The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission invites the public to an up-close view of the first total lunar eclipse in nearly three years tonight at the Commission’s William D. McDowell Observatory.
The free, all-ages program begins at 11:30 p.m. with an information session on eclipses. Visitors will have a chance to view the eclipse and the night sky through the Observatory’s state-of-the art 20-inch-diameter telescope.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon completely passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon. As a result the moon is cast in spectacular shades of red and orange.
More information folllows.
More common partial lunar eclipses take place when only a portion of the moon is blocked by the Earth’s shadow. A total lunar eclipse is a unique event; it marks the only time when the entire Moon will pass into the Earth’s shadow. The last total lunar eclipse occurred on Feb. 20, 2008.
The upcoming total lunar eclipse, weather permitting, is scheduled to begin at 12:27 a.m. The total eclipse will happen at 3:17 a.m.
Check-in for the viewing session is at the NJMC Center for Environmental and Scientific Education, located adjacent to the Observatory.
The program will be canceled if the skies are cloudy. The public should call 201-460-8300 on the night of the event for weather-related updates.
The William D. McDowell Observatory is located in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, the home of the NJMC. Visitors to the Observatory must be able to climb 25 steps, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Directions to the park are located in the lefthand column of this blog. For more information call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.