Lunar eclipses occur when the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. Lunar eclipses do not always happen every full moon because the its orbit is tilted in such a way that the alignment of Sun, Earth, and Moon is not perfect. The Moon often passes above or below the Earth’s shadow in its orbit because of this.

What will happen?

What will you see on the night of a lunar eclipse? You will notice a small “bite” missing from the Moon at first. Over the next hour or so the bite will grow larger and larger as the Moon slides into Earth’s umbra—the darkest part of its shadow. It will almost appear as if the Moon is being swallowed by some dark serpent or dragon as our ancient ancestors once believed. Slowly consuming the goddess Luna into its vast innards. In the process, taking away her beauty and light from the night sky.

When the Moon fully enters Earth’s shadow, there is will stay for the next hour. It might glow a dual red or even a blood red color. The ancients thought this was their beloved goddess shining through the belly of the beast. Slowly being digested. Forever lost to them.

Many cultures believed that if they shot arrows at the beast and made loud noises such a banging pans together, that they would scare the monster devouring their goddess. They didn’t want to kill it though, otherwise they might lose her forever. No, they just wanted to upset it enough to make it… well… spit up, upchuck, regurgitate, or otherwise vomit up their once bright and lovely moon goddess. Oddly enough, this always worked!

Finally the Moon will slowly begin to emerge from is cosmic prison of darkness. For the next hour or so you will see basically the anticlimactic opposite of what you saw at the beginning. Most are usually packing up and heading to bed after mid eclipse. Some might stay out for all of it if the company is good and they are enjoying a great night of sky viewing. Of course, seeing this event depends on undependable Ohio weather!

If you are wondering if we will have anything for the public at Perkins as far as viewing a lunar eclipse, sorry to say we do not and this is for many reasons. You do not need a large telescope or dark rural skies to see this. It’s the Moon after all! You can see it from the middle of Downtown! Enjoy this from your own back yard where you have access to the warmth of your own home and you don’t have far to go to your even warmer beds. So, in other words, Perkins and its property will not be open to the public the night of a lunar eclipse.

For information about solar eclipses, see the above Solar Viewing and Eclipses section.

To observe them you need the following:

  • Good weather – Hard to guarantee in central Ohio.
  • Small Telescope, Binoculars, or Eyes – You don't need a telescope the size of a corn silo to enjoy a good lunar eclipse.
  • Comfortable chair – A reclining lawn chair works best. You will be out for hours. Best to be comfortable.

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3199 Columbus Pike
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-363-1257

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