Total Lunar Eclipse
Before dawn on the morning of October 8, the Moon will enter the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow (the “umbra”) for a total lunar eclipse. It will begin entering the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow at 3:14 local time, and be completely inside at 4:25. Totality will last until 5:24, and the Moon will be completely outside the umbra by 6:34.
The Moon takes on a pretty orangish-red color during a total eclipse, lit up by every sunset and sunrise from all around the Earth at once. The exact color depends on what’s in the Earth’s atmosphere at the time (such as volcanic ash and dust).
For more details, see this NASA website:
Watch a satellite fly over!
You can watch satellites pass by from your own backyard! Go to the website “Heavens-Above” to find out when and where to look. Here’s how to get pass predictions for your location:
Near the top of the page, select your location by clicking on “from database”. From there click on “United States”, and then type in the name of your town. It knows Alamosa, Monte Vista, Creede, and lots of other towns in and around the San Luis Valley. After you’ve typed in the name of the town, it will show you a list of towns by that name – you just click on the one that’s yours. It will then take you back to the homepage, and you’re ready to find out when to look for satellites!
Click on “10 day predictions for ISS” to find out when you can watch the International Space Station fly by. Under “Iridium Flares”, click on “next 7 days” to learn when and where to look for one of the most impressive satellite pass events there is – they briefly can be 40 times brighter than Venus! Just make sure your watch is set accurately – they are VERY short events. Or, under “Daily predictions for all satellites”, click on “3.5” to get a list of all the brightest satellite passes for your home in one evening.
Other Astronomical Events of Interest
Below is a list of upcoming astronomical events that may be of interest to astronomy enthusiasts. I found these events by perusing Jean Meeus’ “Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon, and Planets” (*), as well as NASA’s eclipse page (http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html), and other web resources.
Date Event Visible From… Time
2014 Oct 8 Total lunar eclipse Alamosa 3:14 – 6:34 am
2015 Apr 4 Total lunar eclipse Alamosa 4:15 – sunrise
2015 Dec 7 Venus occultation Alamosa 2:38 – 3:45
2016 May 9 Mercury transit Alamosa sunrise – 12:44
2017 Aug 21 Total solar eclipse Wyoming/Nebraska 10:23 – 1:12
2019 Nov 11 Mercury Transit Alamosa sunrise – 12:05
I am sure there are events that I have missed. If you know of any, let me know about it, and I’ll investigate.
(*) 2nd ed., ISBN 0-943396-45-X, 1995, Willmann-Bell, Inc. (http://www.willbell.com/)