Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Bay Area residents prepare for red moon rising

Photo courtesy Nasa.gov

By Maya Strausberg

February 20, 2008

Bay Area residents will get an astronomical feast for the eyes tonight as a total lunar eclipse graces the eastern horizon of the sky.

By the time the moon is visible at about 5:45 p.m., it will already be partially eclipsed. The moon will become totally eclipsed at 7:01 p.m. and will reappear at 7:51 p.m.

Ryan Turner, an astronomer at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Berkeley, explained today that sky gazers will be dazzled by the red hue the moon will take on during the eclipse.

"The moon turns red because the light of the sun filters through the earth's atmosphere," he said. He added that if there was no atmosphere, the moon would be totally black during the eclipse, but the atmosphere allows light to retract around Earth.

In addition to the beautiful color, the moon will also have some company in the sky thanks to Saturn and the bright star Regulus. Turner said the bright lights will appear next to the moon, making an already stunning view even more unique.

The eclipse will be visible to the naked eye but the changes will be more rapidly visible with binoculars or a telescope.

Unlike during a meteor shower, it is unnecessary to get away from bright lights to see the astronomical event because the moon is so bright.

More important is a clear eastern exposure, Tuner said, and possibly a little altitude because the moon will stay low in the sky.

He said places like Inspiration Point on Wildcat Canyon Road at Tilden Regional Park north of Berkeley in unincorporated Alameda County would allow for a fantastic view but will most likely be crowded.

Museums and parks throughout the area will offer telescopes, hikes and lectures regarding the moon passing into the Earth's shadow.

San Francisco's Randall Museum will hold a viewing and a lecture on "moonology" beginning at 7 p.m. Those interested in attending can call (415) 554-9600 or go to www.randallmuseum.org.

The Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is offering a lunar hike from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. that will lead to the ridge top olive groves. Anyone who would like to hike the 1.5 mile-trail needs to register by calling (510) 562-PARK or going to www.ebparks.org.

Helen Putnam Regional Park in Petaluma will also hold an eclipse hike with Santa Rosa Junior College Planetarium Director Ed Megill. Hikers can meet at the Oxford Court entrance at 6:30 p.m. and expect to be back by 8:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (707) 565-2730.

Local events, especially those taking place outside, may be affected by lousy weather. Rain showers are possible throughout the Bay Area and cloudy skies are nearly certain tonight.

Chabot Space & Science Center spokesman Robert Ade said they are hoping for a break in the clouds during their Red Moon Rising event from 5 to 8 p.m. But if the weather doesn't cooperate, the center will show a webcast from elsewhere.

The next total lunar eclipse visible from North America will be Dec. 20, 2010, according to Tuner.




Copyright © 2008 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa