The total eclipse of October 8

¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending September 27, 2014

For almost an hour on October 8, 2014, the moon will be totally eclipsed. Most of the Pacific Ocean and the islands in it will get a view of the entire event. Part of the event will be visibile from many places in Asia, Australia, and the Americas. That’s if the weather allows, of course!

Lunar eclipses happen when the moon goes through the earth’s shadow. The penumbra is the outer part of Earth’s shadow. In it, the earth is partly in front of the sun. The central part of the shadow is called the umbra. In it, all of the sun is blocked. However, a little sunlight is refracted through Earth’s atmosphere. The scattering of light that makes the sunset and sunrise red also causes some reddish light to reach the moon during a total eclipse.

Most of the Americas will see part of the eclipse on October 8. For viewers there, the moon will set while the eclipse is still in progress. Most of Asia and Australia will see the moon rising with the eclipse already underway.

You don’t need a telescope to enjoy a lunar eclipse. But if you have one, you can have fun watching the earth’s shadow cross from crater to crater.

You also don’t need any special eye protection for a lunar eclipse. However, the full moon can be a bit bright for viewing in a telescope. A moon filter can make the viewing very comfortable early and late in the eclipse when there isn’t much shadow on the lunar surface. Many moon filters are adjustable so when the moon isn’t so bright you can let more light through.

Never use your moon filter for viewing the sun. Only a sun filter should be used for viewing the sun. Because the sun is so much brighter and is steadily so, a sun filter blocks much more light and isn’t adjustable.

To look up the times of the eclipse phases, go to You can also watch the SkyCaramba video about the eclipse.

I hope you have a good view. ¡SkyCaramba!