A lunar eclipse will be well placed for North American observers on January 20, 2019. Everywhere in North America except Hawaii will see the entire eclipse from start to finish.
This is caused by Earth eclipsing the Sun from the surface of the Moon as it enters Earth’s Shadow. Because our atmosphere refracts and scatters sunlight, the Moon does not go completely dark, instead we see familiar red and orange light being projected, giving us the familiar “Blood Moon” appearance.
Lunar eclipses feel more common than solar because the entire night side of Earth can watch it as it happens. This particular eclipse is well placed for North America, but the extreme northern and western edges of Europe and Africa, and parts of eastern Russia will also have a good show.
So… What Time Is the Eclipse?!
From North America, the further east you are, the later you will have to stay up to watch the eclipse. Those on the East Coast of North America will see the partial eclipse begin at 10:34 pm, totality (the blood moon) begins at 11:41 pm, and will last until 12:43 am.
From the West Coast, the times are much more comfortable, as the partial eclipse begins around 7:34 pm and totality goes from 8:41 pm to 9:43 pm. Even though this eclipse is on a Sunday night, I’m sure there are many eager children who would love to see this eclipse.
If you miss this one, there will be another lunar eclipse visible over North America in 2021.
What Should I Do To Watch it?
Don’t worry about needing to travel, all you need is an unobstructed view of the Moon. Binoculars or low powered telescopes are a plus, but no special equipment is necessary, just pull out a chair and look up at the Moon while the eclipse unfolds!
Orion Bear Astronomy will host a viewing party and an interactive live stream!
The viewing party will be held at Arlington Heights Sports Park in Riverside, CA. If you choose to stay home, O.B.A. will also broadcast the eclipse through Facebook Live – while you don’t need an account to watch the stream, having one helps, especially for the interactive side of it. You can join us for the viewing party, watch the eclipse on Facebook live, or have the broadcast open and simply listen to the audio as you watch the eclipse from wherever you may be!
What time should we arrive?
Arrive as close to 7:00 pm, the scheduled time as close as you can. If you have equipment that you want to bring and set up, you should definitely arrive at least 30 minutes before the event is scheduled to start, or earlier if it takes longer to set up your equipment.
What Time Does the Event End?
Once totality ends at 9:43 pm, the eclipse is in the “anti-climatic” stage as the Moon exits Earth’s shadow and returns back to normal. As such, the party will begin winding down as things will be put away. In agreement with Riverside Parks and Recreation, we must be off the park and leaving the parking lot by 10:30 pm when the city closes the gates to the parking lot.
Will There Be Telescopes?
Yes, there will be telescopes! One will be exclusively be used to stay on the Moon and broadcast the eclipse over FaceBook Live – it will also project the Moon on a screen for people to see! The other telescopes are up to the respective operator’s discretion, but may also show other objects that are visible from the bright suburban Riverside sky. If you want to bring yours, feel free to do so! If you have a telescope and need a tutor to help you learn how to use it, we can help with that!
Will the event be child friendly?
Absolutely! We encourage you to bring the kids! This will be a perfect night for them to witness a lunar eclipse, as the times are not too late, and they most likely have the day off the next day. The children will have a blast no matter how high their levels of interest are. Just help us make sure they don’t bump, touch, or damage any telescope equipment! .
There will be several activities planned for them as well.
What items should we bring?
OBA will provide the entres (hotdogs/burgers, sandwiches, or pizza), but you can bring your own drinks and snacks/sides for yourselves or to share.
As this will be outside at night in January, even though it’s California, dress appropriately for the outdoor temperatures! Bring chairs, pillows, blankets, anything you need to stay comfortable. The star of the show, The Moon, won’t be terribly high in the sky, but you will be looking up quite often!
In the event that there is bad weather in the forecast, such as overcast conditions and/or rain, the event will be cancelled! It will not hurt anyone to keep praying for clear skies on the 20th!
If Riverside is not your thing but you want a cool place to view the eclipse, Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will usually host a viewing party event, but because the eclipse will happen during normal operating hours, expect the event at the observatory to be super crowded! Their live streams are usually picked up by NASA and used for their feed.
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