You are invited to view a total lunar eclipse from Homestead National Monument of America on September 27, 2015 starting at 8 p.m, at the Homestead Heritage Center parking lot. The Prairie Astronomy Club, from Lincoln, Nebraska, will be here with two telescopes to offer close ups of the moon and stars. Bring your own chair, binoculars and dress warm. The eclipse will start at 8:07, the total eclipse occurs at 9:47, and will end by 11:27 p.m.
Some fun facts: Total lunar eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth and Moon form a straight line. The technical term for this is syzygy, which comes from the Greek word for being paired together. The Earth blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon and the Sun is behind the Earth, so the Sun's light casts the Earth's shadow on the Moon. This shadow covers the entire Moon and causes a total lunar eclipse.
Why a "blood moon?" The Earth's atmosphere removes or blocks parts of the sunlight's spectrum leaving only the longer wavelengths visible, the red ones. The amount of dust particles, water droplets, clouds and mist in the atmosphere can all have an effect on the shade of red, orange or even gold.
If you were on the moon during a total lunar eclipse, you would see a red ring around the Earth. In effect, you'll be seeing all the sunrises and sunsets taking place at that specific moment on Earth!
This particular eclipse is that it is the last of a lunar tetrad. While total lunar eclipses are usually rare, usually about four to five can be seen over a decade, every once in a while four total lunar eclipses happen in a row. This is called a lunar tetrad. The total lunar eclipses happen 6 months apart and there are at least six full Moons between two total lunar eclipses in a tetrad.
"The parking lot at the Heritage Center is a great place for moon and star viewing. This unique phenomenon doesn't happen often, so we hope you will join us onSeptember 27, 2015," said Superintendent Mark Engler.
Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2015. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM), Facebook (HomesteadNM), and Instagram (HomesteadNPS).
Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska and 45 miles south of Lincoln. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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Last updated: September 18, 2015