Last Total Lunar Eclipse until 2010 Tonight

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LOS ANGELES - The last total lunar eclipse until 2010 occurs Wednesday night, with cameo appearances by Saturn and the bright star Regulus on either side of the veiled full moon.

Skywatchers viewing through a telescope will have the added treat of seeing Saturn's handsome rings.

Weather permitting, the total eclipse can be seen from North and South America. People in Europe and Africa will be able to see it high in the sky before dawn on Thursday.

As the moonlight dims — it won't go totally dark — Saturn and Regulus will pop out and sandwich the moon. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo.

Jack Horkheimer, host of the PBS show "Star Gazer," called the event "the moon, the lord of the rings and heart of the lion eclipse."

Wednesday's event will be the last total lunar eclipse until Dec. 20, 2010. Last year there were two.

The weather could be a spoiler for many in the United States. Cloudy skies are expected for most of the Western states with a chance of snow from the heartland to the East Coast, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.

"It looks like it's going to be a hard one to spot," Seto said.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes into Earth's shadow and is blocked from the sun's rays that normally illuminate it. During an eclipse, the sun, Earth and moon line up, leaving a darkened moon visible to observers on the night side of the planet.

The moon doesn't go black because indirect sunlight still reaches it after passing through the Earth's atmosphere. Since the atmosphere filters out blue light, the indirect light that reaches the moon transforms it into a reddish or orange tinge, depending on how much dust and cloud cover are in the atmosphere at the time.

Wednesday's total eclipse phase will last nearly an hour. Earth's shadow is expected to blot out the moon beginning around 7 p.m. on the West Coast and 10 p.m. on the East Coast. West Coast skygazers will miss the start of the eclipse because it occurs before the moon rises.

Unlike solar eclipses which require protective eyewear, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye.

Later this year, in August, there will be a total solar eclipse and a partial lunar eclipse.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080220/ap_on_sc/lunar_eclipse;_ylt=AurTcXBu6rd8sOvIbuiSgtus0NUE

And as an added bonus - How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse:

Wednesday night drama will unfold in the skies above with a total eclipse of the moon. During a total lunar eclipse the moon can range from bright orange to dark red or brown in color. The partial eclipse will begin at 8:43 p.m. The moon will be totally eclipsed between 10 p.m. to 10:52 p.m. The moon will gradually emerge from the earth's shadow until 12:09AM

This eclipse will be the last total lunar eclipse visible from North America until December 2010.

For skywatchers who want to photograph the eclipse, here are a few quick tips:

Stabilize your camera using as a tripod or other stationary object such as the roof of your car.

The partial eclipse is fairly bright and can be captured with short exposures in the camera's landscape mode, but the fully eclipsed moon is considerably darker and will need an exposure of 2 - 4 seconds depending on your camera.

If your camera does not have manual controls, you can set the camera to night mode and disable the flash which will allow the camera to gather more light during totality.

If you are using a camera that does not have interchangeable lenses, use your optical zoom to zoom in on the moon as much as possible. With a digital camera you have the ability to check your exposure and try again if necessary.

For SLR cameras with interchangeable lenses, use your the longest telephoto lens to make the moons as large as possible.

Set your camera to manual, as the dark sky will fool an automatic exposure.

For the partially eclipsed moon at 100 ISO a shutter speed between 1/60 and 1/250 of a second at F/11 will produce good results.

During totality a shutter speed of around 2 to 4 seconds at F/2.8 will produce vibrant exposure.
Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/orl-bk-lunarphoto022008,0,2589333.story?track=rss
 
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Yup, taking the gf out to watch it. The skies have been clear all day, so hopefully that holds.

Solar eclipses are the ones that you really don't want to miss though, and there hasn't been one around here since I was in grade 5 or so.
 
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These are the ones that don't burn out your retinas right?
 
The Duke of Juke
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Aye Barney. If you have binocs or even a telescope, use them. It's a shame it's so cloudy here, there's this reservoir in the mountains that overlook the city and it'd be beautiful to see it from there.
 
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I have a pretty damn good digital camera, but for something like the moon, I'll need to get a more professional one one day =/









The sky is a very interesting and appealing subject to me.
 
Lost in space
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yeah ive always loved astronomy

that being said, a blood red moon is satisfyingly evil looking.
 

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