Lunar eclipse visible from campus

A viewing for the last total lunar eclipse visible in Fort Worth until 2010 will occur tonight, an astronomy instructor said.

Instead of eclipsing in the early hours of the morning as it did during the last eclipse in August, the earth will cast its full shadow on the moon at about 9:30 p.m., making it particularly well-suited for viewing in Fort Worth, said Mike Fanelli, instructor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

TCU has arranged an event for people to view the red glow around the moon as it is totally eclipsed, said Doug Ingram, professor of astronomy and event organizer.

Ingram said he usually invites his students to view events such as lunar eclipses or comets that pass by, but because this eclipse is going to be so clear and visible, he felt he should open an invitation to the public.

“I think that whenever there is something that happens in Fort Worth or surrounding areas, people look to TCU for leadership, so I felt I should get something together for the public so they could witness this rare event,” Ingram said.

Mark Bloom, a biology instructor, said he plans on attending the event because he never took astronomy and is always interested in what people have to say about eclipses.

“There are lots of misconceptions out there about what causes a lunar eclipse, and most people’s explanations would mean that an eclipse should happen with every lunar revolution, but that is simply not the case,” Bloom said.

The moon will not be the only attraction, however, as viewers will also be able to see Saturn and the bright star Regulus, which makes up the heart of the constellation Leo.

Kelsi Woods, a freshman political science major, said she is attending the event because she has never seen Saturn, and she thought the event would be a perfect opportunity because of the available telescopes.

Lunar eclipses happen about once every six months, but they are not visible from everywhere on earth. The lunar eclipse happening next August will not be seen in the United States, but will be visible in the Middle East area, Ingram said.

The event will begin with a question-and-answer discussion led by Ingram. In the discussion, Ingram said he plans on giving a lecture about eclipses and describing to the audience what they can expect to see.

Participants will then be led to the courtyard area in front of the Mary Couts Burnett Library, Ingram said, where binoculars and telescopes provided by the university and other volunteers will be available once the moon begins to eclipse.

For Your Info

7 p.m. today
Lecture Hall 2
Sid Richardson Building