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Monday, April 14, 2014

A Perfect Night Sky TONIGHT!

Did you know that today is “National Look Up At The Sky Day”?  And if you aren’t under clouds, it is a fantastic night to be looking up!  (Unfortunately, I think an interesting celestial event is a cloud magnet for this area.  We are predicted to have 36* temps and ice pellets for tonight.  Grrrrrrrrr!!!)

But if you are blessed with a clear sky, here’s what you could see…

A perfect total eclipse of the moon.  Everything is lined up just so to give one of the darkest eclipse in recent history… and the chance of a stunning ‘blood moon’.  Have your cameras ready!

In central time zone, the show starts around 11:50pm tonight.  However, it gets exciting after midnight… at 12:57am CDT to be exact.  That is when the moon slides into the deepest shadows and that is when it can turn beautiful colors.

At 2:06am CDT, the moon will move into TOTAL darkness.  This time is a long phase eclipse and it will be dark for an hour and a half.  End of totality is at 3:25am when it will pop out with a bright white sliver.  And at 4:33am the show is over.

But there is still more to see tonight!

During the eclipse the bright star you see near the moon is Spica.  To the right (west) is bright Mars.  It is at its closest in years.  If you have a small telescope you can probably see the polar caps!  To the left is yellow Saturn.

And we’re not done yet!

Tonight is also the peak for the April Fireballs!  They are big and beautiful, with long tails.  Some can explode in the air and some have even come on in as meteorites!!  But time to observe is after midnight… while you are watching the eclipse.

And finally…though you won’t be able to see it… is a near Earth flyby of Asteroid 2011 GW9! 

I really, really hope the sky opens up for me tonight!!!!

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