse ends 9 October 1.32am
Penumbral Eclipse ends 9 October 2.32am
Stardome is hosting a special night for those wanting to learn more about lunar eclipses. For a $2 donation you will see a special lunar eclipse planetarium show, plus public viewing of the night sky through our courtyard telescopes. See our website for further details: www.stardome.org.nz