Looking skyward: Star party to showcase lunar eclipse and more
WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West Community and Technical College instructor Paul Seifert is hoping for a clear sky Sunday night. "It's supposed to be warm and partly cloudy," he said. "We can work with partial clouds. It's going to be a gorgeous fal...
WORTHINGTON - Minnesota West Community and Technical College instructor Paul Seifert is hoping for a clear sky Sunday night.
“It’s supposed to be warm and partly cloudy,” he said. “We can work with partial clouds. It’s going to be a gorgeous fall weekend.”
Seifert will be hosting his fourth star party at the college. The event is open to students as well as the public.
“I really like sharing the sky,” he said. “I like when people are able to look through a telescope and I get to see people’s reactions.”
The past parties have had 60 to 70 people in attendance, and Seifert hopes even more people will witness this lunar eclipse.
The eclipse will start at approximately 8:07 p.m., and the full eclipse will occur around 9 p.m.
“We won’t focus completely on the moon the whole time,” Seifert said. “These lunar eclipses happen over such a long period. As it gets darker, we can start looking at Saturn, the Andromeda galaxy and some nice star clusters ... while we wait for the eclipse.”
Seifert said he hosts the star parties so the public can get a chance to look through a telescope and see space in a different perspective.
“I hope people have an appreciation for the sky in a way they’ve never seen it before,” he said. “This is mostly to have fun. … Many people have never taken a telescope to look at the sky, so this is their chance to do it.”
This year’s experience will be a special one for astronomy lovers. The moon will have a reddish glow, which is often referred to as a “blood moon.” The moon will also be closer to Earth than normal. Seifert said it will appear about 10 percent bigger.
“The moon will be fully in the Earth’s shadow, and the sunlight will shine around the Earth - hitting the Earth’s atmosphere,” he explained. “It’s just like a sunset or sunrise where it’s kind of reddish. … The moon appears to turn red.”
The party will take place in the southwest corner of campus near the softball diamonds from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday.