Space Moon Viewing

Knights Under the Stars

By: Zenaida Kotala on

Pack a blanket, bring some snacks and head to UCF’s Memory Mall on Sunday, Jan. 20, for a front-row seat of 2019’s first total lunar eclipse.

“That’s something that won’t happen again here until May 2022,” said Yan Fernandez, a physics professor and director of UCF’s Robinson Observatory. “It’s a pretty cool event regardless. This particular eclipse also happens to occur when the moon is at its closest to the Earth, which some people call a ‘super moon.’ The total eclipse itself gets called a ‘blood moon’ since it’s casting that reddish hue while in Earth’s shadow. And because it is happening in January, the Farmers’ Almanac calls it a ‘wolf moon.’ But whatever you call it, watching the moon change color as it creeps its way through the shadow is a terrific sight.”

The observatory, the Library, and the student-run Astronomy Society are hosting the free public event on the main campus to give the community an opportunity to take it all in.  Telescopes and volunteers will be ready to help the public find the best view of the moon and answer questions.

In addition, there will be one telescope set up with a camera feed that will be projected on a screen so experts can share specific features of the moon with the public. Weather permitting, other planets or star systems may be visible as well.

The eclipse totality is expected to last from 11:45 p.m. Sunday to 12:45 a.m. Monday. Weather permitting, volunteers will be on hand from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. The eclipse begins about 11:30 p.m.

For weather updates, follow the observatory on Facebook or Twitter. If you’re unable to make it to this event, keep an eye on the Robinson Observatory website for more upcoming events.

To help get you ready for the event, the John C. Hitt Library on the main campus will host two activities on Thursday, Jan. 17. From noon to 3 p.m. the public can visit the main floor of the library and visit a craft table to create a moon-phase calendar, which helps track the phases of the moon. Then at 3:30 p.m., join Assistant Professor Adrienne Dove, who will present “New Insights into an Old Moon.” The one-hour talk will be held in Room 223. For more information about these events click here.

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