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Treebeard's Stumper
14 January 2000

Total Eclipse

I'm worried about the lack of rain here in central California this winter, but I suppose there's always a plus side. The clear winter nights have been great for star watching, and we'll get a special treat next week if they continue clear. There will be a total eclipse of the Moon next Thursday night! The action starts at 7:00 p.m. PST, with the full Moon in the deepest part of the Earth's shadow from 8:05 to 9:22. The Moon orbits the Earth about every 29.5 days. So why don't we have eclipses every month? And why do total eclipses of the Sun seem even less common?

Diagram (slightly modified) courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC.

For more info on the January 20 eclipse, check out Fred Espenak's Eclipse Home Page and Sky & Telescope magazine. I'll be heading up Figueroa Mountain on Thursday night with Dunn Middle School kids on a special Eclipse Night Hike Club! Full report next week. Clear Skies!


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Copyright © 2000 by Marc Kummel /