Professor: Lunar eclipse a rare show

  Thursday, September 24, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Professor: Lunar eclipse a rare show

One doesn’t have to be an astronomy buff to appreciate the lunar eclipse on tap for Sunday night.

“The lunar eclipse this Sunday is notable because it occurs when the Moon is near perigee, its closest point to Earth,” said David Kuehn, a University Professor and interim chair of the Department of Physics at Pittsburg State University. “The so-called ‘supermoon’ looks bigger because it is closer to Earth.”

Kuehn holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from PSU and a Ph.D. in astronomy from New Mexico State University.

Because this will be a total eclipse, it will also produce what is often called a “blood moon.” That refers to the reddish color the moon takes on when the Sun’s rays pass through Earth’s atmosphere on their way to the moon.

It all makes for a pretty rare event.

“The coincidence of a full moon at perigee and a lunar eclipse doesn't happen that often,” Kuehn said. “The last one happened more than 30 years ago and the next one will be in 18 years.”

Observers won’t need special equipment to enjoy the light show, Kuehn said, although ambient city lights may make it less dramatic in urban areas than in the open countryside.

For skywatchers in the Four-State area, the eclipse will begin at 8:07 p.m. It will be at it’s maximum point at 9:47 p.m. and will end at 11:27.

For more information from NASA



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