Full Lunar Eclipse
On April 15th the majority of North America will be treated to a spectacular full Lunar eclipse, this occurs when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun.
The viewing time for this celestial treat will occur at a reasonable hour for once – so for us Vancouverites here in Sunny Canada will be able to watch the show from from the start time at 9.55pm when the Earth’s shadow begins to darken the moon. Totality occurs 12.08am – this is by far the most breathtaking moment to witness – the Moon will darken a-lot but will glow with a deep dark red colour as the Earth still reflects the Suns Rays – seeing the Earth eclipse the Sun from the Moons vantage point you would be treated to a darkened globe of the earth with a red fiery Halo circling the earth – which really is an infinite image of the Sun rise and Sun set- quite an awesome trick of the light.
Totality ends at 12.46am as the deep red glow moves over so you just have a more darkened disc of the moon as the larger earth shadow still prevents the full light from the sun penetrating the Lunar landscape. The whole spectacle will all be over by 3.36am. This event is quite a long one as we are luckily enough to be in the direct path of the full eclipse.
This event is also a little rare as it is the first of three Full Eclipses that will happen between now and September 2015. This series is known as a Tetrad of eclipses. The next full eclipse in our part of the world will happen again on October 8th 2014.
For further information on future events: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/canada/vancouver
Other Celestial events this month to watch for.
Planet Mars at opposition.
Carrying on with the Red colour – the month of April also marks the best time to witness the Red planet Mars which sits at opposition where our planet Earth sits directly between the Red Planet and the Sun – this gives us the best viewing of Mars in a couple of years, it will rise at Sunset and set when the Sun rises and should be easily visible in the night sky the whole night!
For further details on the oppsotion of Mars click here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/28mar_opposition/
April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower.
These may not be the strongest of Meteor showers, but with patience you may get to see some pretty bright streaks across the sky, especially if you are in a location that is away from the bright street lights.
These showers happen every April as the Earth swings around the Sun on its orbit and during this part of the year it passes through the dust trail once left by the long-period Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.
The actual event lasts around a week – but the dates of April 22 and 23rd will be the peak times to watch the show.
For further information on the Lyrids: http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1204/19lyrids/
Airing on right now is a great TV show called COSMOS which is a reworking of the original TV series from 1980 that was concieved by Carl Sagan – the new updated version is now airing every Sunday and presented by Neil Tyson Degrasse
Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey Link: http://www.cosmosontv.com/
If Science and Space is your cup of tea then you really should be heading to Telus World of Science aka Scienceworld and the H.R. Macmillan Space museum.
Telus World of Science http://www.scienceworld.ca/
H.R. Macmillan Space museum. http://www.spacecentre.ca/