Programs & Services

Museum Telescopes Open Sunday Night, Jan. 20 for Supermoon Total Eclipse

January 4th, 2019

(Albuquerque, New Mexico ) -- Another Supermoon Total Eclipse is coming to the skies over New Mexico Jan. 20, 2019. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s will open its doors from 8:30 – 11:30 p.m. for visitors to fully appreciate the astronomical coincidence happening in the sky that evening after sunset (weather permitting).

A lunar eclipse happens when the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow and reflects its dark, red interior color. They don’t happen often because normally the moon moves slightly over or under the shadow when it’s on the far side of the Earth from the sun.  The next total lunar eclipse won’t happen until May 26, 2021, so this will be the last chance to experience this phenomenon for over two years. On Jan. 20, the moon will also be relatively close to the Earth while it’s full, which has recently become known as a Supermoon. The entire eclipse will be visible from New Mexico and the moon will be high in the sky, so they’ll be no need to seek a location with a view of the horizon.

For a closer look at the moon as it slides into the red shadow, telescopes provided by the Museum and Albuquerque Astronomical Society will be available around the Museum grounds and also on the Observatory Deck. A live video stream will show the eclipse from other locations around the world. Informational videos, posters, and handouts will explain the term Supermoon, what causes eclipses, and why eclipses make the moon turn red.

“In addition to marveling at the moon’s transformation, we may also look at other wonders in the sky through the available telescopes” said Museum Space Science Director Jim Greenhouse.

Here are the times for the stages of the eclipse Jan. 20: Partial Eclipse Begins – 8:34 p.m. Total Eclipse Begins – 9:41 p.m. Maximum Eclipse – 10:12 p.m. Total Eclipse Ends – 10:43 p.m. Partial Eclipse Ends – 11:50 p.m.

The observing part of this event will be canceled if the sky is cloudy.  No reservations are required and admission is by donation. Feel free to come in your pajamas (assuming you don’t mind being seen in public that way), but check the weather and dress appropriately for being outside in the cold.

About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science: http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org. Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the Museum is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and new year’s day. 1801 Mountain Road NW, northeast of Historic Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque, NM 87104, (505) 841-2800.  Events, news releases and images about activities at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and other divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at media.newmexicoculture.org.

 

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Lunar Eclipse, Photo courtesy: NASA.gov

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