During Sunday night's Lunar Eclipse, nearly 100 students visited the Middlesex Observatory for a viewing party. The moon entered Earth's umbra (dark part of the shadow) at 9:07 pm, and many students watched and waited patiently until it was completely within the shadow at 10:11 pm. At that time, the refracted light from the Sun made the moon look red, and, almost as impressively, made the skies darken enough to make the milky way visible despite the full moon.
We don't make too much of the "super moon" that was all over the media; the moon, is, of course, always the same size, and the fact that it appears a little bit larger and brighter due to its position at the perigee of its elliptical orbit for this eclipse probably isn't that noticeable to most viewers.
Many thanks to Skip Pass, our observatory technician, for keeping everything in working order. There is an overnight video from our all-sky camera from the night on his website: http://www.rppass.com/MX/.
- Ms. May, physics & astronomy teacher
Sunday Night's Lunar Eclipse, as captured by the MX Observatory Camera
Written by erikamills on September 28th 2015