MTSU opens observatory to public for Jan. 20 total lunar eclipse viewing

Weather permitting, the MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy will welcome the public for the Sunday, Jan. 20, total lunar eclipse at the university’s observatory on campus.

Visitors are welcome from 9 to 11:45 p.m. if the weather is clear, said professor Chuck Higgins, who added there will not be any formal talk or program, just observing. Current forecasts call for chilly temperatures Sunday and passing clouds.

A partial eclipse will begin at 9:33 CT. The total eclipse begins at 10:41 and ends at 11:43. A second partial eclipse ends at 12:50 a.m.

NASA is calling this eclipse a “super blood moon” because of the resulting reddish hue of the full moon.

According to nasa.gov, “eclipses can occur when the sun, moon and Earth align. Lunar eclipses can happen only during a full moon, when the moon and the sun are on opposite sides of Earth. At that point, the moon can move into the shadow cast by Earth, resulting in a lunar eclipse. However, most of the time, the moon’s slightly tilted orbit brings it above or below Earth’s shadow.”

The MTSU observatory is located on Old Main Circle next to Wiser-Patten Science Hall and the near the Cope Administration Building. To find the location and parking, visit http://tinyurl.com/MTParkingMap.

MTSU physics and astronomy holds public, primarily spring and fall semester first Friday Star Parties. The first of the spring semester will be held Feb. 1. More details will be announced later.

For more information, call 615-898-2130.

MTSU Lunar Eclipse January 2019

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