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February 2008

Release Date: February 13, 2008

ASU Planetarium to Offer Lunar Eclipse Viewing

Angelo State University’s Planetarium will have telescopes set up to view a total eclipse of the Moon Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the parking lot of the Vincent Nursing-Physical Science Building, 2333 Vanderventer.

The partial lunar eclipse will begin at 7:43 p.m. Feb. 20, with the total eclipse starting at 9:01 p.m. and ending at 9:51 p.m. Weather permitting, ASU and the San Angelo Astronomy Association will have telescopes available for the free public viewing.

During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon's disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance, from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and even, on rare occasions, very dark gray. An eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth's shadow. The shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer shadow, or penumbra, is a zone where Earth blocks only some of the Sun's rays. In contrast, the inner shadow, or umbra, is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.

For more information, call Dr. Mark Sonntag in the ASU Planetarium at 942-2136.