September 22, 2015

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Observatory Opens Sunday for Lunar Eclipse

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State University Observatory will open to the public from 9 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, Sept. 27, for all ages to catch a glimpse of the total lunar eclipse. Admission is free of charge. 
“This is the last of an unusual ‘tetrad’ of four total lunar eclipses in four successive eclipse ‘seasons’ — April 15, 2014; Oct. 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 27, 2015. We won’t see another total lunar eclipse from Earth until 2018,” said Dr. Kenneth Rumstay, Observatory director.
The total lunar eclipse will be visible from the United States, Canada, South America, most of Europe, and western Africa, Rumstay explained. In Valdosta the partial eclipse will begin at 9:07 p.m., when the moon passes into the dark umbra of Earth’s shadow, he added, and it will take about an hour for the moon to move completely into the umbra and to begin to turn red, as red light passing through Earth’s atmosphere is bent into the moon’s path. The reddish eclipsed moon should be visible from 10:11 until 11:23 p.m., at which point the moon will exit the umbral shadow, he said.

Rumstay said that this event is perfectly safe to observe from any location, such as a back yard or, weather permitting, through the telescopes at the VSU Observatory.
“The full moon closest to the start of fall is called the Harvest Moon, and that will occur on Sept. 27 at 10:51 p.m.,” he said. “The moon will be closest to Earth just 65 minutes earlier, giving us a super moon. Best of all, the sun, Earth, and moon will be perfectly aligned to provide a coppery-red total lunar eclipse. This Sunday night will give us a full moon, a super moon, and a blood moon.”
Observatory visitors will also be able to view other celestial wonders, including the planet Saturn.
The VSU Observatory is located on the roof of Nevins Hall. Visitors should enter the side entrance across from Brown Hall and take the elevator or stairs to the fourth floor.

Parking is available in front of Nevins Hall and across Patterson Street.

Contact the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at (229) 333-5752 for more information.

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