Moon to be eclipsed for second time this year

By Christina Williams
October 30, 2003

Toccara Buckley

As students walk outside at approximately 9:30 p.m., on Nov. 8, they will get a chance to see a total lunar eclipse. This will be the second lunar eclipse of the year. The last total lunar eclipse took place on Thursday, May 15, 2003.

The first recorded eclipse was thousands of years ago, between the years 3000 and 4000 B.C.

Eclipses only happen when someone on the globe can see them. Therefore, eclipses are not happening all the time.

There are several stages to an eclipse. The first stage is when the moon enters the Earth’s penumbra. However, the total eclipse happens when the moon enters the Earth’s umbra.

There can never be more than two eclipses in any given year, according to Dr. Joseph Smith, astrology professor.

“The only way we could have more then two eclipses per year would be if the moon were about five degrees out of coplanarity with the orbital plane of the Earth around the sun,” Smith said. This means if the alignment is not correct then there could be multiple eclipses.

Dr. Smith said, “There will come a day when total lunar eclipses will not be seen because the moon is slowly moving away from the Earth.” The explanation Dr. Smith gave for the moon is moving away from the Earth in small increments was “In order to conserve angular momentum.” An example of this concept would be to imagine a top spinning. Just before the top starts to fall over the spinning gradually slows down.

Most students do not know that there is an eclipse coming. When Jen Doyle, early-childhood education major, said, “I didn’t know about the eclipse until just now. I’m not sure if I’ll go see it but I am interested in astronomy and all its aspects.”

Junior Mary Hazel, communication major, said, “I didn’t even know there was an eclipse. Chances are I will be out and about and will forget to look for the eclipse.” Denise Saveoz, early-childhood/elementary education major, said, “I had no idea there was an eclipse. I might look for it but it’s ok if I miss it because I’ve seen one before.”

Posted to the Web by: Toccara Buckley

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Christina Williams

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