KOKOMO, Ind. — Get an up-close view of a total lunar eclipse this weekend at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory.
Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will offer an extended open house starting at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 15, continuing through the anticipated end of the eclipse at 1:55 a.m. Monday, May 16, weather permitting.
Starting at 10:28 p.m. on May 15, the lunar surface will slowly turn dusky gray, and then an orange coloring will become noticeable, especially in a telescope. Totality will last from 11:29 p.m. to 12:54 a.m., with about another hour of partial eclipse to follow.
Motl said some call this eclipse a blood moon eclipse.
“The moon will be much darker and have a red hue during totality because there is some light that passes through our atmosphere and reflects off the moon even when it is in our umbra (shadow),” he said. “That light is red for the same reason the sky is blue during the day. Blue light is more scattered than red light.”
Those attending will be able to view the eclipse through the Observatory’s two telescopes, a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope mounted together. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images of planets, while the Meade allows viewers to see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light-collecting area.
Motl will begin the open house with a presentation about the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the world’s largest gravitational wave observatory, based at Caltech. Its mission is to detect gravitational waves, and the data it collects may have far-reaching effects on many areas of physics, including gravitation, relativity, astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, and nuclear physics.
The Observatory is at 2660 S. Washington Street. Admission and parking are free.