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You Don’t Want To Miss Wednesday’s Lunar Eclipse

On October 8th  (this Wednesday), sky watchers should see a rare cosmic sight.  At around 6:25 am in Columbus, a total lunar eclipse will occur. While that event alone is enough to spark someone’s interest, an unusual effect known as a selenelion will also occur.

This is a phenomenon of which people can see the total eclipse of the moon and the rising sun simultaneously. Theoretically, this should be impossible because the two celestial bodies are exactly 180 degrees apart. But because of the Earth’s atmosphere, the images of the sun and the moon are lifted above the horizon by atmospheric refraction. This allows for people on Earth to see the moon a couple minutes after it has actually set and see the sun a couple minutes before it has actually risen. This gives Columbus about a 2-10 minute window to view this novelty.

A lunar eclipse is caused by the sun’s light diffracting through the Earth’s atmosphere and lighting up the moon on the other side.  This causes the moon to give off a coppery orange glow, which can be viewed in totality for a few hours.  A lunar eclipse also comes in pairs with solar eclipses.  As a result, a partial solar eclipse will be visible on October 23rd.

But solar eclipses are only viewable by certain parts of the world and often require special eye equipment.  So this Wednesday morning, walk outside before school and try to catch a glimpse of this rare event.

Written by Tristan Rhee’17


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