UND Team To Capture, Webcast Tonight’s Lunar Eclipse

Photo courtesy of NASA.
Photo courtesy of NASA.

Unique event, clear skies bode well for viewing

Who: Tim Young, University of North Dakota Astronomy & Astrophysics; Ron Marsh, UND Computer Science

What: Lunar Eclipse

When: Starting at midnight (Central Daylight Saving Time) to around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday , April 15

Where: Online at sems.UND.edu, from Clifford Hall (or outside Streibel Hall) on the UND campus.

About tonight’s eclipse
It’s more common than a full solar eclipse. But full lunar eclipses — when the Earth’s shadow obscures the moon — are still rare enough that you should try to take in, especially since the forecast is for clear skies tonight over our region.

A lunar eclipse is quite a show as the Earth’s shadow will change the moon’s color from its brilliantly lit surface to orange to red to dark brown, says Tim Young, a UND Physics & Astrophysics faculty member and part of a team that will capture this great Solar System event and broadcast it in real time on the Internet sems.UND.edu.

The lunar eclipse will take place over three hours beginning at 2:58 a.m. CDT when the Earth’s shadow begins covering the moon. The moon will be totally eclipsed at about 3:58 a.m. colored a deep red. The show will be done by 4:33 a.m. CDT.

Eclipses happen two to three times per year when the Sun, Earth and the full moon line up so that the moon passes through Earth’s shadow, said Young, who with UND computer scientist Ron Marsh is well known in the astronomy community for webcasting Solar System events from spots around the world.

“This is a great opportunity because the weather is supposed to be good,” said Young. “We won’t see this again until 2019.”

Here is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) website about tonight’s eclipse:

About UND’s eclipse team
UND professors Timothy Young, Physics & Astrophysics, and Ronald Marsh, chair, Computer Science, will be on hand at Clifford Hall (or outside to Streibel Hall, right across the parking lot from Clifford) on the UND campus, to capture and webcast tonight’s lunar eclipse.

This UND eclipse team, called SEMS, has traveled around the world to cover and webcast Solar System events including annular and hybrid eclipses, lunar eclipses, and Venus and Mercury transits. All these can be watched on the SEMS web site.

Th UND webcast is unique in several ways. The UND webcast broadcasts streaming color video, not just static pictures.

As in previous eclipse events that the team has webcast, tonight’s lunar eclipse webase includes a chat room where viewers from around the world can add to their involvement in the eclipse experience and can ask questions of the UND team. The UND webcast uses live audio to answer viewer’s questions and to provide viewers with updates and discussions on the progress of the eclipse. The UND webcast team will also produce and post podcasts about the total lunar eclipse.

It is the goal of the UND team to use technology to bring the excitement of science to viewers around the world.