What was once viewed as a sign of doom-and-gloom in centuries past will offer an interesting diversion for Iowans in the sky tonight. The full moon will pass directly into the earth’s shadow, creating what’s called a lunar eclipse. Dr. Siobahn Morgan, an astronomy professor at the University of Northern Iowa, says it’s a simple thing to watch that doesn’t require any special equipment or safety precautions like a solar eclipse. These events are somewhat rare. The last time a lunar eclipse was visible in Iowa was June 20-21 of the year 2000. Dr. Morgan says this phenomenon in the heavens was long ago seen as a deadly warning.Morgan says the moon won’t vanish or go so black that it’ll be hard to see. She says the earth’s only natural satellite should turn fiery colors. The red-orange or brown color is caused by dirt and pollution in the atmosphere. She suggests using a few visual aids tonight, if they’re handy, as a lunar eclipse provides a new view of some lunar features.The full eclipse should begin around 10:14 tonight and will end less than an hour later around 11:06.
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