Settlemyre Planetarium ready for April 15 lunar eclipse

From staff reportsApril 9, 2014 

  • Time for a moon dance

    The following are times for the stages of the April 15 eclipse:

    12:53 a.m. – The moon contacts the penumbra.

    1:58 a.m. – The moon contacts the umbra; the partial phase of the eclipse begins; the eastern side of the moon darkens noticeably.

    3:07 a.m. – The moon completely enters the umbra; the total phase of the eclipse begins; the moon turns completely dark.

    3:46 a.m. – The eclipse is halfway complete.

    4:25 a.m. – The moon begins to emerge from the umbra; the total phase is over.

    5:33 a.m. – The moon completely clears the umbra; the partial phase ends.

    6:38 a.m. – The moon clears the penumbra.

— There will be a total eclipse of the moon in the early hours of April 15.

In anticipation of the eclipse, Settlemyre Planetarium Manager Carole Holmberg will share her expertise on what occurs when the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow.

Holmberg’s 10-minute lunar eclipse presentation will precede the full-dome planetarium show “Back to the Moon for Good” until April 14. A 25-minute film about the Google Lunar XPRIZE, “Back to the Moon for Good” is presented at 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through June 6.

After April 15, the next total lunar eclipse visible from the Carolinas will occur Oct. 28.

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes into Earth’s shadow. Because of the tilt of the moon’s orbit, the moon usually passes above or below the shadow Earth projects away from the sun. At certain times during the year, the moon is aligned with Earth and sun, and eclipses are possible.

Eclipses of the moon occur in stages related to the parts of Earth’s shadow. The penumbra is the lighter, outer part of Earth’s shadow. It surrounds the darker inner part of the shadow, the umbra.

Because the moon will pass through the southern half of Earth’s shadow, the northern half of the moon should appear darker than the southern half. A number of bright stars and planets are well-placed for viewing during totality, most noticeably the bright star Spica, just 2 degrees west of the moon, and the even brighter planet Mars, less than 10 degrees northwest of the moon.

The Settlemyre’s family-friendly planetarium shows are included with admission to the Museum of York County. Admission is free to Cultural and Heritage Museum members. The Museum of York County is at 4621 Mt. Gallant Road in Rock Hill. For more information, go to www.chmuseums.org or call 803-329-2121.

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